Good Advice To Help Prevent Up and Down Fuel Costs From Making You Do Goofy Things


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Originally Published June 27, 2008 - Still Good Advice

By Bob Gordon, Co-publisher
The Auto Channel

Before you go crazy about today’s volatile gas prices here are some sane thoughts…

1. No matter what the cost of fuel look at your actual transportation NEEDS. As an example, if you have a large family you shouldn’t consider a small car no mater how much you think you will save on gas…there’s much more to choosing a car than the MPG.

2. If you already own a car that is working ok and it’s doing the job but gets lousy gas mileage, then ask yourself exactly why you want to buy a new car that gets “better “ MPG – Is it economic or emotional?

3. If emotional I can’t offer advice and you won’t take it, but…

4. If economic take a hard look at the cost benefits of trading your present gas guzzler in on a car that will get better mileage. Note that the economics of better MPG are determined by the miles you drive, so lets take a look and your transportation NEEDS.

5. Assuming a 50-50 ratio of highway and city driving, and gas is 4 bucks a gallon:

- If you drive 10,000 Miles annually and your present vehicle gets 20 mpg combined you will spend around $2000 per year on Gas or $166 per month

- If you drive 15,000 Miles annually and your present vehicle gets 20 mpg combined you will spend around $3000 per year on Gas or $250 per month

- If you drive 20,000 miles annually and your present vehicle gets 20 mpg combined you will spend around $4000 per year on Gas or $333 per month

If you buy a new car that gets 28 MPG combined (and not many do) to replace your old 20 MPG’er here is what you will save on gasoline:

-10,000 miles per year – spend $120 per month save $46 for 8 MPG Better

-15,000 miles per year – spend $179 per month save $71 for 8 MPG Better

-20,000 miles per year – spend $238 per month save $95 for 8 MPG Better

So before you go out to look at new cars understand why you are doing it…and expect that cars with better MPG will now cost more than they did a few months ago. Use on-line research tools like those on The Auto Channel and www.newcarbuyersguide.com. Compare not only MPG but the new vehicle’s practicality, as well as the total costs of the vehicles you are considering for purchase. Most of all, have fun. Buy what you will like for a long time - otherwise every time you get into a car you settled for you will hate it.

Ok you have an old gas guzzler you say, so a mid range 17-20 MPG vehicle might be the car for you now that emotion has taken a hold of the new car marketplace, but before you determine your need to buy a new car:

Consider the MPG differences of the best to the worst:

2008 model SUV or crossovers - 14 MPG difference;

2008 large 6 passenger sedans – 5 MPG difference;

2008 Minivans - 3 MPG difference;

The biggest MPG spread is in 5 passenger sedans and coupes where the difference can be as much as 35 MPG…but that crosses every price and performance segment…from a Toyota Prius to a Bentley Arnarge R a cost spread of $240,000.

So go out and buy the RIGHT new car today, because it will make you feel good and you won’t mind paying the extra 10-15 bucks per tankfull of overpriced gasoline…and you might actually save 100 bucks a month…although the payments on the new car will cost you that many times over…most of all have fun looking and test driving.

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