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Lila Frazell wasn't looking for a car with a four-cylinder engine when she started shopping at a Chrysler dealership in Albuquerque, N.M., early this year. But the black Sebring midsize sedan on the lot at Quality Jeep-Chrysler had all the options she was looking for, including a two-tone beige-and-tan leather interior.

"I got in the Sebring," the 61-year-old paralegal recalled. "It had everything I wanted, and it had plenty of power."

Frazell ended up buying the car, joining an increasing number of U.S. car shoppers who are picking thriftier small engines in the face of gas prices that continue to hover around $3 per gallon.

The percentage of four-cylinder engines in U.S. vehicles has been rising slightly since 2002, but it still was only 25.4 percent of the U.S. engine mix in 2006, according to data collected by Ward's Automotive Group.

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