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When it gets warm outside, your air conditioner becomes your best friend. This is most definitely true in your car, where temperatures can sky rocket to 170 degrees under direct sunlight. But most people these days are under the impression that the more you run your air conditioner the more gas your car will guzzle. Now that gas prices are higher than the cost to eat at McDonalds, people are starting to take precautions and do what they can to help with their cars fuel econo...

Does Running Your Cars Air Conditioner Really Affect Gas Mileage

Does Running Your Cars Air Conditioner Really Affect Gas MileageWhen it gets warm outside, your air conditioner becomes your best friend. This is most definitely true in your car, where temperatures can sky rocket to 170 degrees under direct sunlight. But most people these days are under the impression that the more you run your air conditioner the more gas your car will guzzle. Now that gas prices are higher than the cost to eat at McDonalds, people are starting to take precautions and do what they can to help with their cars fuel economy. The assumption that running your air conditioner burns way more gas is somewhat untrue. Leaving your air conditioner off makes barely any difference in the amount of gas you burn. With the advent of modern, more fuel efficient cars, this myth is busted!The air conditioner draws its power from the engine which uses some gas, but with todays cars, this use of gas is minute. The air conditioner can decrease the fuel economy of your car up to 20% in some vehicles, but it depends on the type. Driving with the air conditioner is more fuel efficient than driving with the windows down. Driving with the windows down creates drag which means that your engine has to work harder to keep your car at the current speed; this burns more gas than if you just ran your air conditioner.In the long run, using your air conditioner is far better than any other means of cooling yourself off in the car, unless youre driving in traffic. When you drive in traffic you arent going very fast so the drag on the car is minimal. In these cases, you burn more fuel running the air conditioner than having the windows down. That makes sense. When you drive on the highway you can use either the air conditioner or the window down method to cool yourself, because, honestly, there is no noticeable difference in gas usage at those speeds.More Below

Car Loans: Strategies You Should Not Overlook

Car Loans: Strategies You Should Not Overlook

Even if it is just chemicals outgassing, there's nothing like that new car smell. It says you're smart, responsible and successful. In fact, the only thing better than the new car smell is the pride you'll feel as you take your new wheels for a spin. It's certainly no secret that driving a stylish new car is fun and exciting. New cars carry warranties that protect you from unnecessary maintenance and repair bills for extended periods of time, so they can be great investments. The secret is in buying a brand new car, truck, van or SUV without deflating your budget. For many smart shoppers, the right car loans turn their new car dreams into realities. Direct Auto FinancingOne of the biggest money-saving actions you can take in purchasing your new vehicle is with financing through an independent car lender. This borrowing plan is referred to as "direct financing" or "direct loans." Direct financing is any kind of financing action, set up by you, without the help of the car dealer. There are considerable savings and minimal risks involved in direct loans, making them the best option for many new car buyers. When you walk into a dealership with a guarantee new car loan in hand, you've got automatic bargaining power. You're able to have an upper hand in negotiations, and you can stand equally to your dealer. In the end, this increase flexibility keeps you from falling into the common trap of dealership price fixing and additional financing costs. Shopping StrategiesThe first strategy in shopping for new car loans is securing independent financing. With that in mind, allow yourself further flexibility by applying for a loan limit of at least a little over what you expect to pay. This gives you extra room for flexibility at closing time, without having to worry about the loan limit. Of course, you're under no obligation to use your entire loan limit. Arranging for automatic payments is another way to lower your rates. By having your car loan payments deducted electronically from your bank account, you can save more money over the duration of your loan.Price HagglingCar dealers are seasoned professionals who are trained to get every dime out of you. For that reason, it's no wonder that so many people part with a lot of money after "negotiating" with a car dealer. Unless you're an experienced negotiator, or have an armor of thick skin, going through a new car purchase can be an agonizing experience. The best protection from slick sales types is to walk in to the dealership with your financing already in place. When you're in this position, you'll find car dealers haggling with each other to get your business. Talk to local car dealers, and make it clear to them that you've been shopping around. Let them understand that you won't settle for anything less than the very best deal. This leaves the dealers working to get your business, while all you need to do is choose the best one.Owning a new car can make you feel like a million bucks, without feeling like you've just spent a million bucks. Shop around for car loans and make smart financing decisions, and you'll soon be cruising along and taking in that new car smell.

On The Horizon: Future Fuels

On The Horizon:  Future Fuels

Between elevated gasoline prices (which show every indication of staying that way) and the current concern about the environmental impacts of vehicle emissions, you've probably been hearing a lot of discussion about the use of "alternative fuels." It sounds like a good idea, you think...but do you know what alternative fuels are actually in the running? Here's the shortlist of the alternative fuels to keep an eye on, and a major advantage and disadvantage for each:ElectricElectricity is a source of power that we already produce, store, and use. To power an electric vehicle (EV), electricity is produced by a power plant or other standard means and is then stored in the battery that will operate the vehicle.Pro: A vehicle powered solely by electricity produces no emissions.Con: In current models, batteries need to be recharged frequently.BiodieselBiodiesel is a fuel that is made from vegetable oils and animal fats through a chemical process called esterification. When the oils and fats are mixed with alcohol, their molecules break down into methylesters, which are then used as fuel, and a waste product of glycerin. It can be used in some diesel vehicles with very little, if any, modification to the existing engine.Pro: Potential fuel sources vary from grain crops to used cooking grease.Con: Biodiesel thickens and freezes at low temperatures.EthanolEthanol is a type of alcohol that is created through the fermentation of substances with high starch or sugar contents, such as corn or sugar cane. In this process, yeast bacteria consume the sugars and starches and produce carbon dioxide and ethanol as by-products. The use of chemical catalysts can be used to make the process faster and more productive.Pro: Ethanol can be produced from renewable agricultural resources.Con: Contains less energy than the same amount of gasoline.Hydrogen Fuel CellsHydrogen fuels cells harness the electrochemical reaction between hydrogen and oxygen. The bonding of hydrogen and oxygen atoms results in two products: energy, which is then stored as power in the cell, andyou guessed it: water.Pro: Hydrogen engines are typically more efficient than gasoline engines.Con: Current vehicle designs can only store enough hydrogen for short-range travel.At first, youll most likely see these fuels used in combination with current gasoline-engine technology. Hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs) utilize both a standard gasoline engine and a rechargeable battery, and are already offered by several car manufacturers. Hybrid vehicles with a gasoline engine and a hydrogen fuel cell are currently in development, and are estimated to hit the market in 2008 to 2009. Vehicles that are designed or modified to run on mixtures of gasoline and biodiesel or ethanol show promise, and are already in use.While some types of alternative-fuel vehicles arent yet readily available to the public, keep your eyes opena combination of research, public encouragement, and lively market competition brings that day ever closer. Honda and Toyota, the first automotive manufacturers to market HEVs in the United States, have already been joined by a handful of othersand the rest are likely to follow suit.

How To Get Cheap Automobile Insurance Online In Alabama

How To Get Cheap Automobile Insurance Online In Alabama

Everyone who drives a motorized vehicle on a public roadway in Alabama must buy automobile insurance. It's the law, and failure to purchase automobile insurance can result in your vehicle's registration being revoked, your driver's license being suspended, and fines and penalties that can easily add up to several hundreds of dollars.Rather than risk all of this, wouldn't it be better to simply get some cheap automobile insurance online and avoid all of the hassles?The question, of course, is how do you find the best and the cheapest price for automobile insurance online here in Alabama? The answer is to first put together an automobile insurance policy designed to save money - and only then get online and find out how much you can save by shopping around.If you are thinking of purchasing a car you should be aware that some cars cost a lot more to insure than others. Before you get your heart set on a make and model that you really can't afford to insure, talk to your agent and get a list of the least-costly automobiles to insure.Keep your driving record clean. Your driving record determines whether or not you can even get cheap automobile insurance in Alabama. Any moving violation, such as a speeding ticket, will increase how much you pay for insurance.If you have a DUI or a DWI conviction on your driving record then there is no way for you to get the cheapest rates on automobile insurance for a minimum of 3 years - possibly longer.Is there a garage where you can keep your car at night? If so, let your agent know as this will save you money month after month.Ask your agent if buying some simple anti-theft devices, such as a steering wheel lock or an electronic device which shuts off your fuel pump can save you money on your premium each month.If you modify your car in any way, particularly so as to make it faster, you will probably pay more for your insurance.Can you drive less? If you can use public transportation for the majority of your "driving" and you can keep your mileage down to 500 miles per month or less you should be able to qualify for a Low Mileage Discount.If you carpool at work let your agent know as this can save you money on your insurance. Likewise if you stop working and you are no longer driving back and forth to work every day this, too, can save you money every month on your premium.How much of a deductible can you afford? Don't promise to pay more than you really and truly can afford, but the higher your deductible the lower your monthly premium payment will be.O.K. Now it's time to take the tips you have learned in this article and go online. Find 3 different websites that allow you to make head-to-head comparisons of insurance policies and their prices from different insurance companies.Now, using what you've learned, enter the exact same information into the form on at least 3 different websites and keep track of your results. Simply choose the lowest price for the policy you have created and you're done. It's that simple.That's all you need to do to get cheap automobile insurance online in Alabama.

Fulltime RV Living: Choosing The Best Mobile Accommodation

Be it suburbia or the outdoors, lifestyle is very much influenced by our personality, our needs, and -- perhaps most of all -- our budget. Fortunately, in affluent countries like Australia, the diverse range of mobile accommodation options allows us to travel virtually anywhere we choose both comfortably and economically.What suits me, though, is not necessarily going to be your first choice, nor are your preferences likely to match those of your close friends or relatives. Result is, all segments of the camping and RV markets are doing quite nicely.Of course, at the budget end of the accommodation spectrum, tents are always high on the short-list of options, particularly for lovers of true outdoor freedom. On the other hand there are those who simply must have a few creature comforts, while still maintaining some degree of independence. This latter group is likely to opt for either a fully appointed caravan/travel trailer, or motorhome.For the rest of us, somewhere along that cost/comfort scale our ideal niche is there to be found. Keep in mind, however, ideal is really a sneaky way of saying acceptable compromise. After all, no matter what your choice -- tent, tent trailer, camper trailer, caravan, campervan, or motorhome -- compromise will be necessary between the key deciding factors of cost, comfort, self-sufficiency and mobility. The trap is, only you can balance that mix!Nevertheless, to help you identify your personal niche, here are a few of the essential differences between the popular options among nomadic travellers today:TentCamping under canvas has always attracted a strong (and growing) band of devotees. Tents are relatively inexpensive, available in a vast range of sizes and complexities, and allow the outdoor lover to retain complete freedom, flexibility and mobility.With tenting, though, the biggest drawbacks are the time it takes to get your camp set up, and the relative vulnerability to weather extremes. Together with sleeping, cooking and other equipment, a lot of vehicle space is required, and frequent changes of location become quite a chore with daily set-ups and pack-ups.Tent TrailerMoving up the budgetary scale, tent trailers might be your next consideration. These are essentially a small trailer with a built-on, collapsible frame-tent. Generally, they are more robust than regular tents, far easier to erect, and your bed (and some floor area) is raised above the ground. With a raft of optional awnings and add-ons, a tent trailer can become a canvas castle!Keep in mind, though, towing a trailer of any kind does impact, to some degree, on campsite accessability, although heavy-duty and off-road models minimise this effect (especially if towed by a 4x4).Another advantage is the freeing up of most of your vehicle load space, although you should also anticipate a quantum jump up the financial scale. (But if you already own a sturdy box-trailer, it may be adaptable.)Camper TrailerEven a low-spec camper trailer represents a further -- significant! -- hike in potential outlay over tent trailers (though the huge second-hand market is worth exploring). Even so, you stand to gain a considerable boost in comfort levels, particularly for long-term camps or extended touring.Certainly, camper trailers still require setting up in camp, but this is a fairly quick and painless operation. Towing, too, remains reasonably stress-free considering their low profile and lighter weight compared with full-size caravans. Even so, bush mobility and manoeuvrability does suffer over tent or tent trailer outfits. And dont forget those extra costs, such as insurance, registration, and increased fuel consumption.MotorhomeFor long-term or fulltime nomadic lifestyles, a full-size motorhome provides optimum comfort, convenience and all-round security. No towing is involved, while driving and parking is a breeze (except in very narrow streets and parking lots). Making camp, and moving off in the morning, is the easiest of all possible options.Their main disadvantage is the high cost (in motorhome rather than campervan configuration), and the fact that every time you move -- even to the store for milk or bread -- you have to pack-up your home. And if repairs become necessary out on the road, you may be faced with motel costs.Little brother of the motorhome, the campervan, has a similar set of pros and cons but is far less expensive to buy and operate, and considerably easier to get about in. For two people they represent an excellent all-round compromose for long-term touring, but get very tight around the shoulders for a fulltime lifestyle.CaravanFor the best balance of all between space, comfort and security, its hard to beat a reasonable size caravan/travel trailer. For lengthy stays at a base camp, while getting out and about in your car or 4x4, they are ideal. There are sizes, makes and models to suit most family needs and all budgets. And the pre-loved market is endless.Here again, though, mobility on backtracks can be greatly curtailed (even with some of the 4x4-rated rigs), and generally speaking, driving is more tiring, costly and slower. Visits to major towns, with tricky parking or tight turn-arounds, often become a real pain in the tailpipe.So what do I recommend? Well, unfortunately theres no simple answer! For example, depending on our plans, our camping and travelling alternates between lightweight touring (sleeping in our 4x4), and towing our home -- a 16 foot caravan. Every so often, we use a canvas tent for lengthier bush camps while visiting the high country.To my mind, there is no one-size-fits-all solution. But if youre planning to embark on a fulltime traveling lifestyle, my advice would be to identify -- and carefully examine -- your personal needs and aspirations, then set yourself up to suit the destinations and activities of most interest.Best part is, you have plenty of options.

Fulfilling Your Dreams Of Luxury With The Help Of Bmw Los Angeles

Since 1913, BMW has been revered as a vehicle of great luxury and performance. Todays modern drivers still look to the BMW to deliver the high-end quality for which it has been known for nearly 95 years. And while the BMW may have originated in Munich, Germany, it is a vehicle much beloved in America. If you look to those American cities renowned for glamour and luxury you will inevitably find a strong population of BMW drivers. So its no wonder that some of the most popular dealers in the country are BMW Los Angeles dealers.Los Angeles is a city strongly associated with prestige from the weather to the Hollywood industry; L.A. is home and host to a multitude of high-powered business and entertainment executives; it is where the money is and where the beautiful and rich go to work, live, and vacation. But unlike its east coast counterpart of New York City where public transportation thrives, Los Angeles is a city firmly rooted in driving. So it should stand to reason that the vehicles being driven in and around Los Angeles carry quite a bit of weight. "BMW Los Angeles" dealers know that they must deliver a wide variety of BMW models everything from sedans and compacts, to SUVs and motorcycles - befitting the L.A. lifestyle. Before purchasing your BMW from a BMW Los Angeles dealer make sure you have aligned your budget with your wish list. BMW is a luxury vehicle brand and as such it comes with a luxury vehicle price tag. But not all BMWs are same; if you are willing to sacrifice some bells and whistles you can own a BMW without quite as hefty payments. Shop online to compare prices and be mindful of pre-owned vehicles and deeply discounted year-end models.But vacationers can get in on the action as well; if you are visiting California and find a need to rend a vehicle, visit a BMW Los Angeles dealer for a luxury vehicle that will elevate your vacation from ordinary to spectacular!

Summary

When it gets warm outside, your air conditioner becomes your best friend. This is most definitely true in your car, where temperatures can sky rocket to 170 degrees under direct sunlight. But most people these days are under the impression that the more you run your air conditioner the more gas your car will guzzle. Now that gas prices are higher than the cost to eat at McDonalds, people are starting to take precautions and do what they can to help with their cars fuel econo...