For the first time in years, the U.S. auto industry is beginning to pay attention to the price of gas. A 31 percent jump in gas prices this year, to an average $1.35 a gallon in November (still near historic lows in price, once inflation is taken into account), means buyers may place more emphasis on fuel efficiency when making their purchases. Some dealers are already noticing a rise in interest in fuel-efficient cars and a small shift away from sport-utility vehicles. Enviros say the higher gas prices could help them make their case that fuel-efficiency standards ought to be raised.