ADVERTISING: The Hard Sell on M.P.G.

There is almost nothing that advertisers will not try to turn into a selling point. Take the driving public's concern about the rate at which cars consume gasoline, a worry that has knocked auto sales down 27%, with big-car sales hurting the most. "As long as fuel is in short supply," says Ford President Lee Iacocca, "the name of the game is miles per gallon." Result: automakers and their dealers are rushing to advertise that their cars, even some of the heaviest, get astonishing gas mileage.

For some months now, Hugh Downs has...

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