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New fuel economy rules

Prices at the gas pump are on the rise again, but just when you thought there was no end in sight, the auto industry gets new rules that will make driving some cars more affordable.

News on 6 reporter Jennifer Loren says with the summer driving season just around the corner, the already high and rising gas prices have car experts worried. Mark Madeja with Oklahoma AAA: "We're hearing people say $3 a gallon. At the beginning of the season I didn't think that was possible. But now it looks fairly ominous that they could hit that level."

AAA just released the results of an annual study that say it costs more now to own and operate a vehicle than ever before. Broken down, they say it costs an average of 52 cents for every mile you drive. "And that's expensive. That's expensive."

And when gas prices are up, sales at car dealerships are down. Steve Lahmeyer with Ernie Miller GMC-Pontiac: "When gas went to $3 a gallon it was like someone turned the faucet off. We didn't sell anything, but beginning in 2008 the government will begin forcing auto manufacturers to abide by some new fuel economy rules."

All minivans, SUV's and light trucks will have to go further on a gallon of gas than their current models. The included trucks, for instance, will have to get between 24 and 28 miles per gallon by 2011. That's up from 21.6 miles per gallon in 2006.

Those light-sized trucks will be included in that list, but trucks with heavy duty specs will not be included in the new standards. And those new standards don't come without controversy.

Some say while any change is good, they don't think it's enough. Mark Madeja: "To be truthful I'm a little bit disappointed there's not more of a bite in those numbers." But government officials say these changes alone will save 10.7 billions gallons of fuel and the rules will only get better from here.

For more on the cost of driving a vehicle you can go to the AAA website.
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