5 Tips For Selling Your Gas-Guzzling SUV

SUV owners can relate to the horror felt at the moment when you look up at the gas pump and it reads somewhere between $80 to $100+. The first stage is denial, followed by rage and ultimately sadness. The final stage is an overwhelming urge to get rid of your SUV. Unfortunately, many people are having the same urge which is flooding the market with vehicles that many consider undesirable. Nevertheless, it is possible to sell that SUV, but you should be willing to invest a little extra time and patience. SmartMoney has put together 5 tips to help you sell your SUV. The list, inside…

1. “Be your own salesperson”
Robyn Eckerd from Kelley Blue Book says that owners usually get a better price for their vehicle when they sell it on their own instead of trading it in to a dealership. In fact, the market is so bad for SUVs that some dealerships won’t even accept them as trade-ins.

2. “Price it right”
When you set your price, check out its current value on Kelley Blue Book’s web site. Also, take a look at a site like AutoTrader.com to get a feel of a common asking price. Keep in mind that the prices in AutoTrader might be high since there are many who are content to set a high price and wait, since they don’t need to sell quickly.

3. “Advertise online”
AutoTrader.com says 61% of used-car buyers start searching online. Some other sites you could use are Carsdirect.com, Cars.com or eBay Motors.

4. “Provide plenty of details”
Autotrader.com recommends at least 25 pictures which should include shots of your SUV’s cargo space, fold-down seats as well as your odometer and any scratches or dings.

5. “Build credibility”
Spend $25 and get a Carfax Vehicle History Report which says if a vehicle has been in an accident or flood. You could also pay about $150 for an independent mechanic to inspect the car. A clean bill of health makes a great selling point.

Finally, don’t get so focused on high gas prices that you are willing to unload the SUV at any price. Try to get enough for your SUV to cover any outstanding loans and to cover the price of your new car. If that’s not possible, it may be more sensible to keep the SUV and try to use it more efficiently.

5 Ways to Unload a Gas-Guzzling SUV
(Photo: Getty)


Edit Your Comment

  1. apotheosis says:

    6. Carpool. You can fit four or five Smart Cars in an Escalade.

  2. “Free house with SUV purchase. Local Las Vegas residents only, please.”

    You could also use “condo” and “Sarasota” in that listing.

  3. @apotheosis: Yep. Suck it up a little, meet your neighbors, and see how 4 people in an Escalade offers similar net fuel economy to one person in a Prius…

  4. mdkiff says:

    I think we’re going to see a lot more leasing of SUVs. My wife and I leased a mid-size SUV last year for 39 months. Yeah, I pay the gas costs, but we got a great deal leasing around Christmas and we can drop off the keys in a couple of years and not worry about its “value.”

  5. CarFreak says:

    44 Gallon tank = $150 fill ups if you let it get really low. But then I can drive for a couple weeks without visiting a gas station again.

    I love my Burb and still have no intention of trading it for a smaller vehicle. Granted, its used for towing AND I can write off a lot of my fuel expense as business.

    Small cars scare me; not just safety issues but how would I haul building materials, my wonderful purchases from car swap meets, half dozen of my best buddies, etc?

  6. apotheosis says:

    @Ash78: No, I meant the actual Smart Cars.

    They get to save mileage, thereby increasing resale value. You get gas money, and the warm glow of knowing you’re protecting those beer cans from getting smeared across the front bumper of something a thousand times denser, like a Honda Civic.

    Everyone wins!

  7. Sloop_John_B says:

    Post it on craigslist in the Trade section. Just make sure to fully explain what you’re looking for in a trade. Remember, there’s a fool born every minute in this country. Somebody will buy it or trade for it.

  8. thatguy01 says:

    @mdkiff: They’re already heavily leased. That’s the reason Ford Credit is taking one on the chin: lease returns that have a tiny actual resale value.

    I can only imagine how awful last month’s new retail sales would have been *without* a built-in pool of customers who were reaching the end of their lease terms.

  9. SkokieGuy says:

    6. Encourage your children to decorate your SUV with Elmer’s Glue & Glitter. Everyone likes shiny, sparkly things!

    7. Emulate fine department stores and offer a “gift with purchase”, perhaps a canned whole chicken?

    8. Don’t be afraid to consider export sales. SUV’s are very popular in Nigeria and other countries. Sometimes buyers will pay over asking price!

    9. Be sure to list all your SUV’s features. [Price includes engine!]

    10. Yes, gas prices are depressing. Take a cue from smart retailers like Walmart. Put a smiley face on your for sale sign!

  10. philipbarrett says:


    8 : Yes, a very nice gentlemen who sadly recently lost a favorite relative offered me the sum of three hundred million pounds for mine.

    I sent him $25,000 to help him release the funds and my money will be wired to me today.

  11. TouchMyMonkey says:

    @Ash78: THIS. I wonder, though. Do we really despise our neighbors that much that we will continue to resist carpools?

  12. henrygates says:

    Keeping the SUV and driving it less, and more efficiently, has been the win for me. Honestly, to avoid sticker shock, I gas up when my tank gets to the half mark. Makes me feel better since I know selling it and buying a $12k+ vehicle just to get 10mpg extra hardly makes financial sense.

  13. apotheosis says:

    11. Do nothing at all to change it, but advertise it as a “Gotham SUV.” Because if Domino’s can do it with a freaking pizza, YOU can do it with your gas-guzzler.

  14. B says:

    Of course, you could keep the SUV for when you’re going on a big trip, or need to haul stuff, and spend 3-4k on a economical used car (or 2-3k on a motorcycle) and use that for your daily commuting.

  15. @HurtsSoGood: Do we really despise our neighbors that much that we will continue to resist carpools?

    That’s the core of it. American life for most people is not about wanton wastefulness–it’s about the luxury of privacy. Freestanding houses with big yards, cars with one person inside, and the list goes on. We have become an anti-communal people. Frankly, I love it and will work as hard as possible to maintain it (pushing for telecommuting, trying to conserve both at home and on the road, etc). For me, it’s the highest measure of living standard there is.

  16. snarktastic says:

    @Ash78: Word.

    I just sold my 2007 Burb via Craigslist. I know, what?

  17. TouchMyMonkey says:

    @CarFreak: How often do you haul the kind of crap that requires an SUV (or a minivan – yes, they still sell those)? Seriously. You’d think everyone made weekly trips to Lowes for 4×8 sheets of plywood and large appliances to hear some people talk. I saw a woman yesterday – couldn’t have been more than 5’2″ – driving a Ford Excursion all by herself. Not that it’s any of my business, but what does she do with all that vehicle other than complain that it doesn’t fit in the garage?

    If the shoe fits, feel free to slip it on, but in general, people got really stupid with their vehicle choices in the past decade because they were getting gas virtually free. I tanked up near Cleveland about ten years ago for 67 cents a gallon. 67 cents. They might as well have been giving the stuff away. Is it any wonder that we all just blew off fuel economy?

  18. Some people are so under with their car loan (like myself) that I decided to bite the bullet… I was willing to put $1,000 down, if I could trade in my VUE and get another vehicle. Then the good cop/bad cop scene played in my head, what I would get out of the deal, what I would lose… and in the end, took $850 and slapped it as principal on my car loan and never looked back. PLUS decided that if I could afford an extra $50 a month bigger payment on a new loan, hell, I could do it NOW. So I’ve been paying my car down quicker, and in the end, own a car thats still in excellent condition with high miles. Hell, I’ll take repair costs over a loan anyday :)

  19. apotheosis says:

    Personally I like the idea of a great big SUV rolling up and disgorging a swarm of Smart Cars.

    Like a dropship full of unarmed, eco-friendly space Marines.

  20. Here’s a question. Are the Kelley Blue Book and NADA values being adjusted to what the actual market will bear for pricing of these vehicles? Or do they just use a formula and have not adjusted it for the steep drop in market values?

  21. battra92 says:

    @HurtsSoGood: I carpool with one guy at work. The company went all out advertising it and only 4 people signed up for carpools. This guy and I were the only two on our route. Still, driving 50 miles a day makes going that one mile out of my way to carpool seem really like chump change.

    No way in Hell would I carpool with someone I don’t like or just a random person, though.

    I get good conversation, a backup driver in case I ever have some ill feeling befalling me and a $20 bill every couple of weeks. Bringing my lunch saves more money than carpooling, though.

  22. @heavylee-again: Good question. Kelly has always been questionable (and lagging). NADA has moved to weekly updates, I believe.

    Black book is updated daily, which is what most of the lenders and auction people use. Yes, there’s been a quick shift in prices for large vehicles.

  23. battra92 says:

    @B: I’m trying to get my dad to do that. He has a Tacoma pickup so 20mpg isn’t horrid but I’ve been saying it’d be nice to save it and keep it nice, ya know?

  24. BreakMyWindow says:

    @philipbarrett: I hate to tell you this, but you may have been scammed. I did the same thing last month, so you will be getting whatever is leftover after I am done. Don’t worry I’ll throw you a bone or two. They told me it would only be about 3 more weeks, and they can’t come soon enough.

  25. getjustin says:

    @CarFreak: As for how you would live without a large car: Building materials? Rent the truck from Home Depot. $20 for about and hour and a half. It’s got gates on all 3 sides and rails for standing stuff up and you don’t have to fill it up. Most small cars seat at least five, many seat 6. Of course, it’s not as comfortable, but how often are you gonna “clown car” it. And large purchase, with folding seat, perhaps an open window and a little finagling can be fit into almost any small car. YMMV.

    I drive a Matrix, and most of the time I feel it’s actually too big for me. But since the mileage is great (30/38) and it’s a ULEV, I don’t mind the extra car I’m always carrying around.

  26. JDisnidiet says:

    I read another comment about small women driving large SUVs. I wonder what that is all about. Would it be better if it was a guy who ran 4 bills? Would that make it ok?

    I like my neighbors, but we all work in different places. Individualism requires vigilence. If we wanted to be socialists we would live in Europe or elect democrats.

  27. jasezero says:

    I lease my H3…so when the lease is over, I just return it…not a big issue for me.

    And to be honest, I get a lot of utility out of the damn truck. 16mpg last fillup wasn’t killing me in the wallet either.

    I’ve been moving stuff into storage and would have had to either rent a truck or take multiple trips with a smaller car. And with random flooding of my area cause all the drains on the roads are terribly designed, I can get right through the water w/o even thinking about it.

    These reasons alone outweigh $4/gallon gas.

  28. @getjustin: Rent the truck from Home Depot. $20 for about and hour and a half.

    U-haul and most local rental places will give you a full-sized panel van for an entire day for $20-$30, plus fuel. That’s always been the best argument for not owning a truck or SUV for me. I’ve gotten 24′ extension ladders, all kinds of pavers, rocks, etc, into the trunk of my midsize sedan. Sure, you have to work a little harder to make it fit.

    Weathertech trunk liners are a Godsend. http://www.weathertech.com

  29. DjDynasty says:

    I have a Subaru Impreza, and for a 4cyl, the milage is averaging about 25mpg. The focus I have I haven’t started calculating it in a while, but I was getting on average 30 when I was calculating it before. My Focus is a ZX5, and it’s a baby SUV as far as I’m concerned. Yes I’m looking at getting an Prius, but after I put all the toys on it that my current cars have, it’s nearly 30K. Not worth it when I consider I only paid $21K for the Subaru, and $16K for the focus!

  30. Underpants Gnome says:

    @jasezero: You can drive through random flooding with any leased vehicle :-) Reminder people, whenever you think a lease-return car looks like a good purchase, assume someone like me held the lease.

  31. BreakMyWindow says:

    @JDisnidiet: Or own guns.

  32. TouchMyMonkey says:

    @JDisnidiet: Individualism will be the death of this country. Just you wait.

  33. nsv says:

    So let’s think about this. My old Jeep is paid for, I know it’s been maintained well, and I’ve got 4WD when I need it. (I don’t need it all the time, but when I do… let’s just say it would be expensive to have to get winched out where I go.)

    I have no car payment, the major repairs are done and should last me a whole bunch of miles, and the car has a book value of about $12.75, or $412.75 if you include the new tires. A minor repair is needed once or twice a year, and it usually costs less than a car payment.

    If I got a new car, not only would the headliner not be sagging, but I’d also have a shiny new car payment. And if I got a used car, I might get lucky and buy one that has been as well maintained as my Jeep… or I might not, and have some expensive car repairs to do.

    But at least I wouldn’t have that $80 bill after filling up, which at 21 MPG I have to do every couple of weeks.

    I don’t understand the need to get rid of a vehicle for the sole purpose of buying a car with slightly better mileage and a smaller fuel tank.

  34. @heavylee-again: Emphatic no.

    I just ran my pickup. 2002 (old body style) 3/4 ton dodge with a v10, fully loaded, 30000 miles.

    Nada says my trade is 16825
    Kbb says my trade is 11700

    I bought the thing from a dealer a year and a half ago for less than the nada trade value (their SRP is 19900).

    I’d expect it to be more around 10500 than nearly 12000 as KBB says. I’m not delusional.

    Kbb and NADA are ABSOLUTELY USELESS tools in the kind of market we have today. If you’ve got a gas guzzler, the first thing you need to do when you get rid of it is accept that you won’t get top dollar for it. As with anything, if you want it to move, price it to sell.

  35. JaguarChick says:


    I would love to carpool but my work hours are different every day and sometimes I don’t know what time I’m going to leave work at. Add that to the fact that none of my reasonable sane neighbors work near me and thus I drive alone.

    I think there would be more carpooling if more people worked a straight 8 to 5, but nowdays that is not the case.

  36. StevieQ says:

    I for one am glad to see those SUVs go. Here in Connecticut, for years it had been a status symbol to get a huge SUV. You see tiny housewives driving Tahoes to the Starbucks. Ridiculous, what a waste of resources.

    Now the status symbol is shifting to having a Prius. Or a Vespa.

  37. StevieQ says:

    @nsv: I agree, for someone in your situation, with a paid-for car, it would be absurd to ditch it for something with better mileage.

    Of course, many folks are paying a $300+/month lease on their gas guzzler, in which case it might be worth trying to get a <$300/month econobox.

  38. @JaguarChick: I think there would be more carpooling if more people worked a straight 8 to 5, but nowdays that is not the case.

    Ironic, since I work 7-4 partly to save 3-5mpg by not having to sit in traffic!

  39. ironchef says:

    SUV Schadenfreude. You can’t write a better ending to the age of irrational exuberance.

  40. asaturn says:

    6. Take sexy photos of a woman leaning up against the SUV in it’s natural habitat (the gas station).

  41. apotheosis says:

    So we’re now officially ushering in the age of sober despondence?

  42. BreakMyWindow says:

    @HurtsSoGood: Because not having individualism worked so well in Soviet Russia.

  43. unohoo says:

    If the SUV is older (more than 8 yrs for example) why not donate it to one of those organizations that take used vehicles (my local public radio station takes used cars, for example) and take the tax write off? Depending on ones tax bracket, that could work out to more than the final selling price.

  44. JDAC says:

    I picked up my lovely ’08 Kia Spectra on Monday. Good size, peppy as hell, and hardly any available on the lot. They only had one hatchback as they sell as soon as they come in!

    The number of SUVs piling up was very telling, as was the lack of non-Kia hugemobiles.

    Yeah, I may have a Kia, but I’ll take the fuel sipping, 14.5 gallon tank any day.

  45. kaosfive2005 says:

    “you’ll usually get more selling it yourself than trading it in”…i think thats a no brainer, as a seller you have that control of what you wish to let the vehicle go for, working for a widely known dealership, suv’s are def. depreciating at even the auctions.

  46. LatherRinseRepeat says:

    Yeah, if your gas guzzling SUV or truck is paid off, it doesn’t make financial sense to ditch it and buy a new fuel efficient car.

    As for car pooling.. You can place an ad in Craigslist, under their ‘Rideshare’ section. If you don’t mind riding to work with strangers, I’m sure you can find a few people that live and work in the same general area as you, with similar work schedules.

  47. @unohoo: The IRS has really cracked down on donation valuation. You’ll always get more selling it, if it’s a saleable vehicle. Otherwise donate to charity or sell for scrap (by-the-pound sales aren’t too bad when you have a really heavy SUV!)

  48. EndlessMike says:

    Explain to the new buyer how you intend to save money by selling your SUV and buying a $20k car. Wait, that doesn’t work, does it?

  49. henrygates says:

    @B: Except you then need to insure both vehicles (not to mention store the extra one), which may negate any gas savings.

  50. Drbajones says:

    Who cares about SUV’s. Who’s the cutie in pink?

  51. Maymar - now with 37% less anonymity says:

    I might be wrong here, but it could be worth advertising your SUV in more rural areas, where a truck’s capabilities are still needed, and poor fuel economy is offset by almost no stop-and-go driving.

  52. nsv says:

    @StevieQ: True, if you’re wrapping up the lease on your Hummer, it makes sense to downsize if you can.

    But most of the large vehicles I see parked by the road with “For Sale” signs are 8 years old or more. And they’re so cheap I’m seriously thinking about picking one up for a parts car.

  53. unohoo says:

    @Ash78: I donated a Saturn to a charity a few years ago and claimed the value of the car was Kelly Blue Book value less any repairs it required. Had no problems with the IRS.

    A neighbor of mine is trying to unload a 12 year old SUV and just dropped the price $1000 after it sat for almost a year. I looked up the blue book value and the price they’re asking is less than it’s supposed value–it also looks to be in excellent condition. If they had donated the SUV instead of trying to sell it, they would have not only saved on their income taxes, but also wouldn’t have had to insure the vehicle all that time or paid property taxes.

    It seems to me that if one takes all the costs into consideration, that you could break even or do better by donating the vehicle and claiming a reasonable value. There are many dependencies, such as ones tax bracket, but this could be one way to get rid of an unwanted vehicle.

  54. TouchMyMonkey says:

    @BreakMyWindow: Does Godwin’s law apply to references to Soviet Communism?

  55. ganzhimself says:

    I managed to get the most out of my SUV by selling it last year when gas was around $3 a gallon. I needed more than the 10 MPG/City mileage I was getting considering that 90% of my driving is in the city. I’m glad that I got rid of it when I did considering how little I would probably get for it today.

  56. TouchMyMonkey says:

    @Maymar – now with 37% less anonymity: That’s actually a good idea. That’s how we got rid of our Forester a couple of years ago. Somebody up in the hills needed a small SUV, and Subarus kick ass up in ski country.

  57. @unohoo: Nonetheless, the donation only gets you (in cash) 15%-38% of the actual sale value. That’s a lot of wiggle room to lower the price for a cash sale.

    There’s value to the speed and ease of the donation, but that’s a big financial hit for most people. However, if “real life” prices are FAR lower than KBB values, you can come out pretty close to break-even, I’d imagine.

  58. Canoehead says:

    Well, for us the SUV is just for weekends and some shopping, so while the gas prices suck, it would make no sense to trade it in at a loss. If we had to commute by car, we’d get a second small vehicle – not a smug-spewing Pious, but maybe a small used Honda.

  59. iMike says:

    Advertise on an enthusiast site. For example, if you have an F-150, advertise it on f150online.com or ford-trucks.com.

    And maintenance records are something that can differentiate your vehicle from others, particularly those sold at dealers, which rarely have such records.

  60. badco/LoJ says:

    These are good tips for selling a car in general BUT they don’t speak to the special circumstances of selling a gas-guzzler at all.

    First, you take a look at the NADA and KBB values for your vehicle, then your forget about them. KBB and NADA don’t reflect the sudden downturn the market has taken.

    If the vehicle is less than three years old, you’re almost certainly better off holding on to it for a year or two longer and letting it depreciate naturally. You’re going to take such a hit on it now (and a fuel-efficient replacement is at such a premium) that the deal will take years and years to pay for itself, if ever.

    In the near term, you’re better off carpooling and driving less.

  61. robholcombe says:

    And so the fadsters must now suffer. I feel so bad for them all! The government’s support of the SUV-buying scourge has cost our nation dearly…imagine if all those resources wasted on giant cars with 4WD that never go off the pavement was spent on solar panels. Ok, so I’m a hippy. Shoot me. And the argument that “bigger is safer” is bullshit…anyone EVER consider the fact that SMALLER CARS AVOID ACCIDENTS??? Hmmmm, Einstein????

  62. sivjosh says:

    “Try to get enough for your SUV to cover any outstanding loans and to cover the price of your new car.”

    This might be the worst tip for selling an SUV that I’ve ever seen. Try to sell your used car for enough to buy a new car and pay off the old loan? Seriously?

    It doesn’t make sense to base an estimate of a reasonable price for item X on the price of item Y plus an outstanding loan.

  63. nsv says:

    @robholcombe: But for the unavoidable accidents (and there are plenty,) you don’t want to see what I’ve taken out of wreckage that used to be small cars.

    Not that large vehicles guarantee survival. But your chances are better.

  64. Trai_Dep says:

    @robholcombe: It’s the alert driver avoiding road hazards ahead of time vs lumbering, cell-talking, big-gulp quaffing oafs red-faced from screaming at their AM talk radio while crashing thru crowds of school children schools of thought for crash avoidance.
    …Guess which one the typical SUV driver uses?

    It’s rather amazing they enjoyed any procreative success, looking back on it.

  65. battra92 says:

    @Maymar – now with 37% less anonymity: You see a lot of old Blazers used as feed haulers up in farm country. Take out the seats and never leave your property and you can use a beater SUV until it literally falls apart.

    They make good snow plows too.

  66. Orv says:

    @HurtsSoGood: In my case the problem was I couldn’t find anyone who lived near me who commuted to the same place. People have widely divergent destinations and work schedules these days.

    @Ash78: Last I checked U-Haul’s “$20 in-town rental” deal cost $0.89 per mile if you actually wanted to drive the truck anywhere. You gotta read the fine print. I agree that it’s usually still cheaper to rent a truck when you occasionally have to move big stuff than to put up with the fuel economy hit every day, though.

    For that matter, you’d be amazed what you can fit in a hatchback. Europeans have caught on that it’s the most practical form factor for small cars. Americans still mostly want a trunk, though.

  67. Orv says:

    @nsv: It depends on the type of accident. If you hit another car, the greater weight of an SUV has some advantages. If you hit an immovable object or roll over, however, the extra momentum actually works against you.

  68. battra92 says:

    @Trai_Dep: Stereotypes are fun, aren’t they?

    @HurtsSoGood: Nope, just Hitler.

    Seriously though, individualism isn’t such a bad thing, at least on certain levels. I mean, no one in the last 2000 years has been entirely altruistic. The individualism of America I tend to more interpret as the “do whatever you want so long as it’s not hurting yourself or others or violating any laws.”

    The public might be more open to various ways of saving money on fuel but we’ve voted down public transport time and time again despite governments near mandating it for the simple fact that a vast majority of Americans could never make it work for them.

    Honestly, if someone wants an SUV more power to them. I just don’t want one.

  69. SacraBos says:

    @apotheosis: Is that like the Ford Exorbitant, that comes with a Ford Explorer on the roof rack? [www.bbspot.com]

  70. SacraBos says:

    @Ash78: It’s not so much the privacy, but that it’s highly unlikely that everyone in your neighborhood is going to work in the same area. Used to be that most businesses were “downtown”, so carpools where pretty easy. Now business offices are everywhere, with everyone going a different direction. Makes it harder to carpool. Plus with everyone strapped for time, getting kids to events, etc, having to wait on your car-mates to get home takes a chunk out of your day.

  71. yikz says:

    Leasing a vehicle is based on residual value, and that value is calculated on the front end of the lease.
    For all of the geniuses that think they can pull some tomfoolery on the car dealer and the leasing agent, think again. The lease will consist of a higher buy-in, and higher payments because the leasing agent doesn’t want to have a car return that is undervalued in 39 months.
    People currently in a lease will benefit greatly when they turn in a SUV because the residual value has gone down tremendously and they can just walk away.
    People currently leasing a fuel-efficient vehicle will likely benefit from buying the vehicle for the residual value because the calculation was done several years ago, and that value has gone up.

  72. pmathews says:


    Don’t feel bad for them. They did this to themselves. I’m actually glad it happened to them. Did soccer moms really need a ford excursion for their three children. “Oh, but we need all this space with their sports and their musical instruments.” A minivan would have just been fine. I laugh at my wife’s aunt who bought a huge SUV. She commutes 30 miles each way and has one child. Absolutle waste. I feel the same way about people who buy huge trucks just for show and they never haul anything.

  73. ORPat says:

    Re: The 4’2″ SUV driver. That’s me. The other driver of said car? 6’4″ and 280 lbs.

    Sorry we are keeping our paid for SUV until such time that car makers figure out that not every one who wants a gas sipper is under 5’10”

  74. TouchMyMonkey says:

    @Orv: That’s why we have three cars at our place. Of course, all of them are small, but we fan out in such different directions that we can’t drive each other to work.

    And I get a truly surprising amount of stuff in the back of a Scion xA. For a vehicle that’s a good two feet shorter than a Honda Civic, it makes a hell of a station wagon.

  75. deadd0g says:

    $80-100?? I just paid $85 to fill up my fricken WRX…

  76. pmathews says:


    Sometimes you can put more junk in the trunk…

  77. balthisar says:

    As cheap as SUV’s are these days, I’m inclined to get into one again. Not as a daily driver, of course — I drive too much daily. But they’re great for road trips, camping, towing, Home Depot, groceries, whatever, and for those types of uses, $4.25 gas is meaningless. Might as well be $10. Well, not for road trips. But for local use, it’s negligible.

  78. jimconsumer says:

    The SUV market has tanked. KBB says mine is worth ~$10,000 private party. I have it advertised for $6,000 and not a single bite. Dealer told me he might be willing to give me $3,000 on trade, since nobody is buying them.

    Thankfully, it’s paid for in full and is a third vehicle so I have no problem keeping it, but we drive it so rarely anymore that I’m tired of paying the insurance… But I don’t want to give the damn thing away, for crying out loud!

  79. narf says:

    @unohoo: A few years ago, one could write off the market value … trouble was that folks were writing off the highest blue book price for their dead heap. An audit revealed like 10% of the write-off value was actually reclaimed in the resale. Nowadays, the amount of write-off one can take is what the charity actually receives.

    I should know about the abuse … several years back, a friend bought a $300 car from Salvation Army, plucked the parts off of it right on their lot (lights, windows, some interior trim, and swapped the wheels), and went back into the office and handed back the pink slip as a donation. His tax write-off that year for the “car donation” was for $3,500.

  80. sean77 says:

    @ORPat: I’m 6’3″, 220lbs, and I drive a 97 Nissan Sentra with more leg and headroom than my wife’s old pathfinder.

  81. StevieQ says:

    @ORPat: I just rode in the back seat of a Honda Fit, with decent room. I’m 5’10”. The front seat was even roomier. And my old boss was 6’4″ and could sit in my VW New Beetle with head and leg room to spare. So size is not an excuse for an enormous car.

    I’m all for people being able to buy as much as they want, but you have to admit that we Americans had gotten a little carried away. No way your average suburbanite needs a Tahoe or Excursion (to name only 2).

  82. StevieQ says:

    Oh, and I commute on a Harley-Davidson Sportster 883. 55+ mpg. That was a “downsize” I could live with ;-)

  83. Novaload says:

    @Ash78: So, like, you’re all serious over here at Consumerist and swinging from the chandeliers at Jalopnik?

    I looked into car pooling on my long commute, a lot of people make the same one but at different times or different destinations. But you’re right about the pivacy issue too. When I used to carpool there was one really obnoxious person and after awhile we disbanded, to try to re-band without said obnox. I’ll pay for some peace and quiet. And solitude.

  84. battra92 says:

    @ORPat: 6’1″ and I fit just swell into a Hyundai Elantra. So it’s more anecdotal than anything I think.

    My dad is 5’10” and probably 280 or so and he can drive my car no problem. He just hates “sitting on the ground” and since he has a physical handicap it apparently hurts his leg to sit in a car where sitting in a truck is easier I guess.

  85. AD8BC says:

    I would carpool. Seriously. And I am a conservative nutjob that drives a 15MPG F-150. Hell, I would even take public transportation if I didn’t have to leave the house two hours early.

    But I often need to work late, go on business trips, etc. My hours often differ from my co-workers. I simply cannot commit to set times to go to work and come home.

  86. AD8BC says:

    @StevieQ: I think the problem with we Americans is not that they buy too much vehicle, it is that they buy more than they can afford. I paid cash for my F-150, and I am only a suburbanite that doesn’t “need” one. Since I don’t have a car payment, the extra cost of gas doesn’t kill me every week.

    I bought the truck when gas was about $2.75. Now it’s $4. I usually put about 20 gallons a week in the beast (when I am not traveling on business as I do often, those times the company pays all my gas in my big rented car!). That extra buck-twenty-five makes it cost an additional $25 to fill my truck each week. That $25 doesn’t kill me. Tis not even a flesh wound. An extra $100 a month. Sounds like alot, if you are in debt on your car, doesn’t it?

  87. jimconsumer says:

    @nsv: I don’t understand the need to get rid of a vehicle for the sole purpose of buying a car with slightly better mileage and a smaller fuel tank.

    Here, I’ll help you understand: I sold a paid for car for $24k. I bought a Honda Insight with cash for $12k. Fuel economy went from 17mpg to nearly 70mpg. Instead of $200-$250 a month for fuel, I fill up once a month for $35-$40 (about 9.5 gallons).

    So, I’m saving ~$200/mo and I put $12k cash in my pocket. No brainer. Even for you people who don’t have a bunch of equity, if you have a $400/mo car payment + $300/mo fuel with your SUV and aren’t upside down, you can buy a new Prius for the same payment and cut your fuel costs by 2/3rd or better. Again, it’s a no brainer, assuming you don’t mind driving a Prius. :)

  88. drjayphd says:

    @battra92: My employer recently fired off an email asking people to carpool. Unfortunately, when a good chunk of your employees are specifically required to have their own transportation, you probably aren’t going to get many takers. :P

  89. SinisterMatt says:


    I miss $0.99 gas. That’s what it was when I first started driving at about the same time. It’d be nice if we went back to that, though the odds are slim to none, or, as we say here in Texas, much better with Cash 5.


  90. drjayphd says:

    @StevieQ: And yet, I just read an article on how one of the few places Hummers are selling is… Fairfield County. Naturally.

  91. bigmac12 says:

    Remind the buyer that the gas tank is full and is worth more that the SUV!!

  92. PølάrβǽЯ says:

    Has it ever occurred to Jalopnik or it’s SUV-bashing Prius-loving readers that some SUV drivers NEED their SUVs?

    I have a Ford Explorer. I bought in in 2005, a year AFTER gas prices started skyrocketing to record highs. Why? First of all, we had one kid already and the wife was pregnant. The Geo Storm just wasn’t cutting it anymore. Second, although we live in the city, most of our friends and family lives in rural areas. Any by rural, I don’t mean off of the two-lane highway, I mean they live up a dirt road on top of a mountain that you CAN’T get to without four wheel drive and adequate ground clearance. And that’s in the summer.

    I have a Bayliner 175 that a smaller rig wouldn’t be able to pull. I also use a small 6′ x 10′ flatbed trailer to haul stuff as need be. Consider this: When I pull my flatbed trailer, I get about 20mpg. It’s two feet longer than a long-bed pickup, four feet longer than a short bed pickup. I also have more interior room that a full-size pickup. So my Explorer with more interior room than a pickup, pulling my trailer with a larger bed than a pickup, gets about 5mpg more than a full-size pickup. So it’s more capable that a pickup and still gets better fuel mileage. (And the flatbed is one foot of the ground, making loading MUCH easier).

    Yes, the suburbanite soccer mom that never leaves the pavement and never hauls more than groceries or kids around should be ashamed to be driving a huge gas-guzzling SUV. BUT, some of us actually have good, legitimate uses for our SUVs.

    P.S. My SUV is the most reliable vehicle I have ever owned. 150,000 trouble free miles. The money I have saved on not having to repair it far outweighs the amount of gas it uses. Driving any of the small cars I used to own would have cost me just as much due to repairs as driving my SUV has.

  93. unohoo says:

    @narf: *But* the charity won’t take a car that won’t run–so you can’t write off a “dead heap”. My write off was blue book value less any repairs that it needed and less high mileage. Of course this was several years ago, but I think I took a reasonable deduction even by today’s standards. I didn’t try to fudge it.

    My main point was that if you are in a higher tax bracket and the car is older, then you could conceivably break even or even come out ahead if you donate the car and take a reasonable deduction for the donation.

    Maybe one way to approach it would be to try to sell your SUV, but establish a sell by date–maybe two or three months, what ever seems reasonable to you. If by that time the car hasn’t sold, then revisit donating it. It might look more attractive at that time.

  94. nsv says:

    @jimconsumer: Impressive. But even Honda can’t find an Insight within 250 miles of me. I did spot a classified ad for one a bit farther than 250 miles, but it was half again as much as you paid.

    You do have a good situation, but it seems to be pretty unique to you. I might say I can’t understand why someone would stop to pick up a piece of paper on the street, but for the one person in a thousand who finds a $100 bill, it becomes more obvious.

  95. TechnoDestructo says:


    At least you’re driving one of the safest-for-other-drivers SUVs.

    As for how you haul your building materials and swap meet purchases:

    You’d be surprised what you can fit in a station wagon.
    You’d be amazed what you can fit in a typical sedan (especially if it has a trunk pass-through).
    You’d be shocked at what you can fit in a convertible (with the top down and no passenger).

    As for towing: If it’s under a ton, there are a lot of small-mid-sized cars that can do it. A few are even rated for around a ton and a half or so. If we’re talking horse trailers, though, yeah, you need a truck.

    But then, unless you’re doing that ALL THE TIME, it might make sense to have a smaller daily driver and just use the suburban as a work truck when you have actual BIG JOBS to do.

  96. drjayphd says:

    @aaron8301: The difference is that you actually do need your SUV. There’s always goign to be exceptions to the conservation rules, and the SUV drivers people blast are those suburbanites you mentioned.