How Important is Fuel Efficiency When Buying a Car


Your list for what you want and expect out of a car may be pretty long or pretty short. Regardless of whether you only have one or two key factors that you are looking for in your new car or you have two dozen, odds are that you will be thinking, at least somewhat, about fuel efficiency.

Once it was easy to mostly forget about fuel efficiency. Gasoline was relatively inexpensive and, as a result, cars were rather large and fuel efficiency wasn't much of a factor. Oh, but the times have changed! Today, fuel efficiency is on the mind's of most car drivers and car company executive minds. Gasoline prices continue to go up and up, and this trend is expected to continue, essentially for the rest of the history of the Age of Oil.

All of this has fueled the rise of hybrids, all electric cars and new technologies, such as hydrogen-powered vehicles and other options. In addition, the price of oil and gas has made people and car companies alike think about miles per gallon and how to boost them. This means that there are more and more fuel efficient options on the market.

With all of this in mind, where should fuel efficiency rank on your list of essential factors when it comes to buying a car? For most car buyers, fuel efficiency will be an important factor, especially for those who look to drive a great deal. After all, the more time on the road, the more gas you use. That means a higher gasoline bill every month. Yet, for some buyers high performance, safety, hauling capacity or other factors may take the top slots on the "what I need out of a car" list.

A recent Consumer Reports survey found that 37% of car buyers say that their top consideration is fuel economy. Further, 17% said quality was their top concern, 16% said safety, 14% said value and lastly 6% of car buyers said performance was their #1 concern. Of the car buyers who cited fuel economy as their top concern, 90% said that this was their priority due to gas prices. Other reasons included a desire to be eco-friendly and a resistance to depending on foreign oil sources.

In general, fuel efficiency should rank as one of the top five most important factors. Safety and handling are essential and can't be overlooked. Fuel efficiency has earned a place near the top of most people's car wish list for good reason. Gasoline prices are very likely to only keep going up, and that means pricey gasoline is here to stay. Not thinking at all about fuel efficiency when you buy your next car could really hit you in the wallet in the long run.

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