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CITIZENS POLICY CHANGE COULD SAVE YOU MONEY

TALLAHASSEE

State-backed Citizens Property Insurance said Tuesday it will begin offering a single policy to its wind-only customers starting today, a move that company officials say will simplify coverage for its policyholders and, in many cases, result in a lower combined premium. Policyholders who combine their plans may see annual premium savings of up to 10 percent. The new program will be available for policyholders with effective dates on or after today.

WASHINGTON

Senators push EPA on fuel regulations

The battle continues over whether states can set higher fuel-efficiency standards than the federal government. By a 10-9 vote, the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee on Tuesday passed a bill to speed the process. Two years ago California asked EPA permission to establish tougher fuel standards; 14 other states followed, including Florida. The EPA has not responded, and some states have threatened to sue if the EPA doesn't make up its mind. The bill by Florida Sen. Bill Nelson and California Sen. Barbara Boxer, both Democrats, gives the EPA a month to act.

GAINESVILLE

Florida consumers not in cheery mood

Nationally, consumer confidence rose to a six-year high in July, but in Florida it was another story. The Florida Consumer Confidence Index dropped a point to 81. University of Florida researchers blame the slump on the weak housing market. "It is becoming increasingly clear that Florida's economy is moving in a different direction than most of the country," survey director Chris McCarty said. "Our expectation is that consumer confidence in Florida will decline a bit further and remain low" for some time.

TOYOTA HYBRID'S PRICE COMING DOWN

Toyota is adding a 2008 model of its Prius gasoline-electric car priced 5.5 percent less than the current base version. The new "standard" Prius starts at $20,950, a drop of $1,225 from the lowest-cost 2007 model's base price, Toyota said Tuesday.

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