MARQUETTE - If you're thinking about buying a more fuel efficient car, you may definitely want to check out a wealth of tips and data detailed on "the official U.S. government source for fuel economy information," a very helpful website.
Government officials said selecting which vehicle to purchase is the most important fuel economy decision you'll make. The website said the difference between a car that gets 20 miles per gallon and one that gets 30 miles per gallon amounts to $948 per year (assuming 15,000 miles of driving annually and a fuel cost of $3.79). That's $4,740 extra in fuel costs over five years.
The www.fueleconomy.gov website has a "Find and Compare Cars" section to find the most fuel efficient vehicle to meet the needs of buyers. The website has gas mileage estimates and more information for 1984-2011 model year cars.
Some of the best features of the website are the sections on hybrid, plug-in hybrid and electric cars. You can compare a range of data on these vehicles in side-by-side comparisons, learn more about each of these vehicle types in general, see available tax incentives and find links to other websites for more exploration of these topics.
For example, the side-by-side comparison charts for hybrid vehicles for 2011 show estimated new miles per gallon rates, annual fuel costs, carbon footprint in tons per year of carbon dioxide emissions and air pollution scores.
You can select and compare up to four models at one time. In these charts, more detailed information is offered including how much it costs to drive a particular vehicle 25 miles, how many miles you can drive on a tank of gas and how many barrels of oil you will consume each year using a particular model.
For example, a 2011 Toyota Prius gets 51 miles per gallon in the city driving and 48 miles per gallon on the highway. It has an annual fuel cost of $1,137 (using 6.9 barrels of oil) and a carbon footprint total of 3.8 tons. It costs $1.90 to drive 25 miles and you can get 536 miles to a tank of gas.
A new BMW ActiveHybrid X6 gets 17 miles per gallon in the city and 19 on the highway. Annual fuel costs a total $3,361 (using 19 barrels of oil). The vehicle has a carbon footprint total of 10.4 tons. It costs $5.60 to drive 25 miles and you can get 365 miles on a tank of gas.
There are also tips available to reduce the amount of gas you use, including driving more efficiently, keeping your car in shape, planning and combining trips and choosing a more efficient vehicle.
The website also has links to compare gas prices at local stations and by county. Information is also provided on oil dependence costs, global warming, energy sustainability and other information, including a calculator to determine the fuel costs of driving your car.
Getting a great deal of information in hand is always a plus when shopping for a vehicle, especially newer fuel efficient models and types perhaps unfamiliar to shoppers, and the government has provided a wealth of data to help buyers in that endeavor.
John Pepin can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 206. His email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.