Gas-efficiency highlighted at 2012 Orange County International Auto Show


Some people try to visit the Orange County International Auto Show every year to take in all the sights. But this year they might be paying a little more attention to facts and figures.

It's a trend that's been growing for years and is really in the spotlight this week as we've seen gas prices jump like crazy.

"What's great for consumers now is that you don't have to buy a tiny car to get great fuel economy," said Dan Hall, an analyst for AutoPacific.

Compacts get close to or more than 40 miles per gallon. Some mid-sizers now easily beat 30 mpg, at least on the highway.

But high-mileage hybrids are everywhere, from obvious brands like Toyota to ones new to the market like Volkswagen.

If you want to go beyond a hybrid, plug-in cars have really come into their own. But are drivers ready to trade the gas pump for a power cord?

The general mood at the Auto Show is about maximum miles per gallon, but fun is still part of the show too. Jeep returns to give shoppers a taste of the outdoors inside with an obstacle course.

The beauty of an auto show is you can come see a bunch of different cars all under one roof. But at the Orange County Auto Show, you can get out from under the roof, walk outside and go for a test drive in more than 100 different models.

"Years ago we might have had five or 10 ride-and-drive," said Jon Gray, president of the OC Auto Show. "Last year we had just over 40. So the fact this year we're more than double: 100 vehicles in the ride-and-drive."

Back inside you can then compare those increasingly important MPG numbers.

Even if you don't want a really small car: "It's going across all segments. All segments are really benefiting from what the engineers are doing in terms of fuel economy," said Dan Hall.

The Orange County International Auto Show is open from October 4-7, 2012.

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