Category Archives: Save Money

Top 2008 Fuel Economy Cars

Got the high gas price blues? Then ditch that old gas guzzler of yours if you can and check out some of 2008’s top fuel efficient cars. High fuel prices, an unstable oil market, and world political forces are changing attitudes and vehicle preferences as a matter of economic necessity for both consumers and the auto industry. Shopping for a new vehicle today means paying attention not only to purchase price, monthly payments, and insurance costs, but for the first time since the oil crisis of the 1970s, fuel economy as well.

I’ve singled out 10 mileage standouts at five different price points that start below $15,000 and rise to over $30,000

All fuel economy specifications are in MPG (miles per gallon) because us North Americans are still in the stone age when it comes to our measuring systems. Metric system anyone? Hello? Those of you not used to thinking in miles per gallon remember that 1 gallon is equal to 3.785 liters. To get the kilometer per liter performance check out this link or to convert MPG to liters per 100 km see this link.

Under $15,000

Honda Fit, 28 City/34 Highway MPG, $13,950

Honda’s compact five-door hatch is a very functional economy car/wagon that easily delivers fuel economy in the low to mid-30 mpg range. Power comes from a 109 horsepower, 1.5 liter VTEC four-cylinder and either a five-speed manual or five-speed automatic transmission

Ford Focus, 24 City/35 Highway MPG, $14,300

The Focus is offered as either a sporty two door coupe or four door sedan in base S, mid-range SE, and higher-end SES trim levels. It comes standard with Ford’s Duratec 2.0-liter four cylinder engine that can be ordered as a PZEV (Partial Zero Emission Vehicle)

$15,000-$20,000

Chevrolet Malibu, 22 City/30 Highway MGP, $19,995

A 2.4-liter double overhead cam Ecotec engine is standard with a 3.6-liter V-6 optional. The Malibu is also offered in a mild hybrid version that delivers 24/32 mpg

Nissan Rogue, 22 City/27 Highway MPG, $19,250

The Rogue offers a mix between true economy car thriftiness and SUV versatility. It is offered in both front wheel drive and all wheel drive powertrains. The rogue is powered by a 170 horsepower, 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine that delivers V-6 like power through a continuously variable transmission.

$20,000-$25,000

Honda Civic Hybrid, 40 City/45 Highway MPG, $22,600

In the U.S. market, the Honda Civic is the economy car by which all others are judged. Rightly so, since the Civic has set standards for space efficiency, fuel economy, and clean emissions from the start. Utilizing Honda’s Integrated Motor Assist hybrid technology, the Civic Hybrid consistently delivers better than 40 mpg without sacrificing functionality

Toyota Prius, 48 City/45 Highway MPG, $21,100

Pure and simple, the Toyota Prius is an icon of hybrid powertrain evolution. When most people hear the words “hybrid car” they most likely imagine the Toyota Prius. I very much like this car. Although at this point I am not in the market for a new car, if I was this would be car I’d be looking to buy. Toyota’s Hybrid Synergy Drive incorporates a 1.5-liter, double overhead cam four-cylinder engine producing 76 horsepower. With the integration of a 67 horsepower electric motor this package provides 295 ft-lbs of torque from 0 rpm. All that technology converges to make this the quintessential hybrid car.

$25,000-$30,000

Toyota Camry Hybrid, 34 City/32 Highway MPG, $25,350

Utilizing Toyota’s proven Hybrid Synergy Drive system, the Camry offers a combined gasoline-electric drive output of 187 horsepower. A true full hybrid like the Prius, the Camry Hybrid is capable of operating solely on electric power at slow speeds, on the gasoline engine alone, or via a combination of the two

Ford Escape Hybrid, 34 City/30 Highway MPG, $26,505

The combination of a 2.3-liter Atkinson cycle four-cylinder gas engine and 94 horsepower electric motor allows the Escape Hybrid to deliver performance equivalent to a standard V-6 engine without sacrificing fuel economy. The Escape Hybrid is a great small SUV alternative for buyers who not willing to sacrifice utility for economy

Over $30,000 -the high end models

Toyota Highlander Hybrid, 27 City/25 Highway MPG, $37,650

Toyota is calling the new Highlander a crossover vehicle rather than an SUV. A quieter and more refined ride clearly moves the Highlander apart from truck based SUVs. Power comes from a 3.3-liter double overhead cam V-6 that works in harmony with electric drive to produce a combined output of 270 horsepower.

Mercedes-Benz E320 Bluetec, 23 City/32 Highway MPG, $53,025

The luxurious Mercedes E320 Bluetec is among the first to market with clean diesel technology. The 3.0-liter Bluetec V-6 features 210 horsepower and an impressive 400 lbs-ft of torque delivered through an electronically controlled 7-speed automatic transmission. With fuel economy on par with smaller hybrid sedans, this Mercedes can cover a lot of ground between fill ups; nearly 700 miles in highway cruise mode

There you have it folks. I believe that being financially intelligent doesn’t just mean knowing how to maneuver or invest your money but also knowing how to make the best of the money you already have. Having a fuel efficient car fits perfectly into that philosophy. Not only are you saving your hard earned money by not giving it to some already filthy rich oil company, but you also are lessening your effect on the environment. Besides, I bet you can think of other more fun things to do with your money than spending it at the gas pump.

Wishing you the best, and drive safely!

Alan

SmartyPig – Online Savings Account

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Bankaholic.com just introduced me to one really neat idea! It’s a cross between an online savings account and a social network site. Neat eh? Checkout what Bankaholic people have to say about it.

*This service is available to US Citizens only!*

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A Fun Twist on Savings Accounts

You open an account with a minimum deposit of $25. Deposits are funded through ACH bank-to-bank transfers. Your money gets stored at West Bank, an FDIC insured bank. The best part is that you earn 4.30% APY interest (as of 3/22/08).

SmartyPig has some social-networking that differentiate them from traditional high interest savings accounts

  • You can set up a savings goal. Ie, if you need $1000 for rent or $1500 for a plasma TV
  • You can make your goals public so that your friends and family can see what you are saving $$ for.
  • People can give you $$ to help you reach your goal. Ie, if grandma sees that Junior is saving up $100 for a new tricycle, grandma can use SmartyPig to give Junior some cash. You can also add-on SmartyPig’s Facebook and Myspace applications to share your savings goals with the world. Who knows who might be inclined to help you out with some money?
  • If you decide to cash out your money in the form of a gift card (ie, Home Depot, Best Buy, etc) you can get up to 5% extra.

If you have an account with SmartyPig, you can contribute to other SmartyPig customer’s savings goals for free. Alternatively, you can contribute via credit card for a 2.9% processing fee. (If you use a 5% cash back credit card like the Citi CashReturns card, then you can actually make a few bucks.)

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If this interests you visit SmartyPig’s website at:

http://www.smartypig.com/

Want to save money on gas? Avoid these cars

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With the price of oil floating neat $100 a barrel drivers everywhere are definitely feeling the pinch on their wallet. Consequently if you’re looking to save some cash at the gas pump you may wish to look into replacing that old gas guzzling car of yours with one which gets better gas mileage. A few weeks back I visited the Detroit International Auto Show, and I saw some pretty impressive and energy efficient cars. Then again, the majority of cars I saw were your typical 10-16 mpg gas guzzler. So what car should one buy? I’ll leave that for another article, but for now I’ll list some cars that you definitely should NOT buy if you don’t want to burn a hole through your wallet next time your at the gas station. Actually, you want to avoid any sort of combustion near a gas pump ;) Ok, humor aside, here is the 2008 gas guzzler wall of shame:

2008 Saab 9-7X Aero

2008 Jeep Wrangler

2008 Jeep Liberty

2008 Saturn Vue XE

2008 Pontiac G6 GT Convertible

2008 Mazda RX-8

2008 Mazda CX-7

2008 Volvo S80

2008 Pontiac Solstice/2008 Saturn Sky

Got one of these puppies? I do hope you also have a few million barrels of oil underneath your property as you just might need it.

Check out my source material produced by Car & Driver Magazine. There you will find detailed info about the gas guzzlers I’ve listed above.

Perhaps in a future post I will review some cars that are easy on your wallet and on the environment.