With gas prices settling in well above the $3.50-a-gallon level that Bill Ford has cited as the tipping point for American drivers, more and more people are trying smaller cars on for size, or at least trading in their sedan, SUV or minivan for a more fuel-sipping counterpart.
No surprise, there are more and more resources available online to help you find the auto that will suit your needs while saving you a chunk of change at the pump.
For example, Kelley Blue Book, that longtime resource for information on buying and selling cars, recently launched KBB Green, which is not perfect, but still a good starting point for information on eco-friendly developments in the auto industry.
The Web site offers forums here you can discuss the pros and cons of hybrids, and news articles about green technology advances and new fuel-efficient cars that are hitting the market. It also has a couple of tools that are handy, but could be handier.
One tool lets you compare the fuel efficiency of your car with one that you're thinking of buying, which seems perfect for today's gas-conscious consumers. But it lets you compare your car only to those from a list of vehicles that the KBB staff has selected for their fuel efficiency.So, I couldn't compare the Ford (F) Focus I sold earlier this year to the Toyota (TM) Matrix that replaced it to see whether I'm saving as much in gas and emissions as I think I am.
Also, it's just assumed you'll be financing the car and paying it off over time, which is more expensive than buying it outright, and changes the critical calculation: How long before my gas savings outpaces what I lay out to buy a new car.