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High gas prices linked to surge in small car sales

High gas prices linked to surge in small car sales

By Ashlee DeMartino. CREATED Apr 11, 2012

Las Vegas, NV (KTNV) -- Pain at the pump hasn't eased up lately. Prices are still pushing $4 a gallon. The national average stands at $3.92. It's even higher around Las Vegas at $3.96.

The high prices are being linked to a surge in small car sales. Automakers are also crediting low interest rates for better sales numbers across the board, including trucks. In fact, they say it's their best monthly performance in four years.

U.S. auto sales rose 12-percent in March on a solid demand for smaller, more compact cars. With high gas prices across the country, the leading trend in fuel-efficient cars like the Chevy Cruze, Ford Fusion and Hyundai Elantra has jumped 16-percent in March alone.

Industry analysts say sales could run at the annual rate of $14.5 million in vehicle sales, but some companies could break their sales records.

Retailers also believe sales are up because companies are making better cars in terms of performance, features and safety.