In a sign that the high cost of gasoline has finally struck a central nerve, car shoppers today are reportedly more concerned about fuel economy than they are about the brand of vehicle when shopping for a new car. In addition, consumers want more government control over fuel economy. This startling news, and a reversal of consumer trends two years ago, is the result of a new AAA survey which studied consumers' attitudes towards fuel prices.

It appears that consumers were getting used to the cyclic fluctuations of gas prices. Prices shot up based on market conditions, supply and demand, and season increases. However, they always seemed to drop back to more palatable levels... at least they used to. Today, according to leading economists, consumers are finally catching-on to the idea that $4 a gallon gas might be the norm. This reality-check of fuel costs will lead to downsizing, and a focus on vehicle efficiency. Have we finally found the Achilles heel of the SUV?

[Source: The Detroit News, photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty]

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