Popularity and availability of fuel-efficient cars up in 2012

According to AAA, the national average price per gallon of gasoline is currently $3.82, which is almost 30 cents higher than it was last year. The Associated Press predicts that the price of regular unleaded gas could surpass the all-time record of $4.11 that was set in July 2008.

As fuel costs have headed in the wrong direction for consumers in recent years, drivers all over the world have been looking for green energy sources that are not only more cost effective, they are also much friendlier to the environment. This year, it seems as though both the demand and availability of green vehicles are higher than they have ever been before.

"The American consumer shopping for a new car is seeing the most fuel-efficient lineup of vehicles ever," Jesse Toprak, vice president of market intelligence at the auto shopping site TrueCar.com, told the news source.

There are a lot of new and innovative models of eco-friendly cars hitting the market in 2012. The new Toyota Prius c, for example, gets an estimated 50 miles per gallon, according to the media outlet. It's a bit pricey at around $19,000, so consumers looking to save money on a small green car may look at a Scion iQ, which gets 37 MPG and is was deemed the most fuel-efficient subcompact car by the Environmental Protection Agency.

While there aren't very many vehicle recharging stations along U.S. interstates, they are starting to pop up more frequently. Because of this – in addition to reports that electric car batteries can cause fires in an accident – consumers may shy away from ditching gasoline-powered vehicles for now. But, according to the AP, General Motors has been working to fix the battery in its Chevy Volt, and the Mitsubishi i – which gets a miles-per-gallon equivalent of 112, but is currently only available on the West Coast – is expected to be released throughout the country later in 2012.

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