High gas prices push more people to fuel efficient vehicles - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

High gas prices push more people to fuel efficient vehicles

The average price of a gallon of gasoline is now around $3.55 nationwide. In the Heartland, the sky-high prices at the pump has some consumers looking at ways to change their driving habits. For some that means a new ride.

Dana Pirtle and his wife make a pit stop in Mount Vernon, Illinois to fill up their car. They're on their way to Chicago. Pirtle says the high price of gas has him looking to get a more fuel efficient car.

"Me and my wife working on that as we speak," said Pirtle.

But the Pirtles' apparently are not the only ones looking to scale back.

"The last two months have been personally my best in the car business," said Tyler Toyota Sale Representative Keith Lynam.

Lynam says the hottest car on the lot is the Toyota Prius. The reason is that it gets 50 miles per gallon.

"We've been selling about as many as we can get our hands on," said Lynam. "We have one level three Prius left."

Lynam says this week alone, three people drove home a new Prius. He says one customer traded in the space of a truck for the compact car.

"He loved that truck," Lynam said.  "It's a 2010 and he decided with the fuel economy the way it is and the disaster in Japan it was time to strike and he wanted to come in and buy his Prius this week."

But Lynam says the disaster could make it harder to buy a Prius. He adds the tsunami and earthquake are also affecting American cars, since some of the parts also come from Japan.

"With a lot of the technological parts that are coming inside the car that you'll never see, some of the computer components things like that, that's where they are built and without them they can't deliver a car," said Lynam.

Lynam says while there's not a supply shortage now, he expects that to change in the coming months. For those like Pirtles' who are considering a car change, that could mean that their options will be limited.

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