Survey: Fuel Economy The Leading Consideration In Picking A Car

While I have an affection for cars with after-market, clumsily welded spoilers, it appears I am in the minority, as a new survey by our test-driving in-laws at Consumer Reports says that fuel economy — and not undercarriage lighting — is the leading consideration for folks looking to buy a vehicle.

According to the survey, 37% of respondents put fuel economy at the top of their list, more than double the number of people (17%) who listed “quality.” Safety considerations were a close third with 16%, followed by value (14%) and performance (6%).

“These results make it clear that high fuel prices are continuing to impact driver behavior and influencing future purchase considerations,” said Jeff Bartlett, Consumer Reports deputy auto editor. “While quality, safety and value are still important, this may be foreshadowing a market shift by folks seeking relief at the pump.”

And while fewer than half the respondents put fuel economy as their primary concern, around 2/3 of them told CR they expect their next vehicle purchase will get more miles to the gallon. In addition to gas costs, being eco-friendly and reducing our dependence on foreign oil were among the top reasons for wanting a more fuel-efficient car.

73% of participants said they would at least consider buying a flex-fuel, hybrid or electric vehicle.

Though some survey participants expressed a desire to trade in their relatively new gas-guzzlers for something more fuel-efficient, CR advises that consumers do the math before rushing out to buy a new car:

When gas prices are high, it’s always tempting to rush to trade-in for a more fuel-efficient car to save at the pump. But our research has shown that you’re often better off financially to stick it out with the vehicle you have if it’s less than three years old, because a new vehicle will cost you more in depreciation than you would save on gas.

You can check out more of the report at www.ConsumerReports.org/fuel

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  1. LabanDenter says:

    What people say, vs what people buy.

    Huge difference.

    • mister_roboto says:

      +1K

    • Hi_Hello says:

      +1

    • Coffee says:

      Not so sure about that…I was looking at car prices this past weekend, and used small to mid-sized cars were going for about the same price as SUVs…this is probably because the demand for the latter has waned to the point that dealerships are having trouble moving them.

    • bluline says:

      I doubt it. If I was in the market for a car my first concern would be fuel economy. As it is, I drive a 2001 Camry with only 84,000 miles on it, and it gets good mileage and should last another 10 years based on the amount of driving I do. And even then I’ll probably opt for a decent used car over a brand-new one.

      • Costner says:

        You do understand you aren’t representative of a larger population right? You might also prefer the color blue, but it doesn’t mean blue vehicles are the top sellers.

        What people buy is a huge factor… and based upon the actual numbers it is clear fuel economy is NOT the number one concern when the number one vehicle sold in the US is a Ford F150, and when the Chevy Silverado sells more units than the Toyota Prius.

        http://www.mercurynews.com/cars/ci_20596725/top-10-best-selling-cars-april-2012

        • bhr says:

          Just because the F150 is the top seller doesn’t mean that fuel wasn’t a leading consideration.

          When I bought my current car I definitely considered fuel mileage. I knew what class I was going for, and the next consideration was MPG. If you look at the factors they list it isn’t things like usage.

          Just because everyone doesn’t spend the premium for a hybrid or flex vehicle doesn’t mean they don’t care about gas mileage.

          The new hatchbacks and small cars out there now (Fit, Fiesta) get great mileage.

          • Costner says:

            Ah but they specifically state that fuel economy is “the leading consideration”. Not one of the leading considerations… THE leading consideration.

            If that were actually true, we should see at least the top several spots filled by econoboxes that get 45+mph. We don’t. Even the cars that are the top sellers are not the most fuel efficient, so clearly there is another consideration that most people put ahead of fuel economy. Maybe it is comfort, perhaps it is size, maybe it is safety… but it seems clear what people say and what they do are two different things.

            • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

              I disagree with your assessment, though you still make a good point.

              Some people may have fuel economy as the leading consideration, but that doesn’t mean they don’t sacrifice that a bit for other needs.

              Quoting the F150 numbers doesn’t really “prove” your claim. That is one car against hundreds. If F150 constitued 50% of all car sales then you would have an argument.

              • Costner says:

                I made a post farther down that sort of expands upon this… even when you look at cars like the Camry which are offered in Hybrid form, people still don’t treat fuel economy as their primary consideration. I’m sure it is a factor, but thing like cost and value seem to be winning out in the end.

          • George4478 says:

            Even you point out that fuel economy was not your leading concern, but rather “class of car” was.

            When I replaced my Ford Explorer last year, my top concerns were: carrying capacity similar to the Explorer, followed by price, driving comfort, and reliability. The first two narrowed the field for the test drives and the last two isolated the specific model.

            Fuel economy was irrelevant.

      • OutPastPluto says:

        If your first concern was really fuel economy, you would be getting a Smart Car.

        Clearly, there are other more important things influencing your decision. The ability to survive a crash on the highway probably ranks high among them.

        Answering “fuel economy” helps you sound thoughtful. Although it’s probably nonsense. You might not even realize that you’re kidding yourself.

        • maxamus2 says:

          Smart Car??? First of all, you do realize you have to use premium gas in them, right? So that whacks 10% off any mileage as premium costs 10% more.

          And they only get very low 40s in MPG and are a pricey car considering they are only two passenger with almost no room for storage.

          Smart Cars are very dumb.

          • GreatWhiteNorth says:

            I agree… smart cars made sense when they first came to North America (Canada had them) and were available only with diesel engines. Gasoline Smart cars don’t cut it.

            Also, although fuel economy may be the first criteria that does not mean safety, comfort, good design are not considered at all.

        • tbax929 says:

          Get a Smart Car for fuel economy? That’s some horrible advice right there!

        • bluline says:

          Clearly you didn’t read the first words of my post, which stated, “If I was in the market for a car…”

  2. That guy. says:

    And while fewer than half the respondents put fuel economy as their primary concern, around 2/3 of them told CR they expect their next vehicle purchase will get more miles to the gallon.

    That is just the general direction the technology is going anyway. If you drive X vehcile (say, a Honda Accord), the next generation will get better fuel economy (typically). So unless they change vehicle type, like to an SUV, it’s a good chance they will get better fuel economy.

    • philpm says:

      That is just the general direction the technology is going anyway. If you drive X vehcile (say, a Honda Accord), the next generation will get better fuel economy (typically).

      You’d expect that to be the case, but in car shopping over the last several years, that’s not been my experience. The Hondas and Toyotas especially that I’ve checked out have over that time have worse gas mileage than the 10-year-old Sentra that I just got rid of, and that includes things like the Civics and Accords with comparable engines and features. That said, I just bought a new Subaru Impreza last week, and 30 MPG on our first tank of gas in a brand new AWD car was damn nice.

      • unpolloloco says:

        Cars 10 years ago (especially 20 years ago) were much smaller compared to their counterparts today. A midsize in the 90s = a compact today, In fact, the compact today probably weighs more too due to increasing safety standards and demand.

        • That guy. says:

          That seems to be the case, cars getting heavier due to safety features. Something like a CRX wouldn’t be released now. But I’d think last gen’s vehicles (what someone who would buy new would currently have) would be getting less MPG than whatever comes out right after that. Like going from a 2008 to a 2012.

        • uh2l says:

          I agree. I always say that as Americans have gotten fatter so have our cars.

  3. Hi_Hello says:

    they should do a survey on why people bought their current car.

  4. rockelscorcho says:

    so logic may, perhaps, possibly, be winning against emotion..finally?!????

  5. wadexyz says:

    I find it hard to believe the posted MPG ratings that the manufacturer quote…..especially the domestics. The gov’t posts their results on a web site and I noticed huge differences than the advertised rate. But I can’t say I fully understand what’s going on there.

    • BurtReynolds says:

      In my recent car research it varies. I check fueleconomy.gov and look at the section where owners report their mileage. For popular fuel sippers like a Prius, there are a good number of people reporting. I’ve also checked forums for owners, they aren’t hard to find.

      My take is that vehicles that rely on transmission gearing and/or cylinder deactivation systems tend to disappoint. The Hyundai Sonata/Elantra both have 6ATs that are geared to maximize fuel economy on the EPA cycle. The problem is, no one drives like that, and when you don’t you get closer to 30 than 40mpg. Same with the Honda Pilot, which has a cylinder deactivation system. Hardly anyone seems to be getting the EPA mileage on that truck, probably because they don’t drive in a way that maximizes the potential of the cylinder deactivation system. Meanwhile the Subaru Outback is pretty straightfoward, although it uses a CVT, and most reports I see indicate it does as well or better than EPA, especially on the highway.

  6. Costner says:

    BS. Check out the sales of full size trucks and SUVs versus economy cars. There is much more to the story. For instance the Chevy Silverado is more popular than a Toyota Prius…. and that doesn’t even factor in the fact that the GMC truck is the twin. The Ford F150 is the highest selling vehicle in the country selling about twice as many units as a Prius.

    http://www.mercurynews.com/cars/ci_20596725/top-10-best-selling-cars-april-2012

    If fuel economy was really the top priority, you would have Chevy Sonics selling better than Honda CRVs and Toyota Corollas selling better than F150s. But you don’t.

    Lifestyle, and even style / looks come ahead of fuel economy when pen is put to paper. People may claim they are concerned about fuel economy, but in truth that continues to be a “nice to have” feature rather than a true selling point.

    • crispyduck13 says:

      I also believe that utility comes first for most people shopping for a car, mpg always second. Most people aren’t going out to a car lot without knowing whether they’re after a pickup truck or a sub-compact. Maybe this survey still stands as the leading consideration within a vehicle type.

    • majortom1981 says:

      It depends on the area. Here on long island with the road with the most traffic in the US(yes even beats los angeles) the prius is the most popular because it gets you single rider HOV lane access.

      • Costner says:

        I agree – I’m sure there are a lot of regional issues at play, but of course they tend to lump everyone together.

        Where I’m located, there are no HOV lanes or carpool lanes or tolls and the average commute to work is under 15 miles and under 20 minutes. I imagine those in Northern Minnesota are probably concerned with having AWD to deal with snow, and those in the plains of Nebraska are probably concerned with how big the tank is (which prevents them from purchasing an all electric due to range limitations).

        Another interesting point would be to see the differences between people buying the only car, versus those buying a second car. If you are married and already own a SUV or truck for going to Home Depot on the weekends, then maybe a economy car is a better idea. However if you can only have one vehicle, it might preclude you from a small car if you are a sportsman who wants to go hunting, or if you like to pull a boat, or if you tend to need to haul a lot of stuff and/or a lot of people etc.

    • who? says:

      I’m reading a different article than you are, apparently. 8 of the 10 cars on your list are either small or mid size cars that get 25mpg or better, including the CR-V, which gets 26mpg combined. Compare that to 2005, when 4 of the top 10 were either big trucks or big SUV’s.

      • Costner says:

        I think the point is, if fuel economy was really the number one consideration for people buying new cars, you might expect subcompacts and hybrids to be selling better than full size trucks or even small SUVs.

        Cars (of all types) will always sell well because they fit the lifestyle of such a wide range of people, but trucks and SUVs are still selling very, very well. Maybe they aren’t selling as well as they did five years ago, but trucks are still immensely popular.

        Plus, many of the top selling cars aren’t leading their classes in fuel economy. The Toyota Camry and Honda Accords are very popular, but you can do a lot better if you are putting fuel economy at the top of your list. A Volkswagon Jetta, Hyundai Sonata, and Ford Fiesta all do better… but none of them are found on the best sellers list.

        I have no doubt fuel economy is a consideration… it likely is for most people. But the top consideration? The data simply doesn’t support that statement.

        • who? says:

          37% of people put fuel economy at the top of the list of multiple factors that they used when choosing a car. I don’t see anything in the article or the headline saying that fuel economy is the *only* criteria people use when choosing cars. That statement fits perfectly well with the list of cars in the top 10 list you posted. The bulk of the cars on the list get pretty good gas mileage, certainly better than the list would be if people didn’t actually care about gas mileage.

          Anecdotally, if I look in the parking lot where my mostly middle class and upper middle class suburban coworkers park, I now see mostly small and mid-size cars and small SUV’s, instead of the large SUV’s that filled the lot when I started working there a few years ago.

          • Costner says:

            Anecdotal evidence is interesting, but hardly sufficient to support a claim.

            The fact is the post says fuel economy is “the leading consideration”, but available sales data doesn’t support that theory.

            For example, lets look at the top selling truck in the nation (which again sells at a rate twice that of a Toyota Prius). The Ford F150 offers several engine choices, but the most fuel efficient choice is the 3.7L V6 which gets 16 city and 21 highway on the 4×4 truck. Now at the other end of the spectrum you have a 6.2L V8 which gets 12 city and 16 highway.

            You might think if fuel economy was the leading consideration for people, that the V6 would sell in quantities far greater than the V8, but the reality is the most popular engine choice for F150s (based upon what I’ve recently read) is the 3.5L V6 Ecoboost, followed by the 5.0L V8. So this means the smaller more fuel efficient V6 isn’t even in the top two.

            So from this data, coupled with the sales data overall, we can determine that fuel economy really isn’t as important as they would have us believe. It seems obvious that not only are people choosing vehicles that aren’t particular great on gas, but when given the choice they are actually choosing more powerful vehicles with larger engines as well. Part of this is due to cost, but part of it is likely due to usage (in a truck, towing and hauling capacity may be a factor).

            It not suggesting fuel economy isn’t a factor at all… but to say it is the leading consideration? Again I don’t think the data supports that. I have no doubt people say that it is a leading consideration…. but I don’t believe those same people follow-thru with that when it comes time to buy an actual vehicle.

            You can replace the F150 with many of the other cars in the list and fine the same scenario. Look at the Camry… they offer a 4 cylinder that gets 25/35, a V6 that gets 21/30 and a hybrid which gets 40/38. Same car – same safety features, same interiors, same styling… yet the hybrid is the least popular engine choice.

            So again, it isn’t that fuel economy isn’t important, but clearly people are looking at things like value and performance – and the sale figure show those tend to trump fuel economy when you get right down to it. If fuel economy was in fact the leading consideration, we should see a lot more 4 cylinder engines than we do larger V6s and V8s… even when offered in the same vehicles.

        • OutPastPluto says:

          Fiesta versus Accord? Really? Are you kidding?

          Of course this bolsters the idea that people look to something other than fuel economy when choosing a car. Things like reliability, crash test ratings and engine power are likely to be prominent considerations.

    • TheMansfieldMauler says:

      I agree. I’m probably in the minority on this, but I don’t know many people for whom towing capacity isn’t a factor in many of their new vehicle decisions. I’m sure it’s a regional and lifestyle thing, but still…it doesn’t matter how great the gas mileage is if it can’t tow your boat/camper/flatbed/utility trailer/horse trailer/etc.

    • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

      So you’re sayign this study is wrong, because you found another study that involves the same subject but not the exact same data?

      Apple and Oranges. Both fruit, both not the same.

      • Costner says:

        I’m not saying the study is “wrong” as they reported what people told them. So in that respect the study / survey is accurate. I merely disagree with the statement that fuel economy is the primary factor people use to determine what to purchase. The sales data for vehicles coupled with the engine choices consumers make show us that fuel economy is still not the primary factor for most people.

  7. crispyduck13 says:

    “While I have an affection for cars with after-market, clumsily welded spoilers, it appears I am in the minority, as a new survey by our test-driving in-laws at Consumer Reports says that fuel economy — and not undercarriage lighting — is the leading consideration for folks looking to buy a vehicle.”

    I quite literally do not understand what this paragraph has to do with the CR survey results. It also doesn’t make any sense as a standalone statement.

    • axhandler1 says:

      Think “The Fast and the Furious” and imagine the author of this post, Chris, injecting a little humor into his writing.

      • crispyduck13 says:

        I get what he was doing, it was just so unsuccessful and ridiculous I had to call him out on it. I am involved in that industry, so maybe I’m being overly sensitive. **Rant Alert!!**

        The reality is, there has never been a time when stupid little gadgets like “undercarriage lighting” were main selling points. He was trying to lead in like that had been a thing at some point and that is now shifting, which is false. Since shit like that is illegal in many states, it just came off as lazy to me.

        Also, most of the little “ricer” cars everyone makes fun of are extremely fuel efficient. A properly tuned turbo 4-cylinder will be more efficient than the same engine left stock (under similar driving conditions of course). The point there is that aftermarket performance work and fuel efficiency should not be mutually exclusive if done properly.

  8. majortom1981 says:

    MY next car will be a prius for 2 reasons. Gas milage and HOV lane access. I live in a condo so I cannot get an electric vehicle . I also drive 30 miles each way to work. Here in NY The prius gets you HOV lane access with one rider. On long island thats a huge perk.

    Now this wont happen till my 2004 corolla falls apart though.

    • Rachacha says:

      Just be careful. In DC, Hybrids were given access to HOV lanes until January 2013. Unfortunately, there are alot of people who are purchasing hybrids to take advantage of HOV roads into DC, but they only have another 6 months to take advantage.

  9. Difdi says:

    When most people in the U.S. say they want a fuel-efficient vehicle above everything else, they’re actually lying by omission. What they actually mean is that they want the most fuel efficient powerful/fast vehicle available.

    If you’re willing to accept a vehicle with a 50mph top speed, you can get one that gets over 100 mpg. If you can tolerate a 30mph top speed, you can hit 200+ mpg. But nobody wants those.

    • Mark702 says:

      True. I’ve seen those aerodynamic soap box style cars with solar power added on that get 500 mpg, but you’d die in 5 seconds on the streets.

  10. BurtReynolds says:

    I’m shopping right now, and really don’t care mostly because my wife has a short commute. Plus, chances are it won’t be worse than the SUV it is replacing and the vehicle can only be so small to fit my needs. Capacity, features, and price are more important.

    It just happens the vehicle we are leaning towards, a Subaru Outback, gets better mileage (even with the H6) than the SUVs we are comparing it to.

    Now if I were replacing my Civic, which sees 90 miles a day from commuting, it would definitely matter. Bad gas mileage could bankrupt me with that car.

    • bhr says:

      A family member bought the 2012 Outback 2.5i Premium and loves it. She moved from a Camry and is getting about the same gas mileage (a little worse) but loves the AWD and the extra cargo space.

      Personally, I’m getting about 30ish mpg in my Equinox, and very happy with it (one repair issue so far in 66k miles, and that was minor)

  11. sirwired says:

    In other news, people that answer consumer surveys are filthy liars.

    If these responses were in any way true, SUV’s would not be the most popular category of vehicle in the US; the far more fuel efficient and practical (for most consumers) Station Wagon, would be kicking their butt.

    People prioritize two things at the top: How a vehicle looks, and how it makes them feel about themselves. The rest is just after-the-fact justification for their choice.

    • crispyduck13 says:

      Not many new station wagons offered these days. It sucks because you’re right, it is the more logical choice for most consumers.

    • Costner says:

      True. Wagons fit the needs of many more people than SUVs, but they simply don’t sell well in the US for some reason. Even Subaru acknowledged this when they decided to market the Outback as a SUV rather than a wagon (which I would argue it actually is).

      I’m guilty myself – I own a Honda Pilot, and although I do live in an area that gets a lot of snow in the winter, I could get by just fine with any AWD wagon. The main problem is, I just don’t like the styling of the wagons… they remind me of grocery getters whereas most SUVs just appear stronger and more capable (even in 97% of them never leave the pavement). I also like the more upright driving position afforded in a SUV, but I will admit in most cases a wagon would be a better choice…and would clearly get better fuel economy.

      Maybe in time the stigma surrounding wagons will shift and we will start to see more of them.

      • mikedt says:

        The stigma will not change any time soon, because Madison Avenue does its best to make you think SUVs are manly virile machines that real men own. Why? Because there’s still 10+ grand in profit on an SUV that you don’t find in a smaller wagon.

      • sirwired says:

        The stigma will start to melt when people like you purchase a wagon instead of wistfully talking about it. Don’t wait for “society” to approve your choice of vehicle. If a wagon is a better option for you (cheaper, safer, better gas mileage) than what is popular, then buy one. Stop just following the crowd and buying something that “looks” more capable.

        Signed,
        Proud owner of a 2004 VW Passat Wagon

        • Costner says:

          The problem(s) with that theory are as follows:

          When I bought the Pilot, it was primarily a decision made by my (now ex) wife.

          There are very, very few station wagons to choose from, and since I didn’t want a Caddilac CTS-V or a Volvo… it was difficult. I actually like the Audi A3, but it is quite a bit smaller, had a smaller engine, suffers from Audi reliability (which when compared to a Honda is horrid), and yet is more expensive.

          I’m not waiting for anyone to approve my choice in vehicles, but I can only make a choice based upon what is offered.

    • uh2l says:

      You are so right. Stationwagons and hatchbacks rule and us Americans are generally lack the self-esteem to drive a wagon even when it makes more sense. I expressed my thoughts about stationwagons and hatchbacks here…

      http://tinyurl.com/bmc4tlj

      (OK, this is the last time I’ll link out for a while. I don’t make any money with the site anyway.)

  12. mikedt says:

    Based on the new cars I drive with during a daily commute, I’d say the average American doesn’t worry too much about MPG. Sure, if SUV A gets 2-5 more MPG than SUV B that might make them buy A, but getting 15+ more miles per gallon isn’t enough yet to move them to a smaller car segment. MPG only matter within a segment. Gas would have to become $10 a gallon before the average American gets out of an SUV.

    • kosmo @ The Soap Boxers says:

      On a tangent, MPG is not a great way to measure fuel savings, since an increase of 1 MPG saves a different amount of gas depending on where you are in the continuum.

      For instance, lets say you drive 10K miles per year.

      Scenario A: You trade in a vehicle that gets 10 MPG for one that gets 15 MPG
      Scenario B: You trade in a vehicle that gets 20 MPG for one that gets 50 MPG

      Which scenario will save the most gas? The knee jerk reaction is B, but the correct answer is A. Scenario A reduces fuel usage from 1000 gallons/year to 667 (savings of 333) while scenario B reduces usage from 500 to 200 (savings of 300).

      GPM is a more straightforward measure of savings
      Scenario A goes from 0.1 to .067, a savings of .033
      Scenario B goes from 0.05 to 0.02, a savings of .030

      • TouchMyMonkey says:

        What if you traded a car that got 10 MPG for a car that got 50 MPG? You are assuming that the driver of the 10 MPG gas hog bought it because he actually needed it, as opposed to being seen driving it.

        • kosmo @ The Soap Boxers says:

          That would be great. I’m certainly not advocating against that.

          My point was that I see “savings of X mpg” get tossed around as if it’s a standard measure of fuel economy savings, and it’s not. MPG is really the inverse of the consumption rate, but it’s far more widely used than GPM. Going from1 MPG to 6 MPG is huge; going from 995 MPG to 1000 MPG has minimal impact – even though both are increasing fuel economy by 5 MPG.

  13. There's room to move as a fry cook says:

    I’m more concerned with safety and finding the sweet spot that is safety/economy. I don’t want to be in car that is 90% crumple zone. A small car may have a 5 star safety rating but that rating is only against be hit by another car of similar mass – not against being hit by a heavier SUV.

  14. ferozadh says:

    Fuel Economy is not increasing exponentially. Population is. We will run out of it eventually no matter what we do. I say the sooner we do the more urgent the call for alternatives will be.

  15. Hungry Dog says:

    I went from a quad cab Dakota to a Hyundai Elantra and have not looked back. It has saved me so much in gas from the drill weekend drives and going to college almost every day.

    • kosmo @ The Soap Boxers says:

      I like my Elantra. It’s a 2007 that had 66K miles when I got it last summer. Up over 80K now (70+ mile round trip commute). I get 35 mpg out of it pretty easily (mostly highway, but a lot of it 70 mph) and 37-39 on longer trips.

    • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

      Got an Elantra hatchback, and the extra carrying space and fuel economy have paid for itself many times over.

      I couldn’t count how many Home Depot runs that thing has championed after always getting looks from employees or my own fiance that it couldn’t possibly fit…then it fits.

  16. texanman says:

    When I was shopping for a New car a few weeks ago I picked out a manual tran 2013 Hyundai Elantra. I had a 1994 honda accord that was slowly falling apart and I didn’t have the time to baby sit it to make sure it stays together. The Elantra appealed to me because of the est MPG..thats right ESTAMATED epa mpg. In real life your probability get less then that. For example my car is rated for 29/40 city/highway. However I get about a avg of 36-38 on highway

  17. Mark702 says:

    You’re better off getting an average car in the 25mpg range for under $5K and putting the rest of the money towards gas. It doesn’t reduce carbon emissions or boost your MPG, but you’re saving an easy $10K to $15K compared to buying a Prius or some other hybrid.

  18. rdaex says:

    Ugh… this makes me sad for the future of automobiles. How the vehicle DRIVES should be more important than 1-2MPG more… jeez.
    If it feels like driving a bar of soap, whats the point.. take a bus so you dont have to be involved.

    Also, teach your children to drive stick people

    • One-Eyed Jack says:

      Where are we driving the stick people to?

      (And I am glad to drive stick! Two-car family, both are manual transmissions.)

  19. john says:

    If the car you have is paid for, it is usually cheaper to just keep it instead of buying a new car. I pay for gas on my paid-off truck, so I don’t want to pay for gas and a car payment.

  20. mandys08 says:

    I agree it depends on lifestyle. I drive ~ 50 miles a work day. I have a prius, so that is less than one gallon of gas/day. If I drove less, I would probably have something else. If I had less of a commute, my MPG could go down with the same effect, but my other living costs would increase. It is a balancing act, there are more than one solution.