Auto Insurance

May 3, 2009 on 2:57 pm | In Uncategorized | No Comments

Resources and tools about finding automobile insurance deals, need to know information, and tools
State Resources for Auto Insurance
Many states conduct yearly surveys comparing car insurance premiums. These are not premium quotes, but you can use this to get an idea of the costs and which insurers may be the best. Below is a list of states with links to their comparisons. More states will be added in the future.

California auto insurance premium comparisons
Florida auto insurance premium comparisons
Kansas auto insurance premium comparisons
Maine auto insurance premium comparisons
Michigan auto insurance premium comparisons
Missouri auto insurance premium comparisons
Ohio auto insurance premium comparisons
Texas auto insurance premium comparisons
Virginia auto insurance premium comparisons

If you have a link to a state which I haven’t included, please leave a comment in this this post


May 3, 2009 on 2:29 pm | In Uncategorized | No Comments

This blog is created by a couple of guys interested in providing value for consumers on the lookout for best deals in automobile purchases, auto insurance, auto loans, and automotive related deals.

Tools and Calculators

May 3, 2009 on 2:29 pm | In Uncategorized | No Comments

The Loan Calculator Tool

Electric, Hybrid, Fuel Cell Cars

May 3, 2009 on 1:33 pm | In Uncategorized | No Comments

This page is intended as a resource for our readers. Here we will keep track of new and concept vehicles that use new, eco-friendly power train systems like Hybrid engines, Fuel Cell powered engines, and Electric powered engines. Here is the list (on-going):

Audi has a hybrid too – the A2 – a hybrid that uses a lithium-ion battery to increase the battery life over the hybrid models. The battery is recharged overnight to increase the distance the hybrid could travel on electric power alone.

Audi 2 - Hybrid

Audi 2 - Hybrid



Chevrolet Volt Equinox Sequel
Volt – electric concept vehicle. 40 miles range on a 6-hour charge from home electric outlet. Gas engine to generate electricity to drive the car power train and extend range to 640 miles.
Equinox – a Hydrogen fuel cell powered SUV
Sequel – a Fuel Cell vehicle with 300 miles range between fill-ups. Acceleration is expected at 10 seconds for 0-to-60 mph

– coming up –

Altima, hybrid Altima hybrid – EPA fuel economy: 42 mpg city / 36 mpg highway; 198hp; claims faster 0-60 miles/hour acceleration than it gasoline 4-cylinder engine counterpart;


New Brands:
Alessandro Volta CS&S Fine-N
Alessandro Volta – A sports car concept powered by a 408-hp Hybrid Synergy Drive® (a 3.3-liter V6 with an electric motor for each axle); 435 miles on a 13.7-gallon tank, 0-to-60 mph in 4 sec.
CS&S – A sports car concept powered by Toyota’s Hybrid Synergy Drive® with electric motors driving front wheels, and both electric and gas engine powered rear wheels.
Fine-N — a hydrogen fuel cell powered concept vehicle with independent 4-wheel controls (sounds like an All Wheel Drive in todays’ vehicles)

C4 hybrid C-Metisse
C4 Hybrid — this model is a diesel hybrid vehicle – Citroen believes it is more efficient
C-Metisse — this is also a diesel hybrid vehicle; 205hp; 6.2sec for 0-to-62mph;


C-30(hatchback): a hybrid car with a electric and diesel engines; can travel approximately 45miles on batteries alone; can be charged at home (besides via the diesel engine)

The Tuareg SUV — will be the first hybrid for this car maker. Expect $2000-3000 premium for the hybrid version.
Jetta hybrid — expected in 2008;

The Cost of Owning a Hybrid Vehicle is Discussed

January 3, 2009 on 6:40 pm | In Uncategorized | No Comments

Recently there have been a bunch of articles dealing with the cost of owning and operating a hybrid vehicle. Here is summary analysis done by Intellichoice… You need to be careful though — the assessment done by Intellichoice still assumes that going forward the tax rebates given by the Fed. Gov’t will continue and that the price of gasoline will continue to rise. This is not necessarily the case.
Article published by Consumer Reports also shows that most hybrids also recover the initial premium buyers have to pay on purchase of the vehicles, but the overall cost benefit is not very pronounced.
At the end of the day, we all need to consider the hybrids. It is a good choice both from the standpoint of reducing carbon emissions, and from the standpoint of driving fun — hybrids do have fast acceleration thus making them interesting to drive. Plus the growing volume of hybrid purchased will continue to drive even their initial cost down.

Here is a link to the 2008 Intellichoice Survey

Shopping For the Best Auto Loans at Credit Unions

August 3, 2008 on 7:06 pm | In automobile purchase, decision analysis | No Comments

Before going to a dealership, make sure you get pre-approved for your car loan. Here’s what consumer advocate Clark Howard recommends:
Clark advises anybody seeking an auto loan to get pre-qualified at a credit union, which will offer lower rates than a bank.
But don’t just go to the first credit union you see. You can qualify to join many credit unions. By doing some searching, you can find the credit union which will offer you the best deal on a car loan. This post is intended to make this search easy.

Finding a Credit Union with Competitive Auto Loan Rates

A good resource to find all of your local credit unions is this Credit Union Locator. This will give you all of the credit unions near where you live. It’ll also give you the web address of each credit union. Most credit unions will list the auto loan rates on their website.
Another good resource is at BankingMyway which has a searchable database of local bank and credit union auto loan rates. If you use this, I bet you’ll notice that the best rates are from credit unions.

Joining a Credit Union
If the credit union is offering competitive rates, you’ll next want to check to see if you are eligible to join the credit union. Unlike banks, credit unions are only allowed to offer membership to certain groups or fields of membership. These can be based on employers, association memberships or where you live. Most credit union websites will include a page which describes their field of membership.
If you are eligible to join a credit union, membership typically requires a minimum balance in the credit union’s savings account (typically called a share account). This balance must be maintained to keep your credit union membership. Typically this amount ranges from $5 to $25.

Credit Unions Outside Your Area

You can be eligible to join many credit unions that may not have branches in your city. This gives you more options at finding the best rate. Some of these credit unions allow you to join online or by mail. You still have to be in their field of membership to be eligible to join. But this can often be easier than you might think. You can often qualify if you’re a member of some association that anyone can join. The association typically requires a small membership fee, but you don’t have to maintain the association membership to maintain your credit union membership.

How to Join Pentagon Federal Credit Union

A good example of this type of credit union is Pentagon Federal Credit Union. If you don’t qualify based on military, employer or family, you can become eligible by joining the National Military Family Association (NMFA). Please refer to Pentagon FCU’s How to Join overview page for details. Joining NMFA and Pentagon FCU can be done at the same time all online. The yearly membership for NMFA is $20, but your membership in the association does not need to be maintained to continue as a Pentagon FCU member (although the NMFA is a good association to support).

Car Loan Deals at Pentagon FCU

Pentagon FCU has a history of offering great . As of April 2008, the credit union has an especially good deal with a rate of 4.25% APR. This rate applies to terms from 12 to 72 months for new cars and from 12 to 60 months for used cars. This rate also applies to refinancing an auto loan.
This is an internet-only rate. Pentagon FCU sends you a blank check for the auto purchase within 2 days with limits you set when you do the online application. There have been reports that Pentagon FCU is a conservative lender who’ll typically require a decent credit score for you to qualify.
In addition to car loans, there are other reasons why you may want to join Pentagon FCU. They offer a great that pays 5% cash back for gas purchases when you pay at the pump, 2% for supermarket purchases and 1.25% on all other purchases. Pentagon FCU also offers good deals on mortgages, HELOCs and CDs.
Pentagon FCU is just one of many credit unions which provide easy nationwide membership. I’ve covered other credit unions in previous posts, which have also had great auto loan rates. In the months ahead, I’ll continue to post on more of these.

Useful Resource Before Shopping for Auto Insurance

January 3, 2008 on 7:11 pm | In car insurance | No Comments

Before you going shopping for car insurance quotes, you should check out auto insurance resources from your state’s website. In addition to providing basic insurance info, many states conduct yearly surveys of auto insurance premiums. You can use this to find some key auto insurers who might have the lowest premiums.
For example, here’s California’s auto insurance survey tool.. You enter some basic info about yourself and the coverage that you’re looking for, and it’ll show you premiums from several insurers. These are not premium quotes, but you can use these to quickly find the best insurers. And unlike the private insurance websites, you don’t have to provide any personal identification.
Here are some of the best rates I found when I used this California tool. I specified Los Angeles in Burbank, basic liability only, 7,600 to 10,000 miles driving per year and no violations or accidents. Some of the best premiums included:
Wawanesa $463
Pacific Specialty $653
Amica $699
USAA $707
Mercury $718
Geico $767
AAA $799
Here’s a list of states with links to their auto insurance premium comparisons:
California auto insurance premium comparisons
Florida auto insurance premium comparisons
Kansas auto insurance premium comparisons
Maine auto insurance premium comparisons
Michigan auto insurance premium comparisons
Missouri auto insurance premium comparisons
Ohio auto insurance premium comparisons
Texas auto insurance premium comparisons
Virginia auto insurance premium comparisons

I’ve left out many states, but I’ll keep working to expand it. If you have a link for a state that I haven’t included, please leave a comment.

Beware of Auto Identity Theft When Buying a Used Car

December 16, 2007 on 7:30 pm | In automobile purchase, decision analysis | No Comments

Four years after you buy a used car, the police confiscate it and you never get it back. This actually happened to a lady in South Florida. Her story is in this Sun Sentinel article. She had a sporty gray Mitsubishi Eclipse which she bought at a large car dealership. Both she and the dealership weren’t aware that it was a stolen car that had its vehicle identification number (VIN) replaced with another car’s VIN.
According to the article, cloning operations often target high-end models and their business is booming. Consumers often lose their cars when such fraud is found because the vehicles are considered stolen property.
Vehicle Cloning Prevention Tips
As the article describes, the thieves can be sophisticated and can be difficult to detect. They forge, duplicate or alter titles so VINs placed on the clone matches the documents. There are some steps you can take to reduce the chance of this happening to you. Here are some vehicle cloning prevention tips mentioned by the National Insurance Crime Bureau:

Check the vehicle’s VIN with appropriate government agencies and your state bureau of motor vehicles.
Analyze the ownership pattern for any new or late model vehicle with no lien holder.
Trust your instincts: If a used vehicle deal sounds too good to be true, walk away.
Have a private company conduct a vehicle history search.

Obtaining a Vehicle’s History Report

A vehicle history search can be done on the internet. Two choices are AutoCheck from Experian and CARFAX. Both searches cost around $25. The CARFAX tool is nice in that you can get a free and immediate summary of the car’s year, make, model and a few other car details by just entering the car’s VIN. I tried this out with my car and it worked perfectly. You’re then given the choice to purchase the vehicle event history.

Another dual fuel engine / vehicle in the making – Amonia Powered Vehicle

August 27, 2007 on 11:36 am | In alternative fuel, new concept | No Comments

Well folks the race to alternative fuels continues — now there is a new entrant. This time it is an Amonia powered engine. Actually it is a gasoline+amonia powered engine where according to NH3CAR (the company developing and commercializing the technology), the mix is 80% amonia and 20% gasoline. The company has outfitted a GM S-10 truck with the system to use the new fuel — a system which actually allows for the vehicle to use both gasoline only as well as gasoline + amonia mixture.
According to the company, this alternative fuel technology has one very critical benefit — it helps reduce carbon emissions in the atmosphere as amonia does not have carbon in its chemical composition.
So there you have it folks — the rising energy costs are finally creating enough incentives for technology development and companies (as well as universities) are jumping in.
In the case of Amonia University of Michigan grad student is behind the dual fuel technology development. At the same time, apparently Ohio State Univ. is developing amonia only engine.
When you think about it, both developments have merit. I agree in the early stages having the dual fuel system is important as refueling of amonia only engine would be a challenge (until infrastructure develops) but if the fuel and engine really work (based on amonia as a fuel) this infrastructure development should happen very fast. Amonia is so plentiful, the US and worldwide manufacturers have experience in its production, (after all it has been used in agriculture for a long time) so deploying the technology fast should not be a big challenge.
Lets see….. I will track the progress of the two approaches…

China Has Humvees Too (Sort of)

March 5, 2007 on 5:52 pm | In Uncategorized | No Comments

Well, in the past few postings I was focused on the decision making associated with buying a hybrid vehicle – tax incentives, HOV lanes, etc. Then as I was reading one of the China related sites over the weekend I came across a reference to an article on
The article is about China’s new crazy vehicle — not to be left behind, China decided to invent its own big beast of a SUV — a copy of the Hummer. Here is an image:

Dong Feng HanMa — you can see for yourself — isn’t this a copy of a Hummer? The specs for the vehicle (according to ) show a 8 cyl. AMG engine, 0-80 km/h acceleration of 17sec.; and the price tag is apparently 250K RMB (approx. US$35K). So, how about that? Ready to buy one… More images here

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