If the majority of consumers don't care about fuel economy, then who is driving the energy decisions these days? Early in the year, fuel economy ranked 18th out of 56 car-buying considerations. In September, CNW Marketing Research asked the same questions and fuel economy dropped to 21st. First on the list is low monthly payment followed by quality, styling, visibility and the automaker's reputation. Also more important than gas mileage were passenger protection, front air bags, the sound systems and even cup holders. Analyst Art Spinella explains that shoppers will buy based on the future, and they think prices will stabilize or even go down. J.D. Power research came to similar conclusions. Mileage ranked eighth out of 20 considerations, two spots behind performance.

[Source: Rick Popely/Chicago Tribune via thestate.com]

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