By Kyle Busch
The hybrids cost about $5,000 above the all gasoline cars. The
hybrids have most all of the components of a gasoline car plus the electrical
components. I believe that the Japanese auto makers are doing "real world"
testing for the electric motor, recharging system, etc. In five years, they
should have all electric offerings.
The Japanese and the Europeans have micro cars that are fuel
efficient. At this time, however, they are not offered to Americans.
Diesels are an alternative. BMW has a 320di with 148 horsepower.
It gets about 50 mpg at 100 miles per hour. 0-60 is about 8.1 seconds. This car
is not imported into the United States at this time.
Kia and Hyundai are coming up in quality, but the prices are
coming up just under the pricey Toyota and Honda.
I discuss the following fuel efficient vehicles because the cars
are proven, are reasonably priced, and are available.
The cost of transportation can be expensive, and higher fuel
prices does not help matters. The following vehicles have good ratings, and they
will help to stretch your fuel dollars.
The following are some vehicles that will help you to keep
rolling longer and avoid the pump:
1. The Toyota Corolla has been around for over 30 years. During
the last few years, the Corolla has become a bit larger. Expect to achieve about
30 miles per gallon (mpg) in the city and about 40 mpg on the highway with this
2. The Honda Civic has been a stiff rival to the Corolla. The
Civic has also recently grown a bit in size. The Civic is right there with the
Corolla at about 30 mpg in the city and about 40 mpg on the highway.
3. The Geo Prizm will cost about $1,000- $1,500 less than a
comparable year Corolla or Civic. The Prizm will achieve about 29 mpg city and
about 38 mpg on the highway.
SUVs can really eat the fuel, however, they are convenient for
hauling cargo, and some definitely have a real advantage in bad weather and
4. The Suzuki Esteem wagon provides some cargo-carrying ability
and reasonable fuel economy. Expect to achieve about 28 mpg in the city and
about 37 mpg on the highway with this vehicle.
5. The Subaru Legacy wagon/Outback wagon and Forester can all
carry cargo plus they have all-wheel drive. These vehicles generally have the
most powerful engines out of those mentioned above. Expect to achieve about 22
mpg in the city and about 27 mpg on the highway.
If you are in the market for a vehicle, be certain to do your
homework. Consult the April (automotive issue) of "Consumer Reports." This
resource is available at most public libraries.
If you plan on buying a used vehicle, also be sure to read a
couple of archived new vehicle road tests (review road tests that were conducted
at the time the vehicle was new) on the used vehicle of interest in auto
magazines (many are archived at your local library) or Internet sources such as
"Car and Driver," "Motor Trend," "Road & Track," or "MotorWeek." Information
from the road tests will allow you to zero in on which of the vehicles discussed
above will be the best for you.
Last, but not least, be certain that you do not overpay to drive
a fuel-efficient vehicle. For example, if you pay say $1,500 more for a vehicle
that achieves five mpg more than your current vehicle, you would need to drive
it about five years to get $1,500 in fuel savings. However, say you pay an extra
$500 for a vehicle that achieves 10 mpg more than your current vehicle. In a
little over one year, you would recoup your $500.