Sunday, August 24, 2014

Which is the best hybrid car?

Deciding to purchase an alternative fuel vehicle is a responsible choice, but how do you know which is the best hybrid car in the U.S.?

Many manufacturers have invested dollars in electric cars, with eco-unfriendly batteries. Others have invested in flex fuel options, such as diesel engines running on cooking oil.

But the best hybrid car is the the Honda Civic Natural Gas, which runs on compressed natural gas also known as CNG.

Natural gas burns cleaner and hotter than gasoline, which means less emissions. Because natural gas is domestically abundant in the U.S., our reliance on foreign oil is diminished.

Honda Natural Gas Car

In production since 1998, the Honda CNG is a clean alternative fuel vehicle. It is the only compressed natural gas vehicle in the U.S. available to consumers.

Chrysler and GM will be in the market, though, in the near future with natural gas trucks; also, conversion kits are available.

The Honda Civic GX is similar to its gasoline counterpart, with a few differences.

The most noticeable change with this hybrid car is the natural gas fuel cell in the trunk, which reduces cargo volume.

The gasoline Civic sedan has 12.5 cubic feet of cargo space, but the Civic CNG has only 6.1 cubic feet.

Also from a numbers standpoint, the compressed natural gas engine produces less horsepower and torque than the standard gasoline motor in the Civic.

The CNG engine cranks out 110 horsepower at 6500 RPM and 106 foot pounds of torque at 4300 RPM versus the gasoline counterpart that produces 140 horsepower at 6500 RPM and 128 foot pounds of torque at 4300 RPM.

Despite the 30 horsepower difference, the Honda CNG makes up for it with the price of natural gas, which is $1 to $2 cheaper per gasoline gallon equivalent.

This is a significant advantage of natural gas cars over their lifespan.

Honda Civic GX range

The range of the Honda CNG is about 250 miles. This natural gas vehicle holds 8.03 gasoline gallon equivalent and gets 31 mpg.

The Civic hybrid's range should be adequate for commuters. Road warriors, though, will need to make sure CNG stations are on their route.

CNG stations to fill up your Honda
Public CNG filling stations dot the United States, with about 1,000 of them. Only about 500, though, are open to the public.

These pumps are similar to standard gasoline pumps. The difference is that CNG pumps have a female end and gasoline pumps have a male end.

But a CNG home filling station is available. Because it uses your home's existing natural gas piping to refuel your vehicle, it is an overnight process.

Best hybrid car: Honda CNG

Although you may not know much about alternative fuel vehicles, you will soon see these clean energy machines soon replace the gasoline chugging motors of today.

As an early adapter, you will be ahead of the general public by driving a compressed natural gas car. Also as an early adopter, Honda has had the time needed to develop its Civic GX, which is the best hybrid car.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

What Is A Good First Car?

Every first year driver is confronted with a major question: What is a good first car?  Unless your parents just gave you your first automobile, you have a lot to think about when buying a car. Although there's no definition of what makes a good first car, I want to help you by providing info about what to look for in a starter automobile.

Safe cars for teenagers

As a 16-year-old driver, you need to keep safety in mind. Your parents will thank you. But what should you look for in a safe vehicle?

To start with, you may already have an idea of a good first car. If not, that's OK. This step can be returned to when you do narrow your choices down. If you know the make and model, you should do a little research about the safety of that car.

All good first cars in the last 20 years have been ranked according to a 5-Star Safety Ratings system (available online), which measures the safety of vehicles in a crash or rollover.

Although you don't expect to be in an accident, a 16-year-old driver has a higher crash rate than any other aged driver, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. This means that a well-built vehicle is good insurance for you.

Where to buy a good first car

A few common places to buy a good first car are through private parties, the new car dealership used vehicle section, and through used car lots.

Private parties: These are automobiles listed on Craigslist, in somebody's driveway with a for sale sign, in a newspaper ad, word of mouth, and many other ways. You are more likely to get a good price and won't have a high-pressure salesman breathing down your neck.

New car dealership used vehicle section: These automobiles are usually in the back of the lot and are usually trade-ins. Bought at dirt cheap prices, dealerships usually sell these cars at auction if nobody buys them in a specific time frame. Some are good first cars -- others, well, are on the lot for a reason.

You can usually offer a pretty low price on one of these and get a good bargain, but you need to make sure your offer provides the dealership with some profit.

Some dealerships offer certified used cars, which have been inspected and usually have a warranty; this can be a piece of mind.

Used car lots: These lots get a bad name, with images of snake-charming salesman ready to sell you a lemon. A used car lot may be a good choice if you need a loan to buy a good first car and can't get one anywhere else.

Tips for buying cars for young adults

You'll need to determine your budget. I don't recommend buying cars on credit. (Good first cars provide a learning experience and are not always that well-taken care of.) But if you do have to take out a loan to buy a good first car, you should shop around at banks and credit unions. The best way, if your parents agree, is to get a small loan from them. Of course you'll need to pay your parents back, but they might be generous and not charge you interest.

An important point is to get a car that's not too sporty because eventually you'll be asking insurance agents about “what car insurance coverage should I have?” The agent will most likely mention that you fall in an age bracket where even just liability on a sporty auto will be expensive. To cut down on the insurance costs, get a car insurance policy that has good discount programs and keep your grades high in school.

Finding out possible insurance costs before you buy a car will provide no surprise and may mean the difference between buying, say, a 3000 dollar car over a 4000 dollar car.

Once you know how much you can spend, watch the market for used cars before you buy. This will give you an overall idea about how much certain makes and models cost. You can also use Kelley Blue Book or Edmunds – both of which are online – and determine what price range that car should fall within.

Having the price range info will help you know whether or not you are paying too much or getting a good deal on a good first car.

Once you have found a safe vehicle, you need to ask the seller questions about the vehicle and its history.

Some sellers can be dodgy or lie about vehicle problems, maintenance, and history, which means you should get a CARFAX on the vehicle. The last thing you want is a salvage titled car that was wrecked, rebuilt, and now being resold!

You may want to bring your dad or a mechanic friend along; he can help you determine if the car needs mechanical work to be safe and about how much it would cost to fix it.

Now you've found a good first car with a title, made sure all the mechanics are tip-top, and are ready to buy. Now all you need to do is negotiate with seller.

Use your research to your advantage and try to get the best price possible. Point out any flaws or mechanical problems that need to be fixed and deduct from the asking price.

Although there's no one thing that makes a perfect car for new drivers, we've looked at a few things you should think about when answering the question "what's a good first car?"