Whether you use your vehicle for long commutes to and from work each day or only for short jaunts on the weekend, it is likely that you have been affected by the rising costs of fuel. We have seen fluctuations over the past few years but, let’s face it, the days of filling your tank for a handful of change are long gone. Almost every driver is concerned with getting optimal fuel efficiency. If you are wealthy enough that a triple digit trip to the pump does not completely ruin your budget, it is likely that your environmental consciousness still keeps your vehicle’s miles per gallon rating at the forefront of your mind.
Obviously, if every driver was to purchase and drive a tiny compact car that gets forty miles per gallon, our reliance on gasoline would drastically drop along with the prices. However, many people simply cannot function with a Mini, Fiat, or Smart Car. Depending on your family size, job, and hobbies, you may have valid reasons for driving a larger, less efficient vehicle. But this does not mean that you should surrender to paying significantly more than your actual car payment for gas each month. Here are three considerations to keep in mind when searching for the best fuel efficient vehicle for your lifestyle:
Many drivers assume that hybrid cars are the best options if fuel efficiency is a major concern. While hybrid cars do get excellent gas mileage, there are several other costs that should be calculated if you are thinking about purchasing this type of vehicle. First, hybrid cars are still gaining ground in the United States. You can expect to pay several thousand dollars more for a hybrid version of a car than you would for the traditional gasoline-powered model. Secondly, hybrids achieve excellent fuel efficiency because they also use electricity. While the cost of electricity to charge a hybrid will be significantly less than gasoline, it is not free. Lastly, according to where you live, it may be difficult to locate a mechanic who is equipped to perform maintenance on a hybrid car. All these factors should be considered before deciding to purchase a hybrid car for economic reasons. That being said, hybrid cars are good options for drivers with long commutes in and around major urban areas.
Many drivers still associate fuel efficient vehicles with small, designer auto manufacturers. Because of the growing demand for vehicles that get great gas mileage, almost every auto company that markets to United States drivers offers at least one, if not an entire line, of fuel efficient vehicles. Makers like Ford, Chevrolet, Hyundai, Toyota, Honda, and Nissan offer drivers an array of compacts, sedans, and small SUVs that are fuel efficient and inexpensive. If a small car fits your lifestyle, you should be able to browse over a dozen vehicles from different manufacturers that get upwards of forty miles per gallon and can be purchased for around twenty thousand dollars, sometimes significantly less.
So, how do you find a fuel efficient vehicle if you have four kids? Or if you live in a rural area that requires you to drive in harsh weather conditions? What about hauling equipment or supplies for your job? All of these circumstances can cause people to shy away from the idea of finding a more fuel efficient vehicle because they feel that most will not accommodate their lifestyles. Here’s the bottom line: no matter what type of gas-guzzler you are currently driving, there is more efficient alternative out there. Huge strides have been made in fuel efficient technology in the past few years. Many large SUVs are equipped to function on both gasoline and alternative fuel options. Many mini-vans have “eco” options that allow you to trade power for fuel economy when driving on the highway or interstate. While trucks are notorious for sucking gas, newer models are likely to get more miles per gallon than your old pick-up. Also, many drivers are amazed at how a smaller car can be more convenient than a large van or SUV. Re-think how you travel and how much your extra space is actually costing you. You may not be able to transport half nine of your closest friends, but you will have several hundred extra dollars in your pocket each month.
If you are searching for a new vehicle in an attempt to cut your gasoline expenses, one of the best resources is www.fueleconomy.gov. This official cite allows users to search cars by make, model, and year to view expected fuel economy, annual fuel cost, tank size, and estimated cost to fill tank based on the current national average price per gallon. If you are considering several different vehicles, this tool will clearly show you which one is the most fuel efficient option.
Remember that fuel efficient vehicles are now not only popular but readily available for all types of drivers. No matter your style or your transportation needs, there is bound to be a vehicle that will save money at the pump and allow you to take that cruise around town without feeling guilty.