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Buying A New Car

2008 June 27

About the author: Lina Younes has been working for EPA since 2002 and chairs EPA’s Multilingual Communications Task Force. Prior to joining EPA, she was the Washington bureau chief for two Puerto Rican newspapers and she has worked for several government agencies.

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At home, we will soon be looking into buying a new car for our eldest daughter. Her present car needs a replacement. Given the rising gas prices and the long distances she has to drive, we’re definitely looking at cars that get excellent mileage. The good thing is she’s over the stage of purchasing a vehicle just for its looks or because it’s the coolest car on the block. That makes it much easier on us. Nonetheless, we have to study our options carefully in order to spend our money wisely while ensuring fuel efficiency.

Personally, I would love to buy a hybrid. Wish all our cars at home were hybrids, but I don’t think that’s going to happen right now. As a mother, I’m looking at two main concerns. First, how safe is the vehicle. Second, the mileage. There are some good resources on the Web to help us make the right choice. For example, the site gives you extensive information on crash test and rollover ratings. You can even compare the different vehicles by class, year, make and model. Now for mileage, we have and EPA’s Green Vehicle Guide where you can also explore green options for the cleanest and most fuel-efficient vehicle that meets your needs.

We’re starting to narrow our options. I think we’ll be able to find a car that will be good for the environment and our family budget. My daughter also wants a fuel efficient car because she needs to save money on gas. So far, she’s been flexible during these family negotiations. There is only one non-negotiable requirement on her part: it has to have a good sound system.

We can live with that.

Al comprar un auto nuevo

Sobre la autor: Lina M. F. Younes ha trabajado en la EPA desde el 2002 y está a cargo del Grupo de Trabajo sobre Comunicaciones Multilingües. Como periodista, dirigió la oficina en Washington de dos periódicos puertorriqueños y ha laborado en varias agencias gubernamentales.

En casa, estamos considerando comprar un nuevo automóvil para mi hija mayor. Su carro pronto no dará para más. Dado los precios de petróleo que siguen subiendo y las largas distancias que ella tiene que recorrer, definitivamente estamos interesados en los automóviles que tengan un millaje excelente. Lo bueno es que ya ella ha pasado la etapa de interesarse en la compra de un vehículo simplemente por la apariencia exterior o porque es el último grito de la moda. Eso nos facilita el proceso enormemente. No obstante, estamos estudiando varias opciones para usar el dinero prudentemente mientras aseguramos la eficiencia del combustible.

Personalmente, a mí me encantaría tener un auto híbrido. Quisiera que todos los vehículos en casa fueran así. Obviamente eso no va a ocurrir por ahora. Como madre, tengo dos preocupaciones importantes. Primero, cuán seguro es el vehículo. Segundo, el millaje. Hay buenos recursos cibernéticos que nos ayudarán hacer la selección correcta. Por ejemplo, el sitio brinda extensa información sobre las pruebas de choques y probabilidades de volcarse que tiene el vehículo. También puede comparar los diferentes vehículos por clase, año, fabricante, modelo. En cuanto al millaje, tenemos y la Guía de Vehículos Verdes de EPA donde también puede explorar opciones verdes para los vehículos más limpios y eficientes energéticamente hablando para cumplir con sus necesidades.

Ahora estamos identificando cuáles son nuestras verdaderas opciones para hacer una selección. Creo que podremos encontrar un automóvil que sea bueno para el medio ambiente y el presupuesto familiar. Mi hija también quiere un auto eficiente porque no quiere gastar tanto dinero para la gasolina. En fin, ha sido bastante flexible durante estas negociaciones familiares. Su única exigencia no-negociable es que el auto tenga un buen sistema de sonido.

Creo que eso es totalmente aceptable.

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

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26 Responses leave one →
  1. Mario permalink
    June 27, 2008

    Lina, I don’t know what you’re planning to spend but do recommend you look into the Mazda “Mazda6″ model. I bought a 2007 Mazda6 for my kid and it is an excellent car, nice looking, nice ride, great BOSE sound system, and although it is a V-6, it has 5-stars on frontal driver & passenger crashes; 5-stars on roll-overs, and 4-stars in driver/rear pasenger side crashes. The car is quite sporty too. The Mazda-3, a lesser model in size and amenities rates mostly 4- & 3-stars on crash ratings, but am sure it is more economic in the gas.

  2. Leila permalink
    June 27, 2008

    Great blog, mom! I didn’t know I’d be a source of inspiration for your writings! :P I’m just kidding. Anyway, we’ll keep looking and looking until we find something that fits, right?

  3. Lina-EPA permalink*
    June 28, 2008

    Mario–We’ll look into it.

    Leila–You’re my inspiration for many things! Love you!

  4. Mario permalink
    June 30, 2008

    Yeah, check it out. I now own three Mazda’s and they are very nice cars.

    Mil saludos de un colombiano en Chicago!

    A proposito, te cuento, cuando compré el carro (Mazda6), compré el mejor modelo (i-Grand Touring) nuevecito (6 millas) y fully-loaded for $25K, el cual trae el mejor sistema de sonido, GPS, sun-roof, asientos de cuero, timón y palanca forrados en cuero, xenon lights, fog lights, spoiler, y rines de lujo. Una belleza. Chequealo.


  5. Tommy permalink
    August 26, 2008

    Hey guys, I stumbled upon your car buying comments… I have just used a service which saved me lots of hassles and the intimidation of walking in to the Lions den …called the car dealership.

    Man I hated the feeling the last time, 3 years ago when I leased my Mustang. is bilingual …

    The service I used was the Dealers Compete You Win. It works similar to lending tree instead of Banks, you get offers from multiple local car dealers.

    I had 4 dealers competing for my new toyota Prius, which I can’t believe the deal I got …ya hooo “oh what a feeling!”! it was the best car buying experience I have had, and this is my 3 new car… this time I went for Green..! and Saved a lot of Green in the process.

    Best of Luck with your searches… hope this helps you all..!

  6. Mark Z permalink
    September 8, 2008

    Having accurate MPG ratings is critical when buying a new car. It’s disappointing to hear that the EPA would required the GM VOLT to recharge it’s battery with gasoline for the MPG rating when the car is designed to plug in for the recharge.

    This electric battery motor/gas generator car needs an accurate EPA gas mileage number that shows MPG for various distances traveled per day. If I travel less than 40 miles per day, the car won’t use any gasoline at all. If another driver travels about 88 miles per day, then the car only uses one gallon of fuel after their plug in recharge at night.

    Hopefully the EPA can develop an accurate standard that will show the extremely high MPG that the VOLT is capable of.

  7. Lina EPA permalink*
    September 11, 2008

    Thanks for the advice–gracias por los consejos.
    We finally bought my daughter thew new car. Got a good deal on the 2009 Toyota Matrix. Mileage 21-29, safety rating–five stars, good sound system and she can connect it to her MP3 player. She’s set. Still would have loved to get a hybrid. Guess that will be our next car–several years from now or who knows what technology will be available then.

  8. Steven permalink
    September 11, 2008

    The new gas nozzle extension is a HUGE error; the force with which I, a 5’10”, 175 lb. male, must use to shove it down into the gas tank opening is so great that I need to do it several times before I can pump gas.

    You need to revist this contraption. I’m sure I’m not alone in my estimation of this fool hardy design that, for dubious reason, you have foisted upon the American public. I’m just as certain that you’re gonna hear from a lot of angry people.

    Good luck with all that.

    Your neo-Nazi, Puritan, mystic–and myth spinning–mindset needs to be challenged at every turn.

  9. Bob permalink
    September 22, 2008

    Over here in the UK we’re very much into small high mpg cars. The cost of fuel is $10 a gallon at the moment. Hybrid cars aren’t always the most economical in terms of mpg and the environment.

    For good source of information and an easy search mechanism for new cars have a look at where your are able to search by emission types.

  10. dan s permalink
    September 30, 2008

    If your looking for some help in buying a new or used car I used a web site at educator, their videos, were most helpful,hope they do the same for you.

  11. New car sales permalink
    December 16, 2008

    You mentioned: “I’m looking at two main concerns. First, how safe is the vehicle. Second, the mileage”. There are many new safety features that are worth considering. Car safety technology has been advancing rapidly. These added safety features can save lives as well as lowering your insurance payments. Check this article on car safety features at:

  12. rocky 87 permalink
    February 11, 2009

    I like your suggestions for buying a car . Hopefully it will help me when gone to purchase a car.


  13. Rob permalink
    February 18, 2009

    Finding some research on the top-10 insurance companies gave me a whole new outlook on the next car I chose. You can literally save a half car payment.

  14. Jack permalink
    June 16, 2009

    You simply have to be able say ‘no, thanks at that price’ at least once to the dealer. This gives them a strong message that you are serious about your research.

    My dad swears by this process.

  15. discountautoparts permalink
    June 25, 2009

    thank you for the great tips! the sites that you have mentioned in your article are good sources, though.

  16. Simon permalink
    February 8, 2010

    Great tips and very handy links as well. Keep on the good job!!

    Muchas gracias de México!!

    Simon – iberia

  17. Car Parts permalink
    June 19, 2010

    This is a wonderful opinion. The things mentioned are great and
    needs to be appreciated by everyone

  18. Erik permalink
    August 7, 2010

    I highly recomend the toyota prius. They are very safe and reliable cars with great gas mileage. You can also find them used just a few years old for great prices. They are Toyotas so they will last a long time. Just be sure if you are going to buy a used car that you don’t forget to document the sale with a bill of sale form. Because a bill of sale car provides securities to protect both, the buyer and the seller. The best written bill of sale forms I’ve found are at

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