By JENI FAULKNER
THREE months ago Kyle Murrell, 26, of Sandy Beach, bought his first car.
Instead of buying a V8 Commodore like many other men his age Kyle decided to go for the smaller Holden Astra, a decision which has paid off.
"I would have preferred something bigger but I needed this car for fuel efficiency because I travel every day," Kyle said.
"It costs about $40 to fill up and it is better value for money when you drive a smaller car."
Kyle is not the first, and certainly won't be the last, to forego the bigger car for economy purposes.
And, with Westpac Bank predicting that petrol prices could reach $1.30 a litre this year, and oil prices hitting a record $US61.25 a barrel yesterday, it appears small cars are the way of the future.
In Coffs Harbour unleaded petrol is at $1.16 a litre from major service stations, and around $1.14 at some independent outlets.
This week the Federal Chamber of Industries said people were looking for economical vehicles and the dealer principal for Fitzroy Motors, Robert Partridge, said people are starting to ask questions.
"There has been a lot of people inquiring about downsizing their cars to save on petrol, but we haven't seen them actually buying them just yet," Mr Partridge said.
The general sales manager for Bellbowrie Motors, Steve O'Grady, said he hadn't seen a dramatic switch yet but recently he had made a sale for someone downsizing.
"This woman was driving a V8 Range Rover and she said it was just too thirsty so she changed to a Turbo Diesel Audi all road," Mr O'Grady said.
Fuel economy expert John Taylor said with fuel prices continuing to rise, driving for fun could become a thing of the past.
"The only hope for Australian drivers is to pick up on a range of driving tips which could save them up to 25 per cent on their fuel costs each week," Mr Taylor said.