By Paula Ebben, WBZ-TV

BOSTON (CBS) – High gas prices have all of us thinking about what kind of vehicle we drive, and what we pay to fill it up.

Despite the recent surge in fuel prices, SUVs remain popular. But it pays for consumers to remember there are big differences in the gas mileage these vehicles get.

SUVs are popular because drivers feel safe in them, and they provide a lot of cargo space.

WBZ-TV’s Paula Ebben reports.

Still, the Energy Information Administration predicts that over the next year gas prices could rise another 50 cents.

Brian Cooley of CNET says car manufacturers are adapting these vehicles. “That’s the trend now,” he said, “putting more efficient, less macho engines that have technology that wrings out more power out of smaller engines than we did years ago.”

Here are some SUVs that offer decent mileage:

  • Ford Escape Hybrid: 34 city/31 highway
  • Mitsubishi Outlander Sport: 24 city/31 highway
  • Toyota Highlander Hybrid: 28 city/28 highway
  • Hyundai Tucson: 23 city/31 highway

In general, smaller can be better when it comes to mileage. Cooley added, “There’s no getting around the physics that a smaller SUV is pushing less of a brick thru the air. As a result, it is going to use less gas to do that.’

Consider a cross over model. This is an SUV which is built on a car platform, and not one from a heavier truck.

Cooley advises shoppers to “look at the new vehicles coming from the Korean makers because they are trying to one up the Japanese and American companies that have traditionally owned this realm.”

Also consider opting for a two wheel driver vehicle over four wheel drive. All wheel drive vehicles tend to get fewer miles per gallon.

The earthquake in Japan as disrupted some supplies, so you might have to be patient if you are considering a vehicle from there.


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