Anyone Planning to Downsize Car Because of Gas Prices?

Here we go again. Gas prices are nearing the $4/gallon mark in my neighborhood, and I know they are approaching $5/gallon where some of you live.

While it hurts to fill up my truck these days, I don’t plan on trading it in for a smaller car. I like my truck. It’s paid for. It’s comfortable (I’m a big guy and would look awfully funny in an electric car the size of a golf cart). And I like being able to haul stuff, especially since I’ve been working on some home DIY remodeling projects the last few months.

In fact, I was a bit insulted on behalf of those who have to drive trucks for their business when the president suggested those driving a truck should “think about trading it in” or stop complaining about high gas prices. Easy to say when you aren’t hauling lawn mowers or bricks or construction equipment and tools for a living.

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Men’s Reading List: 34 Books About Being a Man. Naturally, I like this list because most of the recommendations are written in contrast to most of the “sitcom” men we see today. You know, the goofy, bumbling, effeminate males portrayed in many of today’s television shows.


  1. Gas is expensive. I gotta say, I’ve been starting to ride my bike to work lately to try and negate the expense. It’s 15k, so it’s a long haul, especially at 630am in the morning (I work in construction). It’s great exercise, but I’m not sure if I can do it every day!

  2. I am amazed what my mechanic brother in law can haul in his smart car!
    We won’t be downsizing soon. We drive the 30 mpg car in town and the 20 mpg truck when hauling:>)

  3. Can’t. Only have 1 car. Where I live it has to be AWD and higher off the ground if I plan on getting to work for a good chunk of the year. Not to mention the unnecessary but LOVED hour long drive to ice hockey for that same chunk of the year.

    Trying to get a job 1 mile away but we’ll see. Then I’d still have a hard time making the kid give up ice hockey because it was too far to bike it.

  4. Five years ago, as gas prices STARTED going higher, we went from a one car/two driver family to a three-driver family, one of whom commuted to college daily. So we needed a second car.

    Paying cash, we added a used car that was FAR more energy efficient than the one we already had. It is also a sedan, able to fit all of the family plug a lot of gear. Our business doesn’t include hauling big stuff, so the ‘new’ car can still handle that.

    Clearly, buying a vehicle (new or used) solely because of rising gas prices does not make sense. The price, the higher insurance prices, etc, will be more of a financial drain than higher gas prices will be. OTOH, when you have to buy a vehicle ANYWAY – then taking the MPG it gets into consideration does make sense when comparing vehicles that have all the other features you need.

    We’re down to one car again now, and we’d like to add another used one to our life. Instead, we’re tuning up bikes and legs for the time being.

    • That is a most logical approach. When it’s time to replace my wife’s SUV, we are looking at the smaller crossover style SUVs or possibly a sedan. It would be much more fuel efficient for trips and as a daily driver for my wife. We’ll use the truck for larger hauls when needed, and since I have a short commute, using the truck as my daily driver doesn’t eat too much gas anyway.

  5. I agree that having a truck can be fun, and if you want to spend the entertainment part of your budget on extra gas, then that’s your perrogative. but if you are only driving a truck for fun and not using it for hauling (i.e. hotrodding or mudding, having a truck for the sake of having a truck), then scaling down and perhaps choosing something a little more modest and efficient can make perfect sense.

    for example, my boss’s fiancee has a truck which they use to haul the boat if they like. one of the (few) reasons she went from a car to a truck herself (thats two trucks total) was to have the ability to haul the boat around if her fiancee is not home. this is her only vehicle and is used for commuting 30 miles one way to work. since i have neither truck nor boat, this make absolutely no sense to me, and this is one of the situations i think the president was speaking about.

    if you are in the market for a new car, why buy the biggest gas guzzler you can, if you’re not going to use it? certainly, if you ARE going to use it, and you require its capabilities, go for it, it would be easier than folding the seats down in a saturn. but if you can get by with the saturn, thats +12 mpg to you good sir.

  6. I don’t think the President is suggesting that people who need trucks should get rid of them, but that they look at what they drive with some thought to gas mileage, rather than buying the gas guzzler and then complaining, which many of my friends and colleagues have done. My wife and I have two cars now, but for most of our twenty years together have managed to get by with only one. I think more people could do that but just don’t even consider it as a possibility.

  7. Seeing as I’ll be a new (frugal?) dad in a few months, we’re considering upgrading at least one of our cars in the near- or mid-term future. Depends on how creative we can be packing a Civic or Outback wagon. Unfortunately, all the larger fuel-efficient cars / mini minivans I’ve been eying lately are new models, and I’ve previously told myself I’d only buy used cars from now on.

  8. Not downsizing my car, but driving it a LOT less. Taking the MAX (Portland’s light rail) and bus more, and actually finding it less stressful than driving, as well as cheaper.

    • Oh, and wanted to add — a tank of gas is lasting me three weeks now, when I used to fill up once a week!

  9. Hi guys 🙂

    We already have gas efficient cars (Honda civics), so really the only thing I have and can alter is driving less…and planning my trips. I used to like to drive to the nearby parks to get in some walking, so now I just settle fro walking in my apt complex and the walking trail next door…perhaps its not as spacious and lush, but I really enjoy it!

  10. One vehicle for three of us (me, husband & daughter who got her license in September), F250 pickup. I almost faint when it costs $110+ to fill up! But…it is paid for (has been for almost four years), we also use it for hauling DIY materials, used to use it to haul our camper (which we don’t do a lot right now because husband lost his job last year), and he also uses it working doing odd jobs (cleaning out garage/basements, yard work, etc). If we need to purchase a second vehicle, we’d probably go with a small 4 door sedan/small SUV type vehicle (Honda, Toyota, VW types) and use that more often and save the truck for big stuff.

  11. Jason – I hope you don’t mind me critiquing your blog post some. Instead of taking the approach of looking at it from a financial perspective you looked at it from an emotional perspective.

    1. “It’s Comfortable” – not a good financial reason. A temperpedic bed is obviously more comfortable than a regular bed. That doesn’t mean one has enough money to buy it.

    2.”I’m a big guy and would look awfully funny in an electric car the size of a golf cart” – when I read this I feel like you are implying that status matters. I’m a big guy too I’m 6’4 and over 200 pounds. I also drove a small Saturn Sedan for six years without any issues or humiliation.

    3 “I like being able to haul stuff, especially since I’ve been working on some home DIY remodeling projects the last few months.” – Another emotional appeal without any financial logic. Have you considered if the cost of delivery or renting a vehicle would be cheaper? Maybe it isn’t though, but I’d be more interested in learning about a formula that could help me figure out the cost.

    4. “In fact, I was a bit insulted on behalf of those who have to drive trucks for their business when the president suggested those driving a truck should ‘think about trading it in’ or stop complaining about high gas prices. Easy to say when you aren’t hauling lawn mowers or bricks or construction equipment and tools for a living.” – Could you cite this please? I’ve never heard Obama say this. Although he has said this –

    “We can’t drive our SUVs and eat as much as we want and keep our homes on 72 degrees at all times … and then just expect that other countries are going to say OK,”

  12. I was thinking about downsizing my car, but then I thought that it would probably cost me more money to actually downsize my car.

  13. I already drive a Yaris and would love to trade in for a truck. It’s not all about money, you also have to take into consideration the safety. My car has terribles safety ratings while something like the Toyota Tacoma is much safer and still gets great gas mileage.

    -Ravi Gupta

  14. I bought a Honda Ruckus Scooter a month ago. It goes 40mph, perfect for in-town commuting, and it gets 100mpg. Sure it takes premium but it only costs me $4 and change to fill up my 1.3 gallon tank. There are still people that shake their head when they pass me, but I shake my head at them when they leave the pump with a $100+ tally.

    • Why would anyone shake their head at you? Perhaps because you’re keeping them from getting to the next red light first? I wish more people would drive 50-250cc scooters and small motorcycles, but two-wheeled transportation is not the same in the US as it is in other parts of the world. Here, it’s rarely about affordable transportation, it’s more about being seen and making an impression on 1000cc+ cartoonish bikes.

      The way people drive, too, not just what they drive, really mystifies me. My car, a Subaru Forester, does not get very good mileage with its AWD, but I try to maximize what it does get by accelerating slowly and trying to keep the RPMs below 2000 whenever possible. Of course, I am passed en masse for my efforts by people with some apparent emergency to attend to.

  15. Already did last time they did this. Sold my 2002 Jaguar XJ8 and with the proceeds bought a 2006 Scion Xb (15 mpg for the Jag to nearly 31 mpg for the Scion). Had enough left over to pick up a 1972 International Harvester as a project car to boot. We won’t talk about its mpg’s.

  16. It’s true! Gas prices are getting a little out of hand (yet again) I agree with you feeling comfortable in your car of choice and if its paid for, well tha’ts a no-brainier. I feel that there should be a cap on the amount that gas prices can increase per year (maybe a percentage) so that we don’t have to suffer so much! thanks for sharing this info and opening up a discussion 😉

    • I understand your frustration, but I’m afraid that if there was a cap on gas prices there would be shortages and shades of the long lines of 1973 at gas stations.

  17. I drive a massive truck. And an old one. A 1994 Chevy Suburban. It’s bigger than I need, but I do need a truck. I find that every month I’m hauling something. Looking at a brand new one, I’d save about $1500 a year in gas. Too bad it would cost me $25 grand for a new one.

    I figure I have 3 more years on my current truck before I have to say goodbye. I’ll wait until then. But I do think I’ll be buying something smaller.

    As an aside. Car companies, and owners don’t really care about fuel economy. Cars are smaller today, but just as heavy as they were in the 60-70’s

    The 1994 Suburban, 4600 lbs 210hp, 300 foot pounds. (5.7 L V8) 13mpg
    The 2011 Suburban 5700 lbs 320 hp 335 foot pounds (5.3l V8) 17mpg

    If you rolled back the suburban to just 1994 specs in weight and engine power, you could see about a 15% improvement in fuel economy.

    • Why do you have to buy a Suburban tho? Unless you routinely haul around a large family I just don’t see the need.

      If we’re talking about around the house DYI or yard projects I think a pickup, even a used Ford Ranger with a utility trailer would do the trick fine. You’re not going to have the option of hauling around 15 people any longer but that’s the trade off I guess. 😉

      • Michael H, the price I quoted was for a new pickup, not a new Suburban. And the Subruban gets the same kind of mpg’s as the Silverado. no matter which way you slice it though, I need something with a full size bed. And I don’t think the dog would like to sit in the back of an open truck for 200 miles once a month to go visit the inlaws. No matter, I was really only using it as an example. If you prefer: A brand new Camry is 2.5 feet shorter, 8 inches narrower and 7 inches lower than my 1971 Buick Riviera. But it only ways 900 lbs less.

    • I would like to educate you why your 2011 vehicle weighs almost 1/2 a ton more (and more expensive) than it did a little more than a decade ago. It is called the 1996 vehicle act passed by the US congress. All vehicles after 1996 must have the following or pay stiff fines (and you wonder why some imports are so expensive); daytime running lights, steel re-enforced crossbeams on all doors, crumble zones with steel (not aluminum or anything lighter), dual air bags, ABS, Traction Control by 2006 (cars have it, but “better” control is an option for more money). So what does this mean? It means for every door they add about 50-100 pounds of steel per door, more steel in the front of a car.

      This is all for safety. Look up the highway safety ratings for a 1994 suburban. It is 1.5 stars. Now it is 5 stars. I agree with out .. strip back the cars to 1994 and you would get better gas mileage. Remember the 1991 toyota corolla? That thing was spartan as can be, but weighed like 2000 pounds and had a 98hp engine getting 60mph. It was a motor bike with doors.

  18. We already drive efficient cars. Go us. And yay us for buying the Civic hybrid right before the last big spike in oil prices.

  19. Nothing has changed but a few budgetary allocations. Let’s face it, AUTO FUEL has become THE NEW CAR NOTE! Work it out, or let the car stay at home!

    • AG, not that I know a thing about car notes…. but ‘work it out’ is easy to say, but reality is harder. It’s not just that if the car stays home we we do. I live just outside of a small 900 person town. Zero public transportation. No bus. No train.

      But those higher oil prices are making everything cost more. Food – because of transportation costs on it, costs for farmers’ fuel for all their machinery, costs of fertilizer and pesticides made from oil and oil products. Let’s throw in the higher price of corn due to us burning it as fuel, too.

      Medicine higher, due to higher petroleum costs. Clothes higher from the higher petroleum costs. Shipping our own products/hardware is higher due to higher shipping costs.

      I can walk to town, 2 miles each way. I can walk to the one grocer, 3 miles away – which happens to be a small store in an expensive chain (OTOH, they DO have bargains on ‘last day we can sell them’ meats).

      But to ship physical stuff for our business, we have to drive the boxes to the shipper. To get to our bank, 30 miles away (we are working on being able to handle client checks from home, but aren’t there yet, and credit card fees make taking payments that way WAY too meager) we have to drive.

      Moving would cost us (personal and business) at least $8K, not counting the joys of getting new folks in this place and finding a replacement.

      It’s hard for US to adjust, and we’re not as ‘financially at risk’ as, say, my 94 year old blind mother or 93 year mother in law, living on their fixed incomes.

      Not everyone can just ‘make a few budgetary allocations’.

        • They can – but that requires my husband being ready to ship when they do pick ups. I do @#$% runs to FedEx squeezing in there just before they close at 8 pm.

          They know me by name there.

          My husband SWEARS that he was born on his due date, but if that’s actually true that was the LAST time he did ANYTHING on time.

  20. When I replace my 2003 Camry (with 253,0000 trouble free miles), I’ll probably buy another Civic (like my wife’s 2005) or might go with a Subaru Forrester.

    The gas situation is temporary; just as it has been in the past. In comparison to the rest of the world, it’s a bargain at even $4.00 a gallon.

  21. I’ve been buying and driving small, fuel efficient, subcompact cars for 40 years. I also spent many years selling cars, and decades researching the development of small high gas mileage cars.

    The vast majority of extremely fuel efficient cars (40 to 100 mpg) have been manufactured by the former US Big 3, and very few of them have ever been sold in the US. This trend continues to this day.

    Extremely fuel efficient vehicles are coiunterproductive to the greed of the big oil companies, and Americans for the most part do not seem to be too interested in them, although as fuel prices in the US break the $5 barrier, and head for $8 per gallon (European and Canadian current prices), then perhaps Americans will start buying more of them. We’ll see.

    And why aren’t cars like the MDI Air Car – yes ir runs on air! – available in the US? And why hasn’t this technology been developed and offered by American car companies? I wonder.

    And as far as trucks go, they are handy for hauling and moving stuff. And anytime I’ve ever needed one on the last 40 years (not very often), I’ve always been able to borrow one (it pays to have friends with trucks!).

  22. Pardon me if somebody else has already said something similar but I’m going to go out on a limb and suggest that President Obama wasn’t talking about people who operate trucks as part of their jobs.

    I see plenty of people using trucks and large SUV’s as their daily drivers when they don’t have to. Anecdotal I know but one of my wife’s friends has a 3/4 ton Ford diesel pickup with an extended cab that they bought in place of a family sedan or mini-van because she didn’t want to “look like a soccer mom”. Hey, that’s fine and dandy but lets not bitch about how much it costs to drive the kids around in something like that shall we?

    • No, he wasn’t, but this is the same man who’s family takes separate jets on vacation.

      I don’t believe the president can manipulate gas prices, but his answer to the situation was to get a new car. Maybe that’s an option for people who drive cars as status symbols, but not for the kind of person who is hurt by a 20% increase in gas over two or three months. The Department of Energy has a website ( he could be referring us to for help ensuring we’re getting the best mileage out of the vehicles we already own, but even that website is more about choosing which new car to buy than anything else. Useful information when you’re ready to buy, but not very helpful in the meantime.

    • Same here about people using SUVs as daily drives. I have a 15 mile commute to work in a fairly suburban area – I drive into the north business district of my town. Every day I see dozens of people driving HUGE vehicles to work – with just the driver in the truck/SUV/van. If you’re using an Expedition or a Suburban or a Tundra or anything like that as your daily work commute vehicle with just you in the car, then I really don’t want to hear you complain about gas prices. You’re part of the problem.

  23. As a family who has chosen to drive only used cars, and has several cars in our household as we have 4 drivers and live in the country, we would not ever switch out a car solely because of gas mileage. If it were time to replace a car, due to age or repairs too costly, we then consider this.
    My son had a 1991 Bronco, but when the transmission went out, he bought a 90 something Acura Integra. I recenlty had to turn back in a compnay car and needed something I could drive. We bought a 99 Kia Sportage for $500. Gets great mileage, Daughter drives it mostly now as she did have a Jeep, but it is too expensive to drive on a daily basis, and is being put up for sale (bad idea to purchase in the first place!)
    It helps that hubby and son are both mechanically handy and can fix most issues on our used cars!
    I believe the late Larry Burkett said that the cheapest car you can drive is the one you already have. Obvious exceptions, but really it is true.

    • I’m with you on this. We have a 1993 Geo Metro for my hubby to drive back and forth to work as a “commuter” car. Son one has a 1995 Honda Accord that is being replaced with a 1997 Toyota something, this week. Son two has a 1996 Pontiac Grand Prix. Both kids are 18 and heading to college, one will have his car and one will leave his at home to start. I have a 2006 Dodge Durango SUV. I work at home and it doesn’t get many miles. We bought it 2 years old and I love it after driving mini vans for 14 years. Filing the tank makes you blink, but, that is my sacrifice to make.

      All paid for, and my husband does 90% of all maintaince on all of them.
      wouldn’t change that for the world.

  24. I drive under 10,000 miles a year total. A15 mpg Chev truck is driven to work and for firewood cutting. A 25 mpg lincoln is driven off work. Both are Big, and Safe, and with the worst roads in the state and LOTS of accidents here, I won’t get squashed as bad in a bigger rig. Personal safety is my issue.

    Both rigs are paid for, newer, and it would not be cost efficient to buy another one as the gas savings wouldn’t pay for it for a long long long time. I don’t complain about the price of gas – it is what it is – and I am thankful that it is available. I garden, orchard, fish, clam, have venison and goose, so my grocery bill is negligible anyway.

    Rather than buy a different car, I’d quit work first – that’s where all my miles go 🙂

  25. Here’s a fun exercise: Figure out the sales tax hit on the replacement car you have in mind and then divide that figure by 4 or 5 or 6 and you’ll see how much gas you can buy for your comfortable truck. I’ll bet the number will surprise you, in a good way. For advanced frugal fun, don’t forget to include the amount you’d still be spending on gas for the next car, even if it is more fuel efficient.

    One of my favorite frugal hacks it to do this with every new (or used) car that catches my eye. I then translate that figure into equivalent travel dollars and the urge passes.

    My parents just bought a brand new Camry. Their old one was just getting broken in with 153k miles on it when it was totaled. They got a pretty good deal, but the CA sales tax was $2500! Not to mention license, registration, higher insurance costs, etc.

    • Sales tax, on cars???
      Guess we don’t have that here???
      But the state income tax will kill ya 🙁

      Agree with you tho on the calculations…. figure a year’s mileage, take the difference between the cost of gas for both… always comes out interesting.

    • 7% sales tax on a car purchase in Indiana, new or used. Just like buying anything else.
      Plates? Several hundred dollars a year, based on age/value, due to excise tax – our 2008 Trailblazer is $210, the 2003 PT Cruiser is $75 or so.

      • Yearly plates in Kansas? 2005 car? $380. 2001 truck? $300. Our 1990 boat? $160.
        The vehicles in my house cost us well over $2500 a year to tag and insure. So much for moving to the Midwest to save on taxes. BUT—the state is solvent.

        • Wow! I thought Indiana was among the worst for plates…Kansas wins, and it’s not even close.
          Are the plates all due at the same time? That would be a like making an extra mortgage payment that month. Here, it is by the first letter of your last name, for example A-C in Feb, D-F in Mar, etc etc. Not sure if that’s the exact break down, but you get the idea.

  26. Although I own two old Hondas (16 & 14 yrs. old), I have no intention of getting a newer or smaller car just for gas mpg. It would take years to break even. The amount of driving my wife and I do only adds roughly $25 additional per month.

  27. I’m not going to specifically replace either of my vehicles due to gas prices (2008 Trailblazer, 2003 PT Cruiser) due to gas prices, but what I AM going to do is when I pass on the PT Cruiser to daughter #1 in about 4 years, I’ll be getting a 2-3 year old small sedan (Corolla, Cruze, Civic, etc) to take the PT Cruiser’s place as my ‘to and from work’ vehicle (22 miles each way, mix of highway/suburban driving).

  28. I bought Honda Civic for good gas mileage exactly. I do understand those who have a fully paid truck and they use it for what truck is (and not plenty of those who use it for need once a century, and as a car to get to work and shopping the rest of the year). Also, I take a bus to work (thanks, UT!), or run (thanks, me!). My bigger concern is that with gas prices rising so are the prices for grocery. When I came to US, milk was under a dollar (and so was a gallon of gas). It does make sense. It does suck. Truck or not…

  29. I have big SUV’s and hate filling them up, but they are paid for and my overall cost to drive them per yr is less than if I were to buy smaller sedan with better mileage. I need the 3rd row for the family, carpool, and DIY projects. We do what we can to conserve gas with the usual techniques…. group errands, don’t speed…. I would be worse off with a new car, higher insurance premiums and $4.16/gal gas than my current situation.

  30. I’ve had a Honda Civic GX for the last 4 years. I haven’t burned a drop of gasoline in 4 years. It’s all CNG. 100% North American Natural Gas. Nothing from the middle east at all. I currently pay anywhere from $1.28 up to about $2.31 per gallon. The place that is the cheapest just lowered their price a couple of weeks ago by $0.08. It’s clean, it’s cheap, I drive in the car pool lane by myself (you can still get the stickers in CA with this car, unlike the hybrids), and my gas bill for the month is rarely more than $80-100. I drive about 20,000 miles a year in this car, too. Best car for the money I’ve ever had. You can check them out at

  31. Let’s use $2.50 per gallon as a baseline. If you drive 15,000 miles per year with a vehicle that averages 20 miles per gallon, you annual fuel cost is $1,875 (if gas is $2.50/gallon). Each $0.50 increase in the price of gas costs you $375 more per year. Thus, fuel at $4.50 per gallon costs you $1,500 more per year. The cost increase is linear. That’s the going in number you need to use before deciding to buy a new vehicle in response to higher gas prices.

    Another way to look at it is in terms of miles per gallon for a given gas price. If gas is $4 per gallon, you drive 15,000 miles per year, and your vehicle averages 20 miles per gallon, your annual fuel cost is $3000. In this case, the cost savings relative to MPG is not linear. At 10 MPG, it costs you $6,000 per year ($3000 more than a vehicle w/ 20 MPG); 30 mpg costs $2000 per year, 40 mpg $1500 per year. This shows that if you have a really low MPG vehicle, it might make sense to purchase something that has 20 mpg or better. If you’re already driving something with 20 mpg or greater, the returns are diminishing. New vehicle costs, to include purchase price, taxes, etc may not be worth it.

    Run the number for yourself and see what makes the most sense.

  32. My car is only 2 years old so I wont be replacing it anytime soon, however I anticipated higher gas prices at some point, so I made sure I got a car with 30mpg…and I look forward to further improvements when its time to car shop again.

  33. Just thought I’d mention that I’ve seen regular 87 octane gasoline at $4.55 at a local gas station in my area. I live in Los Angeles. The average price here is $4.16. What used to cost only $21 to fill my Civic’s tank now costs double that most of the time.


  34. Ummmm…spending a hunch of money to maybe save some down the road? No. This is silly. Frankly if your budget – even a business budget with that work truck you mention – is such that an incremental few hundred dollars a year is a budget buster (and that’s all we are talking about here) you have things structured wrongly.

    I bike a lot. I drive less than 4K a year. I work from home and am self-employed. The gas prices only affect my airfare, which is a client reimbursable.

  35. Big doesn’t mean a fuel hog. We have SUVs in Europe too, but the engines are not that big as these here in the US. You don’t have to drive a Mini to have a small engine, you just need to get a decent car with a decent engine, not these huge fuel eaters you guys drive. Weird thing, most trucks made for Europe or any other big cars come with smaller engines and, if you’re not towing your house daily, you actually don’t need a huge engine anyway.

    When we buy a car in Europe, first thing we want to know is “how much it consumes”. Not horse power, not anything. If it’s a resource hog, we just don’t buy it.

    My small Opel Corsa “eats” 6 liters/100 km, thats 39.202 miles/gallon in your country. My BF’s car, an Opel Astra combi (bigger card) has an even smaller consumption.

    So, downsizing won’t be such a bad idea 😀

  36. I love reading this article. I consider my car an investment so replacements isn’t on my to do list. I could reduce the use of my car lets say instead of using it for a week, 3x a week may do then just commute on the 2 days.

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  37. We are getting rid our our Durango and getting a more fuel efficient SUV. I know fuel efficient and SUV don’t go in the same sentence, but we need one for hauling bikes, heading to the mountain for snowboarding and crossing passes to visit family. I figure we can get better than 10mpg with anything other than a Durango. Gonna miss my Durango though.

  38. @dcsais – How can you consider something that loses value an “investment”. I’ve never understood that. A car is not an investment. It will never be worth more than you paid for it. It will never gain value. It will always be losing value to the point that it’s worth less than it costs to maintain it.

    Personally? I just bought a car (used, for cash, although my next car will be new for reasons I’ve already blogged about). It’s a mid-sized car and gets reasonable mileage so I’m ok with it. I am seriously considering getting a scooter or a motorcycle for errands and around town stuff on good-weather days. It would be very inexpensive to license and insure a small scooter where I live and would save me some money – as well as being fun! 🙂

  39. Just purchased a used 2010 Subaru Outback (4 cyl AWD)and sold our 2001 Maxima with 170k miles to daughter. I’m lovin the 28 city 31 hwy MPG I have been getting with the Outback. We needed something that could handle the gravel road on our weekend farm, yet give us the ability to haul stuff. Added bonus it works great hauling our bikes and canoe when needed. IMHO we here in the states are addicted to our vehicles and no matter how high gas gets people will continue with what suits them.

  40. A car is NOT an investment. It is a quickly-depreciating asset. I have bought just two cars in my life (and I am almost 50). For cash. I would never consider it an investment of any kind. It is a tool, and I plan to buy as few cars in my life as I can get away with. My last car had 160K miles when I traded it in, and I expect this one will have at least 200K miles. I wouldn’t buy another on a whim just because gas prices rise a bit.

  41. I recently read that manufacturing a new car represents about 10% of the total lifetime energy consumption of the car (mining raw material, processing, parts manufacturing, assembly, etc. added to the actual gas usage ) and that some of the materials needed to build newer, more energy efficient cars can be slighly higher (need to use virgin materials was (I believe but don’t quote me) the reason. That 10% was based on a calculation of a 120K mile life of the car. I figure the longer I drive my car, I am lowering that manufacturing energy consumption percent and doing my part for the planet. I do not drive a horrible car but not great either…25mpg…but since I drive only about 10K miles per year, the gas prices would have to raise substantially for me to spend another $25K to replace my paid for, 48K mile, used car that was manufactured just 6 years ago and has tons of useful life left in it. I consciously bought car with a high safety rating and decent mpgs that would be big enough to haul the gear needed with infant twins.

    So no, I won’t be buying anything new. Just monitoring my driving use.

  42. I get a little irritated when people tell you that you should downgrade to a car when you have a truck. For many of us it’s not always that simple. I’m a single gal, supporting myself on a very tight budget. I had a very bad accident in 09 that totaled my vehicle at the time. When it was time to replace that vehicle, because my credit is really bad I had to go to a dealer that specializes in selling cars to people with bad credit. If I had the money at the time I would’ve bought a hybrid without a doubt but my bad credit and minimal down payment negated that option for me.
    I’m only halfway thru my payments, switching to another car with this dealership isn’t an option and saving for another down payment is easier said than done on my income/available funds after other bills. It would take me at least a year to save for another down payment on top of trying to set money aside for my emergency fund. The job market is very iffy and I’m trying to get rid of my debt as quickly as possible in case my job situation changes. At this point in time I can’t justify trying to switch to something smaller/hybrid and increasing/extending out my auto loan debt another 3-4 years to try and save on gas. I won’t go into all of the reason why I have a truck, granted a smaller suv, everyone has their reason why they have their particular vehicle. Until gas prices settle down I’m making do without in many areas and traveling a lot less to save on gas money. Running out and buying a smaller vehicle or hybrid isn’t an option for everyone…no matter how much gas prices climb. Instead of telling everyone to go out and buy a smaller car why not put our top engineers to work (job creation) on an economical way that everyone can afford that would convert the current vehicles everyone owns to be more fuel efficient?

  43. When gas prices rose so high in 2008, my boyfriend (now husband) and I each bought a 400 cc scooter (Suzuki Burgmans). The minimum monthly payment was $125 but we each paid them off faster than that. I’m glad we got them. I still have mine; his was actually stolen and he replaced it with a 650 cc model. Mine gets around 65 mpg in the city; his gets 50 mpg. They have lots of storage under the seat, and we’re creative with bungie straps when we need to haul something on the passenger seat. I’m sure they’ve saved us a ton of gas. He had (has) an 11-yr-old Nissan truck that gets about 20 mpg on a good day. I had a 12-yr-old Isuzu Rodeo (midsize SUV) that also struggled to get 20 mpg in the city. It started having mechanical problems, so we decided it was time for a new car. I replaced it with a Kia Soul. It gets 28 mpg in the city. We couldn’t afford the cars that got better gas mileage; we had sticker shock big time, too. I like the car okay; I miss sitting up high and I miss the power of the V6 in my Rodeo. But I don’t miss it at the gas pump. If I had it to do over, I might reconsider paying more for a vehicle that still had some power and got better gas mileage. If money were no object, I’d love a hybrid SUV.

    Incidentally, before the Rodeo, I had a Honda CRX–it got 54 mpg. 54!! Why can’t they make a car like that any more?

  44. To all the people who have 100,000 miles on their vehicles and are thinking that their vehicle is worn out and now that gas is so high it would be a perfect time to trade for another one, Google the words “Volvo 2.6 million miles”. Oh by the way, the Volvo owner uses the same engine oil as I use-Castrol.

  45. Just sold my 08 Honda fit sport today. We thought it would be our retirement car but wife hated the feeling of everyone ignoring her and would rather drive the saturn Vue. Honda only had a little over 8100 miles on it. It was a waste of money for us as we never used it. I am driving my 94 Honda del Sol still with 242000 miles on it.

  46. I’m 6’6″ and drive around in a Prius. Oh no, I look funny! I’m fine with that since I’m getting 45 mpg.