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Time to Get Rid of Your Gas Guzzler? Tips for Getting the Best Deal on a New Car


(ARA) - With gas prices hovering around $3 a gallon, it might pay to invest in a new, more fuel-efficient car, even if you were hoping to eke out another year or two with your current model. If you drive 15,000 miles a year, a car that gets 40 miles to a gallon vs. 20 miles to a gallon can save you more than $900 annually in gas costs when gas is $2.50 a gallon.

Before you hit the showrooms, a little research can help you focus your sights on cars that are fuel-efficient choices. “You’ll also want to evaluate your financing options to make sure you save on car payments as well as on gas,” says Maxine Sweet, vice president of public education for Experian.

Hybrid or Traditional?

Hybrid cars, those that run on a combination of gas and electricity, have been grabbing headlines. Demand for hybrids currently outpaces supply, so if you decide to go this route, you may find that dealers don’t feel the need to negotiate on price, and chances are good you’ll be on a waiting list for available vehicles.

If you don’t want to wait, or don’t want to pay full price, don’t despair. There are plenty of other fuel-efficient cars out there. A good place to start is www.fueleconomy.gov, where you’ll find mileage and emissions ratings from the Environmental Protection Agency for any car which may interest you.

Here are some other factors to consider as you shop:

* The smaller the engine, the better the gas mileage, so consider cars with four-cylinder engines. Your purchase price will be cheaper, and you’ll save money on gas.

* In the same vein, the smaller the car, the better the gas mileage. If you need a pickup truck or an SUV, then shop within those constraints. But if you don’t haul anything or do any off-road driving, a smaller, more gas-efficient car is a more rational choice.

* Standard transmissions get better gas mileage in highway driving, but may not be the best option if you do a lot of stop-and-go city driving.

Getting the Best Deal on Financing

Making a smart financial choice in buying your car is just as important as choosing the right model. Be sure to ask about any special promotions the dealer or manufacturer is offering, such as 0 percent financing. Otherwise, chances are the interest rate the dealer will offer you will be higher than what you could get through a bank or credit union. “If you’re not getting a special deal, you may be better off arranging your own loan,” notes Sweet. “This is where knowing your credit situation comes in handy - the better your credit history, the better rate for which you will qualify.”

An easy way to check your credit is to log onto www.experian.com. You’ll get quick and easy access to your credit report and a credit score to help you learn what positive and negative factors are affecting your credit risk, as well as find out what lenders will see when they review your credit. “You don’t want to be ready to seal the deal only to find out that you don’t qualify for financing,” says Sweet.

As you ride off into the sunset knowing you’re getting great gas mileage and the best financing rate, you’ll be glad you did your homework before buying your new car.


For more information on checking your credit report, as well as information to help you understand, manage and protect your personal credit profile, visit www.experian.com.

Courtesy of ARA Content