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Searches for Fuel-Efficient Vehicles Slow as Gas Prices Lower

Interest in Crossover SUVs Picks Up

As gas prices begin to fall, so does consumer interest in fuel-efficient vehicles, according the latest Cars.com Consumer Search Index. Cars.com is reporting a decline in searches for hybrids and other fuel-efficient cars, all of which saw dramatic increases over the last several months when gas prices were at all-time highs.

Hybrid vehicles including the Honda Civic Hybrid, the Honda Insight, the Toyota Prius and the Ford Escape Hybrid were all among the site's used cars with the greatest decline in search activity over the last month.

"This is fairly consistent with what we've experienced in past years with the ebb and flow of gas prices," said Patrick Olsen, managing editor of Cars.com. "As gas prices decline, we are starting to see people searching for crossover vehicles and some SUVs. We have yet to see a sustained movement away from gas-guzzlers. Instead, we find that consumers are reacting to current prices at the pump when it comes to their automotive search and buying behavior."

Keeping with manufacturer's reports of strong crossover sales, GM's trio of crossover-vehicles - the Buick Enclave, Saturn Outlook and GMC Acadia - all made the list of cars experiencing a large increase in the amount of search activity last month. Cars.com expects that crossover vehicles as a category will continue to generate interest on the site in the coming months. Below are lists of the most-searched used cars and the used cars experiencing the largest increase and decrease in searches on Cars.com.

Used-Cars with the Largest Decrease in Searches (July)
1Ford Escape Hybrid
2Geo Metro
3Honda Insight
4Honda Civic Hybrid
5Toyota Prius
6Geo Tracker
7Mazda MX-5
8BMW Z3
9Hyundai Azera
10Lexus SC 430

Used-Cars with the Largest Increase in Searches (July)
1Buick Enclave
2Subaru B9 Tribeca
3Ford Expedition EL
4Saturn Outlook
5Chrysler Aspen
6GMC Acadia
7Mazda CX-7
8Mercedes-Benz GL-Class
9Dodge Nitro
10Acura RDX

About Cars.com

Cars.com is the most comprehensive destination for those looking to buy or sell a new or used car. The site lists more than 2 million vehicles from 13,000 dealer customers, classified advertisers and private parties to offer the more than 9 million unique visitors who log on to the site each month the best selection of new and used cars online, as well as the content, tools and advice to support their shopping experience. Cars.com combines powerful inventory search tools and new-car configuration with pricing information, photo galleries, buying guides, side-by-side comparison tools, original editorial content and reviews to help millions of car shoppers connect with sellers each month.

Launched in June 1998, Cars.com is a division of Classified Ventures, LLC, which is owned by leading media companies, including Belo (NYSE: BLC), Gannett Co., Inc. (NYSE: GCI), The McClatchy Company (NYSE: MNI), Tribune Company (NYSE: TRB) and The Washington Post Company (NYSE: WPO).

About the Cars.com Consumer Search Index

The Cars.com Consumer Search Index offers a comprehensive look at the internet search behavior of Cars.com visitors. The statistical information is compiled by tracking the more than 9 million unique visitors that log onto Cars.com each month and the vehicles that are most popular. The lists are based off a minimum of 10,000 searches. Dealer inquiries measure the volume of emails consumers send to dealers seeking information about a particular vehicle.

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