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U.S. Drivers in Gas-Guzzler Buying Spree

December 7, 2001

U.S. drivers are buying gasoline at a feverish pace despite the nation's official recession, largely because of low pump prices and an autumn buying rush for gas-guzzling sport utilities, according to industry analysts.Gasoline consumption for November averaged about 8.6 million barrels per day, up nearly 3 percent from last year, according to the American Petroleum Institute (API), despite a declared recession. The healthy gasoline demand comes with a steep drop in retail pump prices to two-year lows of $1.12 a gallon and amid a marked increase in sales of SUVs and pickups.No-interest and low-interest financing deals by big automakers have helped push sales of SUVs and light pickups 13.7 percent higher than last year for the month of November, according to the U.S. Commerce Department.Meanwhile, 10 of the 20 best-selling vehicles so far this year have been trucks or SUvs, including the gargantuan GMC Sierra and Dodge Ram, according to sales figures reported by auto manufacturers.
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