Fuel econ­omy up

The Weekend Australian - Travel - - Resources -

US auto fuel econ­omy in­creased 3.9 per cent, the largest gain in 26 years, as ris­ing gaso­line prices forced con­sumers to aban­don big trucks and turn to fuel-sav­ing al­ter­na­tives.

The 2007 fleet av­er­age climbed to 26.4 miles (42.2km) per gal­lon from 25.4 mpg a year ear­lier, ac­cord­ing to pre­lim­i­nary fig­ures from the Na­tional High­way Traf­fic Safety Ad­min­is­tra­tion.

‘‘ It’s heart­en­ing to see that some car com­pa­nies are putting use­ful tech­nol­ogy out there,’’ said David Fried­man, re­search di­rec­tor with the Union of Con­cerned Sci­en­tists, a Wash­ing­ton- based en­vi­ron­men­tal group. ‘‘ It’s dis­ap­point­ing we’re not see­ing an even faster in­tro­duc­tion of fuel-sav­ing tech­nol­ogy.’’

US law­mak­ers are push­ing for an in­crease in mileage stan­dards as a way to cut emis­sions and re­duce de­pen­dence on for­eign oil. The Se­nate passed leg­is­la­tion in June re­quir­ing cars and light trucks to get 35 mpg start­ing in 2020. The House is still de­bat­ing the mea­sure.

Honda Mo­tor Co’s im­ported cars, with a 39.9 mpg av­er­age, topped the 18

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