Average fuel economy for those shiny new 2003 model cars headed for showrooms is down for the third consecutive year and now stands about 6 percent below the high point set 15 years ago, according to an Associated Press report. Among the highest achievers, the percentage of the new crop of vehicles getting more than 30 mpg drops to 4 percent from 6 percent a year ago, AP said. Only 33 of the 934 cars, trucks and vans listed in the 2003-model annual fuel economy statistics released Oct. 29 by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) are that efficient. That compares with 48 of the 865 models available last year. In 1987 and 1988, back before Americans developed a thirst for gas-guzzling sport utility vehicles, the fleet averaged 22.1 mpg -- compared to 20.8 for the new year, AP said.