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# Fuel-efficient cars: Saving gas means saving money

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Mario Anzuoni/Reuters/File

(Read caption) Gasoline drips off a nozzle during refueling at a gas station in Altadena, Calif. Fuel efficiency is an important thing to keep in mind when shopping around for a new car, Hamm writes.

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A few days ago, I posted an article on saving money on fuel during your commute. While all of those tips were useful, one in particular can really reduce your fuel costs when commuting – buying a more fuel-efficient car. But what does that really mean in terms of dollars and cents?

Before you even begin talking about how much you’re saving in terms of increased fuel efficiency, you have to determine some of the numbers you’re working with.

First off, how much does a gallon of gas cost? Right now, the gas station nearest to my home charges \$3.999 for a non-premium gallon. So, we’ll go with that – \$4 per gallon.

You also need to know how many miles you expect to get out of your car after you buy it. It really depends on the age of the car that you buy. If you buy a new or nearly new car, you might get as many as 150,000 miles out of it. For an old car, you might be lucky to get 50,000 more miles out of it. Let’s go with a happy medium – 100,000 miles.

So, what is fuel efficiency actually worth when you’re buying gas at \$4 per gallon and intend to cover 100,000 miles in that car? Let’s look at some different fuel efficiency numbers.

If the car you buy gets 15 miles per gallon, that means it’s going to slurp down 6667 gallons over the time you drive that car. At \$4 per gallon, that adds up to \$26,668 in fuel costs.

If you bump that up to 20 miles per gallon, that means it’s only going to use 5,000 gallons over the period that you own the car. At \$4 per gallon, the total fuel cost is \$20,000.

Let’s say your vehicle gets 25 miles per gallon. In that case, it only uses 4,000 gallons over that 100,000 mile life span. At \$4 per gallon, that adds up to \$16,000.

What about 30 miles per gallon? If you’re looking at 30 miles per gallon, the vehicle consumes only 3,333 gallons of gas. At \$4 per gallon, that adds up to \$13,334 in fuel costs.