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      Why has the price of fuel efficient cars increased?

      With gas prices continuing to rise, many of you have thought about trading in that SUV and pickup truck for a more fuel efficient car in order to save money on gasoline. But are you really going to save money?

      Representatives at local car dealers say the price of a new compact fuel efficient cars has actually gone up in recent years.

      Bill Lovegreen, the General Manager of Lovegreen Ford Chrysler said the price has increased over the years to compensate for the research and development. Now, fuel efficient cars like the Ford Focus and Fiesta have four cylinders and six speed automatic transmissions, which allows the car to shift gears seamlessly. Lovegreen said before, this technology was not available.

      Also, he said before, the fuel efficient cars with combustible engines averaged 25 miles per gallon; now the benchmark is 30 miles per gallon and soon, Lovegreen said that will increase to 35 miles per gallon

      Another reason why cars like a new Ford Focus cost around $18,000 is because they have more content than ever before.

      "The content is stronger in small vehicles than it used to be because people want the luxuries that the big vehicles used to represent in a smaller product because they don't want to pay much for gas," said Lovegreen. "If you took a vehicle that was a plain Jane and a vehicle that has all of the equipment, most vehicles are having more equipment now. There's not very many plain Janes because people don't want that."

      Lovegreen said federal mandates requiring side airbags and tire pressure monitoring systems have also forced the price to increase. In regards to why the price of used fuel efficient have gone up, Lovegreen equates that to supply and demand. He said there were not as many fuel efficient vehicles manufactured in 2008 and 2009 when the manufacturers were going through the domestic auto crisis. He said that is why now, any used vehicle manufactured in 2008 and 2009 is in high demand and should get a good trade-in price.