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5 tips for buying a vehicle this spring

(NC) Let's face it. Spring fever isn't about love at all; it's about cars. New cars, used cars, car shows, car showrooms, car ads, that new car smell and test drives. For those in the market for a vehicle this spring, there are some things you can do to make the experience interesting, rewarding and satisfying.

The first is to become informed. A video produced by the Office of Energy Efficiency at Natural Resources Canada is a great place to start. The video is fun, entertaining and informative plus it describes everything you need to know for making that all-important first purchase. In a nutshell, it offers five great tips for buying your first car.

Analyze your driving needs. Where do you live? What do you do? How will you use your vehicle? How many people and things will you carry along with you? How much will you travel each day? These are just a few of the questions you can ask yourself to help give you a realistic idea of the size and type of vehicle you'll need.

Analyze your choices. Gasoline, diesel, electric or hybrids are your basic power choices nowadays and each has its advantages depending on your driving needs.

Avoid temptation. There are some thirsty, fuel-guzzling vehicles out there and they're not all pickup trucks or large SUVs. You can find a vehicle with moderate thrills that won't cost a bundle to fill up or maintain.

Think light, think small, think efficient. Your friends will be impressed with your concern for the environment if you choose a smaller, more fuel-efficient vehicle that produces fewer greenhouse gases. Why buy a bigger, more expensive vehicle when a smaller, greener one will do?

Do the math. Check the EnerGuide label on the vehicle for the fuel consumption ratings. The label gives you an idea of how many litres; always strive for the lowest fuel consumption rating. For example, a vehicle with a fuel consumption rating of seven litres per 100km would use about half the fuel than a vehicle with a rating of 14 litres per 100km. If you're looking to purchase a used vehicle, you can still get fuel consumption ratings from websites such as, which will also give you estimated annual fuel cost. What a great tool for budgeting.

By analyzing your driving lifestyle, choosing the vehicle and power that's right for you and doing your fuel consumption homework, you'll be driving in style in no time—with money in the bank and a green mindset.

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