Fuel Economy

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Higher Fuel Prices? Wheels

      That Will Keep You Rolling


                                           2003 by Kyle Busch, author of:
                                            "Drive the Best for the Price  ..."                          


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 mpg in the city and about
     40 mpg on the highway with this vehicle.


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 they
definitely have a real advantage in bad weather
and off-road conditions.


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


If you are in the market for a vehicle, be certain
to do your homework. Consult "Consumer
Report's" automotive issue (April). 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.


How to Evaluate a Used Vehicle:
Kyle Busch is the author of "Drive the Best for
the Price: How to Buy a Used Automobile, Sport-Utility
Vehicle, or Minivan and Save Money." The book can
be ordered from Barnes and Noble or Borders, or by
www.drivethebestbook.com. The web site
accepts your transportation questions.