Thursday, June 26, 2008

What Happens After a Car is Traded-In?

Have you ever wondered what happens after a car is traded in? Let's say you buy a new 2008 Honda Accord and trade in your 2003 Toyota Camry. What happens to your old Camry after you drive off the lot with that new Accord?

In most cases, the dealer is going to extract the monetary value out of that trade-in as soon as possible. If the trade-in is a low mileage, good condition example of a popular make/model, the dealer may put it on its used lot and hope for a quick sale. If the car has minor issues that can be fixed relatively quickly & cheap (i.e., bald tires, interior carpet stains), the dealer may fix it up quickly and try to get a quick sale. However, there's no guarantee that the dealer will put the car on its used lot just because the car is low mileage, in good condition, and popular. If you trade-in a Honda Civic at a Porsche dealership, chances are the dealer will not put a used Civic next to its fleet of used BMWs, Porsches, and Mercedes. Dealers typically attract a certain profile of customers for their particular make, and they try to carry inventory, new & used, that is consistent with their customers' profile.

If the dealer thinks the trade-in doesn't fit with his used inventory, the dealer will just wholesale the car and send it to an auction. If that Camry or Civic trade-in is in good condition, chances are it'll get snapped up at the auction by another used dealer who will then put it on its lot forsale. The lot could be affiliated with a new dealership or one that just focuses on used cars.

If the trade-in has high mileage, is in need of repairs, or is an unpopular make/model (i.e., Pontiac Aztec), the car will fetch a much lower price at auction and the used dealer that purchases the car will spend as little money as possible to get the car up to pass-able condition for sale. This is why many auction cars are considered "undesirable".

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Monday, June 23, 2008

What's Better Than a Hybrid or Electric Car?

How about a useable solar powered car? Check out this Mazda Miata that a few scientists in Japan converted into a 100% solar powered car. It has a range of about 18 miles and a top speed of 60 miles per hour. The conversion cost $21k USD but the fuel cost is a big fat zero.

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Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Gas prices across the US and hybrid sales

An informative (and shocking) website called GasBuddy has published a heat map that shows the gas prices across the country. While the entire country is experiencing super high gas prices, California seems to be hit especially hard. According to GasBuddy, California has the highest gas prices at $4.36 per gallon or greater. Parts of Wyoming, Oklahoma and Missouri appear to have some of the lowest gas prices at $3.70-$3.79 per gallon.

It's no wonder that California leads the US in new hybrid registrations, with 26.1% of all new hybrids purchased (according to MSNBC). Here are the runner-up 'green' states:

1. California, 26.1 percent
2. Florida, 5.5
3. New York, 5.0
4. Texas, 4.9
5. Washington, 3.7
6. Illinois, 3.7
7. Virginia, 3.4
8. Pennsylvania, 3.2
9. Massachusetts, 2.8
10. New Jersey, 2.8

NewYork, coming in as the third 'greenest' state, seems to also have higher gas prices than the rest of the nation (though not as extreme as those of California).

Of course, the leading hybrid is still the Toyota Prius.

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Sunday, June 8, 2008

Hybrid Selection

With all of the auto manufacturers focusing on hybrid technology, the selection of hybrid cars, trucks and SUVs has really expanded over the last couple of years. Here's a list of current available and soon-to-be available hybrid vehicles:

Will the list double by the end of the year?

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Monday, June 2, 2008

Tornado Fuel Saver Does Not Work

If you've like me and have ever seen the Tornado Fuel Saver advertised on TV, you may have always wondered whether this $40 device really works or not. Intuitively, this device seems like it could work - it first right inside the cold air intake hose of your engine, and claims to boost the amount of air your engine receives in order to boost both your engine's power and fuel efficiency. The device almost looks like a little jet engine placed inside your engine.

However, Consumer Reports has done its own testing and claims that this device does not provide any additional power or fuel efficiency. They recommend against buying this. The EPA has actually done its own test on the this device and many other devices and has come to similar conclusions. See the EPA results for yourself.

Buyer beware - don't be fooled by the late night 'As Seen on TV' ads.

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