Demand rises for more fuel-efficient vehicles

By Tim Scordato

With oil prices reaching $67 a barrel after jumping $10 a barrel in the past three weeks, fuel-efficient cars such as the Honda Civic and Honda Accord are selling well in the DeKalb area.

Customers are pleased with the high fuel mileage, said car dealer Brian Bemis.

Dealerships are finding it hard to keep these cars in stock due to high demand.

The 2005 Honda Civic LX delivers 32-38 miles per gallon , and the Accord LX delivers 26-34 mpg.

According to a recent online poll conducted by Kelley Blue Book, the Civic is a top choice for young drivers and parents of young drivers because of its efficiency, safety ratings and character.

Hybrid technology is also in high demand, but a CNN report says customers are not getting the mileage they expected. The report stated the 2005 Honda Civic Hybrid rated 47-48 miles per gallon, but customer complaints said it yielded only 31.4

According to the Environmental Protection Agency Web site, the fuel-efficiency test is designed to measure wastes emitted from the consuming fuel, not the actual amount of fuel being consumed.

Used-car dealers expressed concern with large dealership discounts such as the recent employee discounts that Chrysler and Ford have adapted.

Chuck Criswell, owner of Chuck’s Used Auto Center in Sycamore, relies on his reputation to compete with the major conglomerates.

He said he has been in the car-sales business for 40 years and his customers can relate with his down-to-earth service and expertise.

As far as fuel efficiency at used-car lots, Criswell said his big buy is the Volkswagen diesel, which receives up to 50 mpg. Customers who are attached to their current car are buying tune-ups, which can increase fuel savings by as much as 10 percent.