How to prepare for the possibility of $5/gallon gas


I got a kick out of two competing stories, one from The Dallas News and one from Barron’s that I recently read about the price of gas.

The Dallas News quoted a former Shell executive predicting $5/gallon gasoline coming soon. Barron’s, meanwhile, has the opposite take in a story published on the same day. Theirs was titled, “Crude will ship, price will slip,” and it talked about how even the situation with Iran blowing apart wouldn’t create more than a temporary price spike in gas.

Who’s right? Who knows! I have no idea.

But regardless of who is right and who is wrong, the long-term trend here is for higher and higher oil prices. So here’s the thing: When you’re ready to buy another car, don’t just consider what the price of gas is that day as you look at vehicles. Look longer term. You normally keep a car for a multiyear cycle. Think about efficiency among the models you’re considering, even if you’re looking at SUVs.

Consumer Reports now has the Toyota Camry hybrid as its top-rated midsized vehicle in the country. The Camry hybrid averages 38 miles per gallon with great acceleration and a great review.

There are so many more options today with fuel economy rapidly improving: Ford now has the EcoBoost technology, an engine design that allows small engines to give great power and great fuel economy. GM is doing similar things so you won’t have to compromise on comfort or size in your vehicle, but you will get better fuel economy.

Take advantage of the improving car technology out there when you’re in your natural car buying cycle.

Finally, a quick update on my Nissan Leaf, my all-electric no gas vehicle. I’ve now put 1,650 miles on my Leaf over the last two months. It’s fun to drive and has performed flawlessly, but I’m still not over range anxiety yet – the fear that I’ll run out of charge and have to call a tow truck from the side of the road!  

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