No matter where gas prices may fall, there are considerable benefits to purchasing a fuel-efficient vehicle. Aside from the obvious benefit to the environment and improved gas mileage, you may also qualify for a discount on your auto insurance.
But with the heftier price tag that comes with fuel-efficient cars, there are five shopping considerations you should make before buying to ensure you get the best value.
1. Fuel Consumption Ratings
If you are planning to buy a brand new fuel-efficient car, be sure to look for the EnerGuide as you are shopping around. The EnerGuide provides the car’s fuel efficiency rating and will help you estimate the annual fuel costs you can expect, which is a great tool for comparison shopping. If the car does not have a label, ask the dealer to provide you with the manufacturer’s fuel consumption rating.
If you are purchasing a used fuel-efficient vehicle, Natural Resources Canada offers a search-and-compare tool that allows shoppers to check model-specific fuel ratings for vehicles made after 1995.
2. Manual or Automatic Transmission
Although it used to be true that manual transmissions were more fuel-efficient than automatic, auto manufacturers have made considerable strides in the technology of automatic transmissions. If you are planning to purchase a new fuel-efficient car, and prefer an automatic transmission, you can shop for an automatic manual transmission that combines the fuel efficiency of a manual transmission with the simpler operation of automatic.
3. Vehicle Size and Weight
Typically, the smaller and lighter a vehicle is the less fuel you will need to operate it. But, in your quest for fuel efficiency, make sure you are not overlooking your need for passenger or cargo space. There are a variety of midsize and large cars on the market that offer hybrid or diesel engines that can dramatically improve fuel efficiency.
4. Hybrid Vehicles
Hybrid vehicles continue to be a popular fuel-efficient option because they utilize both gas and electricity to power the car. At low speeds, the electric motor provides the power the car needs. At higher speeds, the car relies on the gas engine. With the more expensive price tag of hybrid vehicles, it can take a few years to capitalize on the fuel savings.
5. Insurance Discounts
As mentioned earlier in this article, many auto insurers offer policy discounts to eco-friendly drivers. Check with your insurance broker to see whether the car you are considering buying comes with additional policy discounts.