Find the Best Low-Cost, High-Value Car
by Jerry Edgerton
When it comes to fuel costs, American car shoppers have vowed they won't get fooled again. After dipping initially, the national average price of gas rose above $3.50 a gallon in early 2013. By now, however, most of us have learned that, when it comes to gas prices, what goes down will likely rise again.
"Most consumers won't soon forget the impact to their budget when gas prices hit $4 per gallon," says Alex Gutierrez, senior market analyst at the automotive information service Kelley Blue Book. Gutierrez notes that we've hit that level nationally three times since 2008. "They know that at any moment fuel prices could be skyrocketing back up," he says, due to political upheavals or unsettled weather that affects oil production, or even routine refinery maintenance.
To cushion themselves against future budget shocks, many consumers have learned to search for low-cost cars with high gas mileage. But in addition to researching miles per gallon (mpg) and overall price, shoppers should weigh less obvious factors to find the overall best values for their needs.