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Survey says mileage is king for new car buyers

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According to a new Consumer Reports survey, when it’s time to buy a new car, shoppers are placing more of a premium on higher gas mileage than on a vehicle’s overall quality.

As reported by the Huffington Post, the survey, which is the latest from Consumer Reports National Research Center of car owners, found that more than one-third (37 percent) of those polled said that fuel efficiency is the most important factor when buying a new vehicle. The second most popular choice, vehicle quality, lagged behind at only 17 percent, with safety just behind quality at third, scoring 16 percent of the vote.

Still, it’s mostly about gas mileage for new car buyers. Two-thirds of those surveyed expect their next car to have at least the same if not better fuel efficiency than their current mode of transportation. 60 percent of the respondents were willing to give up some size and vehicle capacity in exchange for that higher fuel efficiency rating.

"These results make it clear that high fuel prices are continuing to impact driver behavior and influencing future purchase considerations," said Jeff Bartlett, Consumer Reports deputy auto editor, in USA Today. "While quality, safety and value are still important, this may be foreshadowing a market shift by folks seeking relief at the pump."

Even more interesting are the responses to new car buying motivations. While lower fuel costs pulled a whopping 90 percent of the vote and the newest fuel efficiency technology was second at 69 percent, the third most important motivator equaled more environmentally friendly, “green” cars.

With 40 percent of those surveyed curious about alternative fuel options, the poll also showed an increased interest in natural gas-fueled and electric cars.