With gasoline prices well above $3 a gallon, the "green" focus of the 2011 Fort Worth Auto Show comes at good time.
The annual show, which opens today at the Fort Worth Convention Center, will have a big emphasis on fuel-efficient and environmentally friendly vehicles.
They include the in-production 2011 Chevy Volt, a battery-gasoline-powered compact; the Mitsubishi "i" electric vehicle headed for the U.S. in the next year; and the 2012 Fiat 500.
"If a consumer is interested in going green, the auto show is the ideal opportunity to see what the manufacturers have to offer," said Jim Hardick, auto show chairman and general manager of the Moritz Chevy, Chrysler and Kia dealerships in Fort Worth.
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The show has been presented annually by the New Car Dealers Association of Tarrant County, which merged last year with its counterpart group in Dallas to create the Dallas Fort Worth Metropolitan New Car Dealers Association.
About 300 vehicles are on hand for consumers to ogle, sit in and get a whiff of that new-car smell, everything from the tiny Italian-made Tazzari ZERO to Texas' top-selling models of big pickups.
A green-car exhibit area will feature several of the leading or upcoming hybrids, electric and other new-technology vehicles. And for those who want to do more than look, General Motors will be holding a Ride & Drive event in the Water Garden outside the south entrance to the convention center.
Consumers can test-drive a number of GM cars and trucks, including the Volt.
Chrysler, which like GM has rebounded from its bankruptcy of two years ago, will have 15 of the 16 vehicles the company has introduced or redone in the last year, including the Fiat, Chrysler 300 and all-new Dodge Durango.
"This is a banner year for the Chrysler Group, as we've worked diligently to update our lineup at record speed," said Shannon Carr, director of Chrysler's Southwest Business Center.
Ford will have the soon-to-come 2012 Focus, boasting up to 40 mpg and the all-new 2011 Explorer sport utility vehicle.
The Autobahn dealership group has returned for the 2011 show with its lineup of European brands including Jaguar, BMW and Porsche.
Bob Cox, 817-390-7723