Crunching Numbers for Gas Guzzlers

As prices jump above four bucks a gallon, we’re stuck with these big vehicles that get about 10 miles to the gallon.

Sara Swift from Utah Central Credit Union has crunched some numbers to find out some ways to save money.

• As people are looking for ways to find relief at the gas pump, gas efficient and hybrid car are gaining popularity for both primary cars as well as commuter cars. Some cars, like the Toyata Prius are getting about 48 miles per gallon.

• Comparing numbers for a person driving 12,000 miles per year paying $4 per gallon for gas:

o Truck or SUV with 10 miles per gallon will buy 1200 gallons of gas per year (12,000/15=800), which will cost $400 per month, $4800 for one year, $24,000 for five years just for gas.

o Comparing to a car or hybrid SUV that gets 34 miles to the gallon. You will buy about 350 gallons of gas, which will cost about $115 per month, $1400 for one year, $7000 for five years.

o That saves you about $17,000 in five years. (The price of a new car)

• Car pricing – starting at about 14,000 for a car, like a focus. Or, if you need the room of an SUV, like a Ford Escape (rated in the top 8 for most fuel efficient cars by CNN Money), those start around $26,000.

• Even as recently as a year ago, car insurance on hybrids was much more expensive than the non-hybrid version of the car because the parts were more expensive and not as easy to find. But, not anymore. A local insurance company priced out monthly insurance for a Saturn VUE (hybrid car), Honda Civic Hybrid, Ford Focus, and Chevy Tahoe, and the insurance for each car was between $65-$72 per month.

• Safety, Comfort and Convenience Concerns for smaller cars and hybrids.

o Variable pressure air bags that adjust to the size of the driver or passenger

o Single cage assemble process around passenger compartment – this will better protect you and your loved ones in an accident.

o Upgrade options for safety as well as comfort are available on low cost cars, including the SYNC system, leather seats, seat heaters, knee space in back seat and head room – even in cars priced as low as $17,000.

o To get the best gas mileage for your new car, ask about driving styles. (Source: Toyato Prius owners on noted getting 35-39 mpg when driving with a heavy foot versus 44-50 when driving with a light foot.)

• Tips for saving money

o Consider getting a smaller commuter car or hybrid SUV to see immediate savings at the pump.

o Ask your car insurance company about multi-car discounts (you can typically save between 10%-15%)

o Some cars, like the Ford Focus, have washable air filters that can last about 150,000 miles. Air filters usually cost about $25 and should be replaced every 12,000 miles.

o Ask your financial institution for specials on financing and recommendations for dealerships with good reputations

For more information, you can visit any Utah Central Credit Union office. You can find contact information at

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