DOE juices up fuel economy site

Curious about what people in other parts of the country are paying for gas? Interested in a certain style of car and want to know its vehicle safety rating?

The answers to those questions and more are available at the federal government's fuel economy Web site, www.fueleconomy.gov.

The Energy Department announced July 23 that it has added several new features to the site, including a page about gasoline prices that has links to national and regional fuel price information, and a page for looking up vehicles' air pollution and safety ratings.

The site is produced in partnership with the Environmental Protection Agency, and the new features are the result of expanded collaboration between the two agencies as well as with the Transportation Department and industry partners.

The new gasoline price page features links targeted to national and regional fuel price information from the American Automobile Association and DOE's Energy Information Administration. Other links show users which stations are offering the least expensive gas in their areas. A new consumer information page helps drivers understand exactly where their money goes when they pay for gas, and it answers other frequently asked questions about fuel pricing.

The vehicle safety rating information comes from DOT's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, and vehicle-specific air pollution information comes from the EPA.

"These new features will help consumers understand their total transportation costs and vehicle choices so they can make informed decisions when shopping for a car," Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham said in a release. "With this one-stop resource at their fingertips, car buyers can be confident that they've selected the safest, cleanest and most fuel-efficient vehicle that meets their needs."

Model year 2002 vehicle information will be released this fall. In addition to the new upgrades, site features also include:

    * Annual fuel cost data for new and used vehicles dating to 1985.

    * The ability to search for vehicles by class, make and model, and miles per gallon.

    * Fuel-saving tips for drivers.

    * Links to numerous car-buying Web sites.

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