Despite increasing awareness of alternative-fuel technologies and growing concern over U.S. dependence on foreign oil, the fuel economy of American cars is only getting worse. Statistics released today by the U.S. EPA show that the average fuel economy of the new fleet of cars for 2003 is 6 percent lower than it was 15 years ago. In 1987 and 1988, back before the SUV craze set in, new cars averaged 22.1 miles per gallon, compared to 20.8 for the 2003 model cars. Only 4 percent of the new crop of cars get more than 30 miles per gallon, compared with 6 percent in the 2002 model year. Among the 934 models being introduced, the mileage ranges from the gas-electric hybrid Honda Insight (64 mpg) to the General Motors Yukon (12 mpg) and the luxury sport import Lamborghini L-147 Murcielago (10 mpg). During the past year, Congress rejected any significant increase in Corporate Average Fuel Efficiency standards.
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