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‘U’ Energy Economist Develops Car Shopping Tool

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ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) – A University of Minnesota energy economist has developed an online tool to help car-shoppers decide if an alternative vehicle is right for them.

Doug Tiffany says it’s not just about price, personal taste or mileage. He says the wide availability of alternative vehicles — coupled with environmental considerations — make choosing more complicated.

His tool is designed to help consumers compare newer models like the electric Nissan Leaf and Cheny Volt with established hybrids like the Toyota Prius and conventional cars. Shoppers can test various scenarios, such as higher gas prices and miles driven per year, to aid in their decisions.

Tiffany says he was inspired to create the tool when gas prices were lower but the memory was still fresh of prices as high as $4 per gallon.

(© Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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