Slow down, relax, and save gas
Driving the speed limit is always recommended, but if traffic allows, you’ll save gas on the highway if you drive slower. Driving 60 mph uses 9 percent less gas than driving at 70 mph. Going 50 mph can save up to 15 percent.
Detroit’s Penske Automotive Group is offering the French-made SmartForTwo car marketed by Daimler Chrysler. It’s a rear-engine two-seat car that is less than 9 feet long. Two of them could fit into a parallel parking spot, making it the tiniest car sold in the U.S.
Heavy cars and SUVs are always safer than small cars. But the Smart ForTwo’s tridion frame, which surrounds driver and passenger, has gleaned it a top rating in front- and side-impact crash tests by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. It was “acceptable” for whiplash protection in rear-end crashes. It’s kind of cool-looking and gets 36 mpg on the highway.
The littlest car apparently has buyers. It is sold out through the end of 2008. Most of the 30,000 units were sold over the Internet at prices of $11,590 for the basic model, $13,590 for one with all the bells and whistles and $16,590 for the convertible.
Buyers who want a four-passenger compact that gets similar mileage will be looking at the Chevrolet Aveo, which starts at $10,595.
The Honda Fit gets 33 to 34 mpg on the highway and has a starting price of $13,950.
The Toyota Yaris does as well as the ForTwo. It has a starting price of $11,350 and gets 35 to 36 mpg on the highway.