According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 91.5% of U.S. households own at least one vehicle; up from 90.9% in 2015. There was a total of 275,924,442 registered vehicles in the United States in 2020, according to the Federal Highway Administration. That is a lot of cars and a lot of car drivers! In this annual car guide, we’re looking at the costs to own and operate a car – including tips to save you money! You’ll find articles on how insurance and inflation can affect costs, how to get better fuel efficiency, how to avoid car theft, and the latest on electric vehicles.
With the recent hikes in gas prices, try the following tips to increase fuel efficiency.
If you have an older, less expensive car and think that makes you less of a target for car thieves, think again.
In fact, across all 50 states for the most recent year data is available, 2019, there are remarkably few 2018 models — and only five 2019 models — on the ‘most stolen’ list. The more popular a vehicle is, it appears the more of a target it becomes for would-be car thieves. Full-size Ford and Chevy pickup trucks and Honda Civics are extremely popular, affordable cars and also top the list for cars most likely to be stolen across the U.S.
Other factors that determine how likely a vehicle is to be stolen are the location and the model year. Whether a thief prefers an older model without an anti-theft system, or a newer one with an easily replicated key fob, there are a few factors that can make some cars more attractive than others to auto thieves.
The NICB cites numerous factors contributing to the overall rise in auto thefts since 2019. The COVID-19 pandemic, the economic downturn, and less public safety funding have likely contributed to the uptick of stolen vehicles. However, there are other major factors contributing as well.
The model of the vehicle is a major factor when thieves target vehicles to steal. The more popular the model is, the more likely it becomes a favorite target. With the Ford F-Series continuing to dominate the sales charts in the U.S., it makes sense it would be a favorite for thieves simply due to its popularity.
Additionally, when a car is popular, the market is bigger for after-market parts.
The model year also plays a role in why some vehicles are higher targets than others. Key fobs used in newer models are easily acquired and removes the need for hot-wiring. On the other hand, older vehicles without the standard anti-theft systems installed are also attractive to would-be thieves because they may be easier to break into.
As the value of metals continues to climb, so does the desire to steal car parts. The catalytic converter, which is made of precious metals like platinum and rhodium, is another magnet for car thieves.
Trucks and SUVs offer easier access to the catalytic converter for thieves and fuels the targeting of these types of vehicles.
Typically, older model years seem to be a bigger target for car thieves across all 50 states, from the late 90s to the mid-2000s. Whatever the make and model of your car, it’s a good idea to make sure your car insurance is up-to-date and would cover a stolen vehicle.
If your car is stolen, contact the police immediately. The NHTSA says you may need to provide the following information to the police:
by Emily Cahill
The effects of inflation facing companies and consumers alike may also cause your car insurance rates to rise when it’s time to renew your policy. Like many other financial obligations, car insurance is an expense that’s facing pressure due to disruptions caused by the pandemic and its economic effects.
According to industry and media reports, insurers may hike premiums from 6% to upwards of 10% this year. Understanding what’s fueling price increases may help you find ways to save. Here are the reasons rates are increasing and the steps you can take now to keep your costs as low as possible.
The effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the economic systems underpinning common industries like auto insurance are resulting in noticeable inflation in the economy overall and within many economic sectors. Inflation in auto insurance rates is due at least in part to the following factors:
With inflation hitting 7.5% on consumer goods, general cost increases are affecting multiple components of car insurance, from repairs to replacement costs.
While you can’t control how insurers price their policies, you can take action to avoid shouldering higher costs. Below are ways you can directly reduce your car insurance rates or mitigate increases.
Whether it’s rising car insurance prices or other areas of your life that are getting more expensive, taking action to help reduce costs is a good first step toward reducing the effects of inflation.
Emily Cahill is a writer for Experian, the world’s leading global information services company. As a finance and lifestyle writer she is passionate about empowering people to make smart choices in their financial and personal lives.
by Angie Kay Dilmore
Electric cars have been applauded for their smooth, quiet performance and lower impact on the environment. But lately they’re becoming even more attractive for a variety of reasons.With the recent price of gasoline, energy efficiency is driving many car shoppers to consider electric vehicles (EV). The cost to operate an EV is less than half of a gas-fueled car. Also, EVs have fewer moving parts than traditional vehicles, which means easier and less expensive repairs and maintenance.
More manufacturers are getting in on the EV market, making them more affordable and offering more variety. For years, Tesla was THE electric car. Now, companies like Chevrolet, Nissan, Volkswagen and others offer EVs. Even the popular Ford Mustang and F-150 are available in EV!
Some buyers fear the lack of range of EVs. Certainly, it is something to consider. No one wants to run out of . . . electricity. New EVs get approximately 250-300 miles on a full charge, which is great for most people day-to-day. Road trips are the concern. It might require some research and planning to know which hotels and businesses offer charging stations. Or consider buying a hybrid electric, which runs on both electric and gasoline.
Yes, electric vehicles will cost buyers more up front at the dealership. But there are incentives there, too. Some car manufacturers offer free “fill-ups” on a public charging network for a period of time. Some states offer incentives to EV buyers. In Louisiana, the electric vehicle incentive is a tax credit that will save buyers 10% on the purchase price of an electric or plug-in hybrid electric vehicle, up to $2,500. EVs can also qualify for a federal tax credit of up to $7,500, depending on the brand. The tax credit law allotted a fixed amount to each manufacturer. GM and Tesla have both already used their allotment.
So if all this sparks your interest, do some research and decide which electric vehicle could be a good fit for you. It might be a great time to buy!