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Consumers Talk With Wallets When Gas Prices Climb

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California residents are changing behaviors and opinions because of high gas prices, according to key findings in a Consumer Federation of America poll.

— The survey finds American households are spending more than $3,000 a year on fuel. That's up sharply from a year ago. The poll found 80 percent of California drivers are concerned about the cost of fuel, 87 percent want to reduce the amount of oil burned in cars, and 66 percent want to reduce dependence of foreign oil.

There's also a strong call to improve the fuel efficiency of vehicles.

"Any car company that doesn't jump on the bandwagon and make extraordinary efforts to improve their fuel efficiency will be tremendously disadvantaged, not only in the U.S., but on the global economy," said Mark Cooper, Consumer Federation of America Research Director.

Hybrid sales held a 2.4 percent share of the market last year. In the first quarter of this year, the market share climbed to 4.6 percent.

High prices are changing consumer behaviors.

There is also overwhelming support to raising the average fuel economy of the nation's vehicle fleet to 60 miles per gallon by 2025, said Cooper. That's almost double the current fleet average and consumers would see substantial fuel cost savings even prices don't come down, according to Cooper.

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