Small engines popular as gas costs soar

May 31, 2008 at 10:55 AM
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LOS ANGELES, May 31 (UPI) -- As gas prices reach $4 a gallon in many U.S. cities, more drivers are buying cars with smaller engines to save fuel and money, analysts say.

Many drivers who want to keep their mid-size vehicles but still save gas, are opting for smaller engines instead of smaller cars, the Los Angeles Times reported Saturday.

"Some consumers have been moving down to smaller vehicles, but many can't do that -- people with families, people who have to drive the soccer team to practice," said Eric Noble, president of the Car Lab, a consulting firm in California.

More than 75 percent of mid-size cars purchased this May in the United States had four-cylinder engines instead of six-cylinder engines, J.D. Power & Associates reported.

In 2003, only 50 percent of mid-size were purchased with four-cylinder engines, the report said.

"It's pretty amazing to think about it -- almost every other vehicle sold has a four-cylinder in it," J.D. Power analyst Tom Libby said.

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