Did You Know: Christmas is a Good Time to Purchase Used Vehicles

close up of father and daughter with gift boxThe month of December isn’t just ideal for snagging deals on candy canes and snow shovels. Christmastime is actually one of the best times to purchase used vehicles. If the thought of replacing your current car has been on the back-burner, you may want to push it to the top of the list. Buy a used car now versus in the spring, and you could save some serious cash.

This is all according to a study done by the automotive website CarGurus. The demand for cars is lower during the holiday season. The lots are cold and most people are preoccupied with baking cookies, sipping eggnog and wrapping gifts. Thanks to this detail, the price drop. According to the study by CarGurus, car prices hit their lowest average between Thanksgiving and the first week in January. Come the New Year and the era of resolutions, prices rise apace.

So, if a new-to-you car lies in your near future, your smartest move is to buy now. And shop used. Used cars are already a great deal because of the amount of value you can get at a much lower price than new. Add to that the fact that prices are lower than ever this month, and you’ve got a deal even the Grinch couldn’t refuse.

Fuel Saving Tips

With rising fuel prices, here are some tips to help you save money at the pump.  These tips are courtesy of the U.S. Department of Energy.

Drive Sensibly

frustrated driverAggressive driving (speeding, rapid acceleration and braking) wastes gas. It can lower your gas mileage by 33 percent at highway speeds and by 5 percent around town. Sensible driving is also safer for you and others, so you may save more than gas money.

Fuel Economy Benefit: 5–33%
Equivalent Gasoline Savings: $0.19–$1.28/gallon

Observe the Speed Limit

Graph showing MPG VS speed MPG decreases rapidly at speeds above 60 mphWhile each vehicle reaches its optimal fuel economy at a different speed (or range of speeds), gas mileage usually decreases rapidly at speeds above 60 mph.

You can assume that each 5 mph you drive over 60 mph is like paying an additional $0.31 per gallon for gas.

Observing the speed limit is also safer.

Fuel Economy Benefit: 7–23%
Equivalent Gasoline Savings: $0.27–$0.89/gallon

Remove Excess Weight

Excess items in trunkAvoid keeping unnecessary items in your vehicle, especially heavy ones. An extra 100 pounds in your vehicle could reduce your MPG by up to 2 percent. The reduction is based on the percentage of extra weight relative to the vehicle’s weight and affects smaller vehicles more than larger ones.

Fuel Economy Benefit: 1–2%/100 lbs
Equivalent Gasoline Savings: $0.04–$0.08/gallon

Avoid Excessive Idling

'Stop Idling' SignIdling can use a quarter to a half gallon of fuel per hour, depending on engine size and air conditioner (AC) use. Turn off your engine when your vehicle is parked. It only takes a few seconds worth of fuel to restart your vehicle. Turning your engine on and off excessively, however, may increase starter wear.

Fuel Cost Savings: $0.01–$0.03/min. (AC off)
$0.02–$0.04/min. (AC on)

Use Cruise Control

cruise controlUsing cruise control on the highway helps you maintain a constant speed and, in most cases, will save gas.

Use Overdrive Gears

When you use overdrive gearing, your car’s engine speed goes down. This saves gas and reduces engine wear.

Note: Cost savings are based on an assumed fuel price of $3.87/gallon.