Car anxiousness...

I watch the price of gasoline go up, sometimes every day, and I wonder what to do.

When I first bought my current car, a 2004 Saturn Vue, I had some concern about the efficiency. It's quite thrifty for a small SUV, usually around 28 mpg in combined driving with occasional post 30 mpg performances. But I was used to very efficient cars. My first new car was a Ford Festiva, tiny as a shoebox but routinely getting over 40 miles per gallon, so I had my doubts. In the end I chose to go with the size, safety, and storage capacity of the VUE, and for the most part it has been a great car, a wonderful multi-tasker and steady in rough weather.

Yet as the price of gas has gone up so have the second thoughts. Did I do the right thing? Should I try to trade it off for something else? I hear about dealers refusing to even take SUV's in trade because they have such a hard time selling them. My head says that for the most part everything is okay but I have to admit there's a part of me that panics a bit as well.

Economically its probably better to keep the car. We're down to one year's worth of payments and the cost of fuel is not yet so high that better fuel efficiency will make a difference over and against the car payments. Trading it in now just makes the payments go up because they'll roll the current loan into the next one. With less then 70 thousand miles on the odometer there's still a fair piece of life in the vehicle and unless fuel jumps to even more unbelievable levels we're still money ahead.
Someday, I suppose, there'll be no more travel and then the mileage (over 1000 miles per month just going back and forth) will level off as well. And I must say I do like the ability of this vehicle. Traction control and ABS for safety, a high riding position, absolute stability in the rain, and the capacity to haul groceries and boxes with ease. I once sat in a Honda Insight, 70 mpg but no back seat and no trunk; not exactly the car for a long highway trip.

Now if gas would only go down to $2 a gallon...

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