Did You Get a Good Deal on Your Car?

Thanks the popular and controversial Cash for Clunkers program, and in spite of “The Great Recession,” many Americans have begun to build up the courage to buy a new vehicle, especially over the past month or two.

With the auto industry suffering from the recession and eager to move cars off lots, there are many good deals to be had.  That being said, with a most new cars costing at least $15,000, it’s not as if people have been, or should go into their next car purchase without having done plenty of research.

Based on recent data, it certainly appears as if many Americans were well informed the last time they walked into a car dealership.

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10 Simple Steps to Save Gas and Improve Gas Mileage

About this time last year, when the national average price of gasoline was over $4 per gallon, many of us were obsessed with trying to squeeze as many miles as possible out of each tank of gas. 

For a while though, as gas prices fell almost as rapidly as they climbed, many of us seemed to stop caring as much about continuing to conserve gas.  After all, it’s much easier to look the other way when it costs only $20 to fill up when compared to the $45 it cost just six months earlier.

However, with the economy continuing to crumble, the job market getting worse by the day, and money getting tighter for the average family, it seems like now would be a good time to revisit those gas saving tips we tried so hard to learn last spring and summer.

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Is a Nano the Right Car for You?

Back in March of this year, the Tata Nano — dubbed “The People’s Car” due to it’s affordability — was unveiled in India, causing quite a stir around the globe.  During the booking period, which ran from April 9 through April 25, nearly a quarter million were sold, with actual delivery beginning in July.

While the basic model of the Nano is relatively stripped down, the car has been widely hailed as revolutionary due to it’s most important feature: it’s $2,500 price tag.  This price makes the Nano the cheapest/least expensive production car in the world.

Considering the tough economic times many of us our facing, coupled with the general woes of the U.S. auto industry, the idea of a small, fuel efficient and very cheap vehicle is certainly very appealing to the American consumer.  That being said, would these factors be enough to make it worth it to Tata to sell the Nano in the United States?

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Mother Nature Would Like to Have a Word

While I certainly can’t speak for everyone, it certainly seems to me that the call to go green, especially with regards to oil, gasoline, driving less, and more fuel efficient vehicles, has sort of been muted as of late.  I also think the explanation why is obvious.

I have long subscribed to the theory that if you want people to pay attention, take action, and make changes, you’ve got to hit them where it counts: in their wallet.  This is why I don’t think it’s a coincidence that the cries for becoming more environmentally friendly grew louder as gasoline prices climbed higher.

On the flip side, I think this is also why many of us seem to not be as concerned about the environment — or at least trying to make immediate changes — as we once were.  After all, the price of gas has fallen about 50% from it’s peak.

But, one opinion does not a fact make, so I thought I’d pose the following question to my Daily Fuel Economy Tip readers: Are you less concerned about environmental issues now that gas prices have fallen over 50 percent?

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Hybrid Sales Fall Nearly 10% in 2008

It seems even popular and trendy hybrid vehicles were unable to buck the downward trend experienced in 2008 by the automotive industry.

Despite record high gasoline and diesel fuel prices, sales of hybrid vehicles fell nearly 10% during 2008, according to numbers released by the Automotive News Data Center.  However, in spite of the over-arching bad news, there was some good news for one of the Big 3: General Motors increased their hybrid sales by almost 200 percent.

The “headline news” regarding a 10% decrease in hybrid sales seems pretty bad.  After all, in the first half of 2008 we had both the release of several new hybrid models and saw the U.S. national average gas price climb above $4 per gallon for the first time ever.

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Will President Obama Get Alternative Energy on Track?

As part of Barack Obama’s message during his Presidential campaign, he promised to help modernize and green America’s energy and transportation systems.  (Click here and here to see what Obama promised on the trail.)

Now, after the election, President-elect Obama is pushing alternative energy as part of his expected to be many hundreds of billions of dollars stimulus package.  According to the Obama camp, not only will the push towards alternative energy and more fuel efficient vehicles help protect America from unstable oil producing countries, but it will also help to create and save millions of non-exportable jobs within our borders.

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National Speed Limit to Help Save Gas? Not so Fast!

Remember the days of $4 gasoline?  Ah, they seem so long ago – even though it was less than three months ago.

Anyway, one of the many proposed ideas to help ease the pain at the pump and help drivers consume less gasoline was to implement a national speed limit, which would reduce the maximum allowable driving speed to top out at 55 miles per hour.

However, with all of the recent Federal intervention and meddling in an effort to revive the economy, one would imagine Congress has much bigger things to worry about.  Besides, do we really want the government to step in and impose even more regulations upon us?

According to a recent poll on GasBuddy.com, a vast majority of drivers are against a government mandated speed limit.

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I Bet You’re Excited About Plug-in Hybrids

One of the most promising “save the world” vehicles is the plug-in hybrid.  Much of the allure of these cars comes from the fact they’re not borne of some super technology or some untested alternative fuel, but from the fact that at their very core, all they are is essentially a combination of the best features of both electric and gasoline powered cars.

After charging, plug-in hybrids have the ability to run for long periods of time exclusively on batteries, which obviously reduces gasoline consumption and harmful emissions.  They are also able to drive as “regular” fuel efficient gas powered cars, so you don’t have to stop every 200 miles to recharge the car’s batteries.

For as cool as these cars are, will people actually buy them once they hit the market?  After all, there have been a countless number of products that consumers thought were neat, but weren’t really interested in purchasing.

So, is it worth it for the reeling auto industry to invest in infrastructure necessary to mass produce these cars?  According to a recent poll, not only is it worth it for car makers to do so, but it would probably stupid for them not to do so.

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Who Should Pay For Fuel Efficient Car Plants – Big 3 or the Federal Government?

It’s no secret that higher gas prices have hit America pretty hard.  While higher gas prices have placed quite a financial strain on the American public, at the end of the day, the “group” that might be effected the most might not be Americans in general, rather the Big 3 American car makers – General Motors, Ford and Chrysler.

After spending years building up the infrastructure to produce profitable trucks and SUVs, higher gas prices have really hurt sales at the Big 3 American car makers.  In an effort to stop the financial bleeding, many truck and SUV plants have been shut down, costing thousands of jobs and hundreds of millions of dollars in lost sales.

These current conditions have led the senior management of these car companies to ask the Federal Government for some financial help in the form of low interest loans to help convert truck and SUV plants into facilities which produce smaller, more fuel efficient vehicles.

While this Federal intervention may seem like a good thing – after all, a healthy manufacturing sector has always been good for the American economy – according to a recent poll, Americans appear to be pretty torn over whether or not the Federal Government should help the Big 3.

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High Gas Prices Forcing You to Drive Less?

Over the span of the past 18 months, the national average price of gasoline has jumped from a low of $2.13 per gallon (February 2007) to a high of $4.12 (July 2008), back down to today’s current price of $3.69.

While the price decline over the past two months has come as a relief, the 75% price increase between early 2007 and now is clearly unprecedented and has to have made a profound impact on many of our personal finances.

And since money doesn’t grow on trees – especially in this slumping economy – chances are you’ve had to cut back somewhere in order to account for having less money in your pocket. According to a recent poll on GasBuddy.com, nearly 70% of us have reduced the amount of driving we do in order to cope with higher gasoline prices.

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