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The national car ownership rate is lower for the second straight year as record fuel costs keep customers out of auto showrooms.

Ownership fell to an average of 1.095 cars per household as of March 31, down from 1.107 a year earlier, the Automobile Inspection & Registration Information Association said Wednesday. The ratio, which includes minicars, dropped last year for the first time since the group began publishing data in 1975.

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