NEW YORK (5/3/10)--Will gasoline prices rise like the summer temperatures? If so, the type of vehicle you drive will make a difference. Experts say the price at the pump is poised for a summer increase as the economy shows signs of strengthening. The increase American consumers will face should be moderate and nothing like the 2008 fuel price jolt, analysts say (abcnews.go.com
April 24). However, gas prices are difficult to predict, and there’s no guarantee they won’t increase more than expected. One way to fight prices at the pump is to drive a fuel-efficient vehicle. But how do you know which vehicle is best for you? Here are five guidelines for finding the right fuel-efficient vehicle for your needs:
* Determine your needs. Figuring out what you’ll need the vehicle for will help you narrow your choices. Will a hybrid work for you, or do you need the power of a diesel? Consider a four-cylinder gas-powered car, especially if you’re on a budget. * Find the right fit. The right size vehicle for your needs can help with fuel efficiency. For example, a large truck will drain your wallet more than a smaller vehicle if you’re only using it to commute for work. * Research online. Use the Internet to determine what fuel-sipping vehicles meet your needs and your lifestyle. Sites like Edmunds.com feature a lot of information to help you figure out the best options. * Shop around. Locate dealerships online with the vehicles you are interested in. You can compare prices, search inventories, and identify rebates or other incentives. This also helps you target which dealerships to visit, saving you from gas-guzzling trips to every car lot in town. * Obtain preapproval. Getting preapproved for a loan at your credit union helps you understand how much vehicle you can afford and helps you avoid gimmicky dealer finance options. It’s usually a better deal to find the financing yourself.
For more help finding a fuel-stingy vehicle, read “Are You Ready for a Really Small Car?” and “How You Drive = What You Spend on Gas” in the Home & Family Finance Resource Center