Some people say that a car is like a hole in the ground that you pour money into. With rising gasoline and other transportation costs that old saying seems to hold true.

Unpredictable gas prices, insurance costs and car repairs and payments contribute to the problem. Add to that pollution, miles of heat-reflecting pavement, hours spent in traffic and the use of non-renewable natural resources, what is a driver to do?

The smart thing to do is save money where ever you can. A great start is to obtain car insurance quotes from Top Ten Reviews and enjoy having a head start on learning about auto insurance and all those car insurance quotes that are available.

Everybody's transportation demands are different, but everybody wants to save money. Here are just a few ideas, ranging from the most radical to the easiest change to make:

Not Driving

Clearly, the way to save the most in fuel expenses is by not driving. You might want to explore the option of strapping on your backpack, selecting a good book, and pulling on your favorite walking shoes. If you add a segment of walking to your commute, you may not have to spend an hour in the gym every day. Alternatives to driving include:

  • Public/Company Busses ask your employer if they offer a discount or reimbursement for fare
  • Trains commuter trains may offer a monthly pass
  • Streetcars one of the oldest forms of transportation in the US
  • Trolleys in limited areas, but cheap
  • Walking depending on the weather, this mode offers financial and health benefits
  • Ride Sharing look online for local ride sharing programs or talk to people in your office or the office next door
  • Planes often if only one person is traveling, it may be cheaper to fly than drive
  • Bicycles if weather turns on you, most busses and commuter trains will let you take your bike onboard
  • Ferries you can take your bicycle on ferries as well

Solo Drivers

If not driving isn't an option for you, look for fuel-saving methods of transportation including:

  • Motorcycles - some get almost twice the mileage of an average car
  • Motorized Scooters - great for getting around downtown or to the corner store
  • Mopeds - excellent mileage, most suitable for city speed limits

Hybrids

If you are not traveling solo or unfriendly weather requires you to drive a car, consider a new hybrid vehicle. Some of the highest-rated are:

  • Honda Accord - does not offer the best mileage but offers the most power and feels more like driving a non-hybrid
  • Toyota Prius - a midsize that gets 55 miles per gallon
  • Honda Insight - best gas mileage at 63 miles per gallon, but only seats two

Driving Habits

Changing your driving habits may change your checkbook balance into the black. Some fuels saving tips include:

  • Don't haul around extra weight. Take off roof and bike racks when you're not using them.
  • Don't drive a heavy truck when a car will work just fine. Trucks are built for work and cars are built for carrying people; use them accordingly.
  • Keep your air filter clean.
  • Keep your tires properly inflated.
  • Regulate your speed. Speeding up and slowing down quickly uses up fuel, brake pads and tires.
  • Don't drive to the corner store to buy one thing. Make a list; plan your errands to be completed in one trip.
  • Work from home as often as possible.
  • Drive your car to a destination and then use your bike to get around or use a park-and-ride lot.
  • Use your cruise control.
  • If you are planning to buy a car, go to www.fueleconomy.gov. This website will compare vehicles side-by-side so you can see which cars get the best mileage and release fewer emissions.

Insurance

The two deciding factors when it comes to automobile insurance premiums are the cost to replace or repair the vehicle and the driving/credit history of the driver that's essentially it. The insurance company looks at how much they would have to pay out if an accident occurs and the odds that the driver might wreck the car. Estimates are that one at fault claim can raise insurance premiums as much as 40 percent.

If you feel that you are paying too much for your insurance, shop around; use an online service to request multiple quotes. Others ways to save on insurance are:

  • Increase your deductible
  • Drive carefully; avoid accidents and moving violations
  • Don't take chances; a DUI or DWI on your record will increase your premiums by a substantial amount
  • Take a driving or defensive driving course
  • Students should ask for a good student discount
  • Combine insurances such as home and auto with one company, if they will give a discount
  • Install an anti-theft device
  • It may not be practical to pay for full coverage on an older vehicle; check into your state's laws about what kind of liability insurance is required
  • Some companies offer better rates if your car has safety devices like air bags, day running lights and anti-lock brakes

Saving money takes creativity. Find creative solutions to getting to work and around town. Get creative and ask your insurance company about any kind of discount you can think of you might be surprised with you results. Study those car insurance quotes and in no time you may be saving more money than you imagined you could.

References

Federal Citizens Information Board. Nine Ways to Lower Your Auto Insurance Costs. [USA, 2003.] 29 September 2005 http://www.pueblo.gsa.gov/cic_text/cars/autoinsu/autoinsu.pdf.

Federal Trade Commission. 66 Ways to Save Money. [Washington D.C., 2003.] 29 September 2005 http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/conline/pubs/general/66ways.htm#gas.

National Center for Statistics and Analysis. Executive Summary. [Washington D.C. 2005.] 27 September 2005 http://www.nrd.nhtsa.dot.gov/pdf/nrd-30/NCSA/Rpts/2005/809843.pdf.

U.S. Department of Energy and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Hybrid Vehicles. [Washington D.C. 2005.] 29 September 2005 http://www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/hybrid_sbs.shtml.

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