Alert
Close

Help hungry seniors. Deliver help and hope before Thanksgiving. Donate

Highlights

Open

You and Your Town Contest-You could win an AARP RealPad

AARP Auto Buying Program

Contests and
Sweeps

$10,000 Winter Escapes Sweepstakes

Beat the cold and cozy up to a chance of winning $10,000! See official rules.

Driver Safety

Piggy bank on the road - AARP Driver Safety

Take the new AARP Smart Driver Course!

AARP Books

Visit the Money Section

Enjoy titles on retirement, Social Security, and becoming debt-free.

Jobs You Might Like

most popular
articles

Viewed

Cut Your Car Costs

Saving money just takes a little creativity — try these clever tricks

En español | Americans love driving — and pay dearly for it. In 2010 it cost more than $8,500 to drive a midsize sedan 15,000 miles, according to the American Automobile Association, which factored in gasoline, maintenance, insurance, and depreciation. Car expenses run second only to housing costs in the United States, and they are getting no cheaper: Compact used cars sell for almost 17 percent more than they did in summer 2010, reveals the Manheim used-car price index.

See also: More tips to cut car and gas costs.

Cut Your Car Costs in Half

Relax — we have tips to cut your car costs. — Photo by Dan Saelinger

But there's good news: New technology and old-fashioned common sense can transform your driving lifestyle and cut your costs in half, or more. Here's how.

Learn to Share

Typically touted as a transportation alternative for the young and the carless, a car-sharing service that rents vehicles by the hour or day makes sense for older drivers, too — especially those who can combine it with biking, walking, and mass transit. Market leader Zipcar operates in 15 metropolitan areas and on more than 230 college campuses, and rental giant Hertz recently launched a similar program, Hertz on Demand. About 12 percent of Zipcar's 605,000 members are over 50 — among them, retired financial manager Patricia Hogan, 74, of Cambridge, Massachusetts. Her annual car costs are now about $1,400 a year, less than half of what she once spent to keep her old Toyota on the road. "I love driving, but I wouldn't own another car for all the tea in China," says Hogan.

If you own a car that sits all day, you can put it to work by joining a peer-to-peer car-share service such as RelayRides or Getaround; they allow members to rent vehicles from one another. And if you haven't done it since grade school, reconsider carpooling. Dr. David Rizzo, a 60-year-old Los Angeles podiatrist and transportation expert known as Dr. Roadmap, calls it "the best possible way to immediately cut your driving costs in half." Alternating drivers saves gas (one rider doubles your passenger miles per gallon*) and reduces vehicle wear. To help set up a pool, websites Carpool Connect and eRide Share let users leave messages and find commuters seeking rides. Or try GoLoco, a carpoolers' social media site that sends alerts when friends (or friends of friends) are heading places they want to go.

Rizzo, alas, can't follow his own advice: He averages 100 miles a day seeing patients around Los Angeles. For solo drivers, route planning is key. Instead of multiple short hops, pack several trips into one longer errand, and drive to your farthest destination first (that also gets the engine warm, so it runs most efficiently). To plan an itinerary, smartphone users can use the free app Maps + Compass; to monitor traffic, download the app Aha, which gives real-time road info. To find cheap gas, preview prices online at GasBuddy or GasPriceWatch.

Next: Consistent maintenance is key. >>

Topic Alerts

You can get weekly email alerts on the topics below. Just click “Follow.”

Manage Alerts

Processing

Please wait...

progress bar, please wait

Tell Us WhatYou Think

Please leave your comment below.

The Cheap Life

Jeff Yeager Cheap Life Ultimate Cheapskate AARP YouTube web series save money

Catch the latest episode of The Cheap Life starring Jeff Yeager, AARP's Ultimate Cheapskate. Watch

Discounts & Benefits

From companies that meet the high standards of service and quality set by AARP.

Life insurance: you are covered rain or shine

Exclusive annuities for members from AARP Lifetime Income Program from New York Life.

AARP Credit card from Chase

Members can get cash back rewards on purchases with the AARP® Credit Card from Chase.

Homeowners Insurance
Member Benefits

Join or renew today! AARP members receive exclusive member benefits & affect social change.

Rewards for Good

Your Points Balance:

Learn More

Earn points for completing free online activities designed to enrich your life.

Find more ways to earn points

Redeem your points to save on merchandise, travel, and more.

Find more ways to redeem points