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Good news for roamers

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Brace yourself… and check your mileage

Although nobody can explain why the world’s oil companies are making record profits while at the same time claiming hardship and uncertainty in the market as they jack up their prices, it seems we’re in for another spike.

If you thought the recent lurch to over $1 a litre was tough when oil prices broke US$50 a barrel for the first time, imagine what will happen when the price of oil "super spikes" at US$105 per gallon – as investment firm Goldman Sachs predicted last week.

At first everybody wondered whether Goldman Sachs was pulling an April Fool’s joke, but they’re dead serious. Oil prices will continue to climb, and as the price ceiling rises, so will the floor.

Obviously there are some things you can do to keep your fuel costs down – walk, cycle, take the bus, carpool, keep your vehicle well maintained, pop into neutral when going downhill, siphon, or convert your engine to run on gas pump rage. But the best way to cope might be to rethink your vehicle.

Most SUVs get half the mileage of cars, and cars get half the mileage of hybrid technology, which is already entering the third generation of development at Toyota and Honda. Vehicle size is a big factor in fuel costs, but it’s not the only one – some engines are simply more efficient than others, delivering similar performance while guzzling less fuel.

If you’re in the market for a new car, I suggest you stop at the Environmental Protection Agency’s mileage website at www.fueleconomy.gov. On this website you can compare the mileage of every single make and model as far back as 1985, as well as various other performance characteristics. You can even compare two makes and models side-by-side.

This is an American website so there may be subtle differences – you may not be able to find your specific car with your specific engine on their site because of differences in manufacturing and assembly.

And because this is an American site, mileage is actually given in miles. Just remember that there are 1.61 kilometres in a mile and 3.54 litres in a gallon. The cost per year estimates will also have to be converted into Canadian dollars.

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