Archive for February, 2012

Hyundai and Chevrolet Win Big in Kelley Blue Book’s 2012 Total Cost of Ownership Awards

While initial price is always a prime issue when purchasing a new vehicle, the ultimate “best deal” also entails considering a number of other significant factors that can have an equally meaningful impact on long-term out-of-pocket expenses.

Thanks to a study done by Kelley Blue Book, the world’s most experienced and trusted automotive pricing organization, we can compare beyond a car’s price tag and see the big picture cost of a vehicle over five years of ownership.  KBB’s annual comprehensive review factors in the following valuation criteria:  Fair purchase price (FPP), projected depreciation, financing costs, Insurance costs and state fees as well as the anticipated total cost of fuel, scheduled maintenance and repairs.

While this study is nothing new for KBB, this year they took it one step further and formally recognized the best-in-class entries with the inaugural Kelley Blue Book 2012 Total Cost of Ownership Awards, in conjunction with the 2012 Chicago Auto Show.

Among the esteemed winners were multiple models each from both Hyundai and Chevrolet.  The 2012 Hyundai Sonata was named best midsize car, with a 5-year ownership cost of $38,476.  Factors like its low insurance costs and supreme fuel economy helped the Sonata edge out the Kia Optima in second place.   Another win for the Korean automaker was the 2012 Hyundai Santa Fe, which took the ribbon in the crossover segment, with a 5-year ownership cost of just $42,628.  Thanks to the Santa Fe‘s low purchase price, low long-term depreciation, and low maintenance and insurance cost, it easily outpaced the Kia Sorento in this class.

2012 Hyundai Sonata
Lowest Cost of Ownership
Mid Size Car Category
2012 Hyundai Santa Fe
Lowest Cost of Ownership
Crossover Category

American-made Chevrolet vehicles also topped KBB’s awards list.  The 2012 Chevrolet Impala won in the category of full-size car, with a 5-year ownership cost of $47,957.  KBB cited its low purchase price and high fuel economy in gaining an advantage over the Ford Taurus competitor.  Also weighing in on the Chevy side was the 2012 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 in the full-size pickup truck category, with a 5-year ownership cost of $49,371.  The Silverado edged out the second place GMC Sierra 1500 with its fair purchase price, financing and insurance costs and state fees. Chevrolet made it a hat-trick with the 2012 Chevrolet Volt, which took the award in the electric car segment, with a 5-year ownership cost of $40,629.  The Volt‘s lower maintenance and insurance costs easily surpassed competitor Nissan LEAF to score the win.

2012 Chevrolet Impala
Lowest Cost of Ownership
Full Size Car Category

2012 Chevrolet Silverado 1500
Lowest Cost of Ownership
Full Size Pickup Truck Category

2012 Chevrolet Volt
Lowest Cost of Ownership
Electric Car Category

To see the full list of Kelley Blue Book’s winners, click here.

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Six Ways to Save Money on Your Commute

With gas prices seemingly always on the rise, driving to and from work can put a serious dent in your budget.  However, by making a few simple changes in your routine, you can make small savings that will add up big in the long run.

1.    Drive Smart to Save Gas
Making a few simple changes to your driving style can increase your mpg and add up to savings at the pump.  Coasting down hills, avoiding extreme acceleration, and staying under 65 mph on the freeway can lower fuel consumption.  Using your heat and air conditioning sparingly and lightening your cargo load can help too.

2.    Carpool
Ridesharing is one of the most obvious ways to save money on your commute.  Team up with a coworker who lives near you, and you can cut your commuting costs in half by taking turns driving to work.  This tactic is also nicer on the environment as it means fewer cars on the road and fewer emissions in the atmosphere.

3.    Customize Your Schedule
Driving in stop-and-go rush hour traffic can burn more gas and mean wore wear on your car.  If your schedule is flexible, consider commuting during times of lighter traffic.  Other scheduling flexibility options including telecommuting one day per week, or working extended hours in a 4-day week, both translating into one less day of driving back and forth to the office.

4.    Find the Cheapest Gas
Doing a little detective work on the cheapest gas along your commuting route can make a big difference when you’re filling up your tank.  Check out gas price websites like or, or scout prices while you’re driving.  Every cent helps!

5.    Reduce Tolls
If your commute uses a toll road, be sure you aren’t paying more than you need to.  Most toll systems offer in-car passes that not only make the toll stop quicker, but often offer a discount.  You might even be able to find an alternate route that gets you there just as fast, but avoids the fees.

6.    Don’t Pay Too Much for Parking
If your workplace doesn’t offer free parking, your daily parking costs can surely add up.  Do a little detective work to make sure the option you’ve chosen is your best deal.  The lot one block away might save you a significant chunk of change per month.

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Buick Offers Free eAssist Fuel Efficiency Games for Computers and Smartphones

Buick’s eAssist technology is an innovative new fuel-efficiency feature offered on the 2012 Buick Lacrosse and 2012 Buick Regal.  It improves fuel economy by an estimated 25% by adding a compact electric motor and state-of-the-art lithium-ion battery to a 2.4L four-cylinder ECOTEC engine. 

Along with this exciting new technology in their cars, Buick is also offering a package of three interactive games that are not only fun but also educate users on the cool innovations behind this technology and how to maximize your fuel economy while driving.  The games are completely free, and are available for iPhone  and Android, or playable on Buick’s website.

Regeneration Road:  This game spotlights the regenerative braking feature of eAssist, which captures energy otherwise wasted during braking to repower the compact lithium-ion battery located beneath the car’s trunk floor. Players must make it through a town and to a destination without running out of fuel.

Roll and Boost:  This game illustrates how Buick’s eAssist technology takes the energy stored from braking to be used later for an added, emissions-free boost of acceleration.  Players must navigate a beautiful weekend drive through a flowing countryside on just one tank of fuel, using their energy wisely to complete the course.  The goal is distance, not speed, and battery management strategy is vital.

Wind Tunnel Tester:  This game allows players to become an automotive engineer and design the ultimate aerodynamic vehicle.  Players will quickly see how the modern shapes of Buick sedans help increase aerodynamics and fuel efficiency.



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