Prices for premium fuel are bouncing over $4.25 here in the Northeast, which means I’m seriously considering picking up a fuel efficient beater car to have as a daily driver. I’m looking at everything from used Toyota Tercel’s to Honda Accord’s and everything in between. There is however one major catch – my budget is $1000.00. Obviously a 1k budget eliminates anything that one would consider to be “nice”, but as I already have a nice car, I’m not too worried about its looks. What I am concerned with however is how the car runs and has it been serviced regularly. Now some of you may be thinking that you can’t find a good car for $1000.00, but I completely disagree. In fact I’m betting I can find a good old lady car for a G-note right in my neighborhood if I look hard enough.
First off you’ve got to lower your expectations about driving anything nice. Setting your sights nice and low means that things can only get better. Next you must identify your targets, for example stick with budget cars from the mid-1980′s to the mid-1990′s and you’ll be fine. Cars like the aforementioned Toyota Tercel, old Buick Century’s, Regal’s and Chevy Cavalier’s are a dime a dozen and all get upwards of 25-30 mpg on 87 octane fuel. Once you’ve identified your targets look at multiple cars, throw out a low ball price and go from there. My bet is that you’ll get something better than you originally thought and come in under budget. Stay tuned because I’ll keep you posted as to what I find.