How to Reduce the Cost of Owning a Car

cheap gas prices

Fuel

According to AAA, Americans spend around $1500 on gas each year. Obviously, this number can vary greatly depending on the type of car you drive, so emphasis on the word average.

  • Buy a car with above average fuel economy. There are a number of affordable, fuel efficient cars out there. It might be time to consider that Prius Mr. Macho Man.
  • Avoid cars that use Premium fuel. Although most cars use regular unleaded fuel, luxury and turbo charged vehicles tend to require premium fuel. This can cost upwards of .30 more than unleaded gasoline.
  • Shop around for gas! There are a number of sites and apps you can use to check fuel prices to ensure you’re getting the best deal. The U.S. Department of Energy has a website to assist as well.
  • There are a number of things you can do while driving to reduce fuel consumption as well. Things like minimizing idling time, using your cruise control on the highway, using less air conditioning/heat, etc. Making sure that you’re aware of trying to conserve fuel is half the battle.
cheap car tires

Tires

Although it won’t make your tires cost any less, you should regularly check tire pressure and inflate them when needed. This will increase fuel efficiency and decrease wear and tear. Remember, a flat tire costs a lot more than spending a couple dollars each month to make sure your tires are inflated properly.

  • Shop around. There are always promotions, sales and rebates for new tires. Don’t always go with the first option you find, take your time and find a deal that fits your budget. Shops like Discount Tire usually have affordable options and decent promos.
  • Do your research! Shops usually get a commission when selling tires. This means they will try to sell you the more expensive tires even though something cheaper would work just fine. Make sure you do your own research and find tires that ‘fit’ your car and budget.
car deprecation

Depreciation

Most people claim that a new car loses about 25% of it’s value the second it leaves the dealership. New car owners might not feel it right away, but it turns out that this statement is relatively true. In fact, Americans lose nearly twice as much each year in car value as they do in fuel costs. This means that if you spend the average $1500 a year on gas, you’re also loses around $3000 in depreciation.

  • Buy a used car! I write about this in a different blog post, but PLEASE take the time to at least consider a used car. Buying a used car is the only way to make a financially educated investment in transportation. The less you spend on a car, the less you lose in depreciation.
  • Buy the type of car you need. Not everyone needs a diesel pick up truck or a gas-guzzling minivan. Buy what you need, not what you want.
  • Consider buying a car from someone who initially leased it. Since they bit the initial depreciation cost, you might be able to find an affordable USED car coming off a lease.
car insurance

BONUS: Insurance

It is common for people to ‘shop around’ for different insurance plans. Doing some research each year could save you hundreds of dollars in insurance costs each month.

  • Like I said above, shop around. It is common for insurance companies to offer lower rates for drivers with anti-lock brakes, anti-theft devices, safe driving history, organization affiliations, etc.
  • Make your son/daughter wait a bit before being added to your insurance plan. Having a 16 year old added to your plan usually sky rockets your costs. Although you may trust your child, there is no fix for lack of driving experience. Even a small fender bender could be detrimental to your insurance costs each month.

Conclusion

There are a number of things you can consider to help lower the cost of owning a car. It is important that you explore all potential options and take advantage of any savings you can find. As painful as owning a car can be, it is a necessary investment to ensure that you can get to and from wherever you need to go. Hopefully this post is the foundation you needed to help save your hard earned money a bit more efficiently.

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About the author

Amateur blogger, avid gym goer, full time nerd and Owner of ALB. All thoughts are my own and they're amazing.

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