Americans Finally Shifting Gears?

Two out of three Americans now consider buying a fuel-efficient vehicle a patriotic act, according to a study backed by the Civil Society Institute.

Published: 20-Mar-2005

 SAN FRANCISCO (MarketWatch) -- The cultural chasm separating owners of beefy American-made cars and their tree-hugging, hybrid-powered counterparts may be narrowing.

And in a trend that's reminiscent of Detroit's disastrous market-share losses of the 1980s, Japanese automakers are the ones capitalizing on a change in consumer attitude. But even in the eyes of the most red-blooded of Americans, that might not be a bad thing.

With U.S. gasoline at record highs and dependence on foreign oil a steady problem, some of the staunchest defenders of the Republic are less likely to regard the idea of rumbling around in muscular gas-guzzlers as an act of patriotism.

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