Car gets 70 miles per gallon

NEWARK, Del. - October 5, 2008 - They're called "Wildfires," Chinese-made vehicles that are said to be the cheapest on three wheels with a price tage of just over $8,000 for a fully loaded car, and $7,000 for a truck like the one Bob Gallo drives.

"They're real head-turners!" Gallo said.

Gallo bought his three-wheeler to cut down on expenses while running errands for his New Castle mulch business. That's when he made a surprising discovery.

"It's great for advertising, because they really catch your attention because it's different," Gallo said. "I mean, how many vehicles do you see on the raod with three wheels?"

And how many vehicles get 70 miles to the gallon in gas? Not the ones sitting in car lots waiting for buyers. Which is exactly why Gallo is now the only Wildfire dealer in Delaware.

Gallo is hoping the Wildfire catches on like, well, wildfire. He's betting they will after consumers learn how much they'll save when they drive on home.

"Insurance on them is only 150 dollars a year," Gallo said.

The cost of driving a Wildfire is about four cents per mile versus 30 cents per mile for traditional, four-wheeled vehicles.

But, will they sell? That depends on who you ask.

"I'd definitely use it for personal use, everywhere I'd go I'd use it for 70 miles to the gallon," said David Clendenning of Bear, Delaware.

"I wouldn't buy one," said Leroy Burks of Wilmington. "I'm past that stage now. I want four wheels and plenty of steel on both sides."

Wildfires aren't for everyone, especially since the cruising speed is just 50 to 55 miles per hour. But with the small engines under the front seat, and the even smaller price tag, Bob Gallo thinks this econo-car will be perfect for drivers who dare to be different.

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