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Could all of the work some automakers are doing to increase diesel engine adoption in the US be going up in a cloud of smoke? Maybe so, as torquier and more fuel-efficient gasoline engines and cheapening hybrid technology are cutting into what had been perceived as the advantages of diesel drivetrains, the Detroit News says.

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New study says fuel efficiency of vehicles has improved more than efficiency of drivers

Cars on American roads have improved their fuel economy. The people who drive them? Not so much.

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Readers of a certain age might remember those bumper stickers with Yosemite Sam toting two six-shooters and yelling "Back Off!" He wasn't yelling "So you can burn more fuel!" but researchers are looking at how tailgating could save gas, and, in this case, are working with big rigs.

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Decision expected within a few weeks

After revealing they had exaggerated fuel-economy claims on approximately 900,000 vehicles in November, Hyundai and Kia rolled out a gift-card program to compensate customers for their extra gas expenses.

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When you watch the Zipcar video "How to Zip: Fill 'er Up" (embedded below) you'll see a Zipcar customer finding out he needs to stop at a gas station. There's a Zipcar co-pilot in the backseat who gives him friendly, detailed instructions on how to get reimbursed for filling up the gas tank.

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General Motors has a couple of problems to deal with: a glut of pickups on dealer lots and the inability to claim best-in-class fuel economy for its usually strong-selling Chevrolet Silverado pickup. In light of the situation, GM's marketing message has transmuted into something else: "hey, at least they're cheap to own."

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Factory fuel economy packages, the special trims or option groups bundled with efficiency improving items such as low-rolling-resistance tires, aerodynamic tweaks and electric power steering, cost the consumer a few hundred dollars (or more) at the time of purchase but don't seem to add any resale value down the road, says a recent report from Cars.com.

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For October and November, the all-new Ford C-Max sold 8,030 units, making it the highest-selling hybrid vehicle ever in the first two months. The sales significantly surpassed the 7,300 Camry Hybrids that Toyota sold in that car's first two months on the market, back in May and June of 2006. Ford also calculates that C-Max sales are moving three times faster than combined results from the first hybrids on the US market – the Toyota Prius and Honda Insight – which were launched in 200

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Nissan chief operating officer Toshiyuki Shiga offered an update on the automaker's "eco-targets" to further cut CO2 emissions and add 15 hybrid models by 2016. At a press conference in Yokohama, Shiga explained the company's commitment to sustainability through its Nissan Green Program 2016. "Thanks to environmentally friendly technology and new products, we are completely in line with our targets for the reduction of CO2 in the usage of vehicles," Shiga said in a video, which you can watch bel

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Would be most fuel-efficient car on mass market

In the future, 2012 may be remembered as the year fuel economy rose to the forefront of the American auto industry.

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The average fuel economy number for new, light duty vehicles sold in the US reached an all-time high of 24.1 miles per gallon in October, up from 23.8 mpg the previous month, according to a report released by the University of Michigan's Transportation Research Institute.

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6.1 billion gallons of gas have been saved in past 5 years

Fuel economy of new vehicles sold in the United States has reached an all-time high according to a University of Michigan study.

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Consumer complaints led EPA to audit Korean automakers

An investigation conducted by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency revealed that Korean automakers Hyundai and Kia had overstated the fuel efficiency of several of their cars by as much as 6 miles per gallon.

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Fuel-efficient cars might be nearly synonymous with Toyota here in the US, but in Mexico, the Japanese automaker is reportedly leading a fight in a dustup over more stringent automobile fuel efficiency regulations. Mexico's government is reportedly trying to make its own mile-per-gallon rules the same as those in the US as part of an effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions throughout its economy, but Toyota isn't taking too kindly to the proposed legislation.

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A British company is doing just that

You know all about fuel-efficient alternatives to combat high gas prices. There are plug-in hybrids and electric cars, clean diesel and biodiesel. There's compressed natural gas and biomass and algae-based fuels. Now comes another development that makes those seem downright past their prime.

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EPA rating puts vehicle ahead of key competitors

Ford is in the fast lane on the way to fuel efficiency. The EPA rated the company's C-Max Energi plug-in hybrid at 100 miles per gallon equivalent Thursday, making it the most fuel-efficient plug-in hybrid offered to Amercan consumers by the auto industry.

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The Car Coach answeres questions from AOL Autos readers and Facebook followers

Lauren Fix is the Car Coach. She answers reader mail and comments on our Facebook page.

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Experts say other factors will improve fuel economy more than EVs

Automakers are examining every conceivable option as they stretch to make their cars meet 54.5 miles per gallon, per a government mandate, over the next 13 years. Surprisingly, electric vehicles might not play a prominent role in their plans.

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EPA rating helps Fusion stand out in crowded segment

Last week, Toyota stole headlines from Ford when the Camry sedan eked past the F-150 pickup to claim best-selling vehicle honors halfway though 2012. Today, it's Ford's turn to win back plaudits.

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