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Tips for Buying a Car for Better Gas Mileage

Updated on July 6, 2012

There is question that gas prices will go up. They go up, level off, we get use to it, then go up again and so on. They seldom go down much. With that in mind, many are looking to buy smaller better MPG cars especially for commuters.

As a general rule, the smaller the engine, the less horsepower and better MPG. Cars with a 1.6L or 1.8L engines get much better gas mileage 25(city)\35 (highway). These are usually smaller cars with less cargo area. Cars using a 2.0L to 2.5L engine are mostly medium sized and have a good size cargo area around 16 cubic ft (except wagons with 40 cu. ft.). The former cars have around 11 cubic feet. The medium sized cars can easily be the main family car, whether it is a coupe (2 door) or sedan(4 door). Cars having engines from 2.8L or more, are much larger cars\wagons, while you have much more horsepower to horse around with but you will notice the MPG drop to 18\23.

It comes down to how far you are driving daily round trip, do you need cargo space, is horsepower more important than MPG and car size. Simple math helps. Lets say, you commute 80 miles round trip (not uncommon). A car with 35 MPG will cost $8 a day. Driving a car with 23 MPG costs $13, while a car with 30 MPG, is $10. Cost per month just for gas for the 23 MPG car is $230, $200 for the 30MPG car, and $160 for the 35 MPG.

It also comes down to how much you earn and other monthly bills as to whether you can afford a higher gas bill just to get to and from work. Maybe, paying $230 is nothing to your income.

The top selling cars that are medium sized and all have very similar dimensions and cargo area are the Toyota Corolla (26\34 MPG), VW Jetta (22\30MPG), Honda Civic (26\34 MPG), Mazda 3 and 6 (22\29 MPG). The Corolla uses a 1.8L, Jetta has a 2.5L, Mazda 3, a 2.3L. of these, the Corolla, Jetta, Mazda 6 have 16. cu ft. of cargo area, the others 11-12 cu. ft. The Subaru Outback wagon has a 2.5L, but has only 20\24 MPG and over 40 cu, ft of cargo.

The future we know...we know gas will only go up in the long run, so before there is another big spike, consider downsizing. If you wait, the better MPG car prices will rise when the spike happens.


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    • imkd profile image

      imkd 6 years ago

      buying a used car is a headache task. we have to check everything. thanks for the recommended information to check on car.

    • perrya profile image

      perrya 6 years ago

      Thanks, it can be a determining factor.

    • Millionaire Tips profile image

      Shasta Matova 6 years ago from USA

      It is smart to think about the cost of your commute when you decide on which car to buy. Very useful info here.