Tag: Auto


What’s the Best Car to Drive for Uber?

By Holly Johnson
December 14, 2017

When it comes to side hustles, driving for Uber is easily one of the most flexible options available. You can turn on your app and work anytime you want, and you never have to commit to a fixed schedule. And really, there are few requirements to get started. If you’re over 21 and have a driver’s license, a clear driving record, rideshare insurance, and a decent car, then you’re basically “hired.”

But, that doesn’t mean that any car will do if you want to drive for Uber. The rideshare company has their own set of standards you have to meet for your car to qualify, although they are fairly broad and can depend on where you live. In Indiana, for example, your car has to meet the following requirements to become eligible for Uber rides:

  • Model year 2002 or newer
  • 4-door car or minivan
  • Good condition and no cosmetic damage
  • No commercial brandingIn New York City, on the other hand, your car needs to be a model year 2006 or later. Before you take the plunge to sign up for Uber, make sure to check local requirements to make sure your car is a good fit.

Which cars work best for Uber drivers?

Beyond Uber’s requirements, there are still some cars that work better for ridesharing than others. And if you’re looking for a new car with the intention of driving for Uber, you’ll want to pay attention to the details.

As you search for cars that might work for an Uber side hustle, consider cars that meet the following criteria:

1: Good gas mileage

Especially in the city. If you’re driving for Uber in an effort to rake in some cash, then your car’s fuel economy should be one of your biggest priorities. A car with good mileage will cost you less to fill up, which will leave you with bigger profits as you drive.

According to Consumer Reports, 2017 models with the best city driving fuel economy include:

  • BMW i3Giga
  • Ford Focus Electric
  • Chevrolet Volt LT
  • Mitsubishi i-MiEV SE
  • Tesla Model X 90DThis is just a sampling, as there are obviously tons of cars with good fuel economy from nearly all model years that qualify to driver for Uber. You don’t need to drive a new car to get good fuel economy, but you do need a car that is efficient, especially in the city since you’ll spend a lot of your time driving for Uber off the highways.

2: Affordability

While fuel economy is a big deal for Uber drivers, it’s not the only criteria to consider. The Tesla mentioned above may get 90 miles per gallon in the city, but it will set you back at least $82,000. Obviously, you’ll struggle to make money as an Uber driver if you’re paying a lot for an auto loan.

This is why price point is a big consideration, too. You want a car that gets good gas mileage, but you don’t want to overspend. The Ford Focus mentioned for fuel economy has an MSRP of $16,775 – $36,120, making it a much better deal. But there are literally dozens of cars out there that offer a good combination of affordability and fuel economy, and that includes older model cars.

2012 Toyota Prius may get as much as 40 mpg driving in the city, but could cost less than $11,000. Make sure to consider car price and fuel economy as you find the best Uber car for your needs.

3: Safety features

Whether you’re driving for Uber or hauling around your own family, it’s important to keep safety in mind. The safety features your car does or doesn’t have could make a big difference in your driving experience and whether someone becomes injured during a crash. Solid safety features can also help you save money on auto insurance, which could help make your Uber business more profitable as a result.

Some of the most important safety features include:

  • Automatic emergency braking
  • Forward-collision warning
  • Blind-spot warning
  • Rear cross-traffic warning
  • Rear automatic emergency braking
  • Lane departure warning
  • Lane keeping-assist
  • Lane-centering assist
  • Adaptive cruise controlWhile it might be difficult to find a car that has all these safety features, you should definitely consider one that has at least a few. Ideally, you’ll find an affordable car that gets good gas mileage that also comes with safety features you can count on.

4: Spacious interior

Last but not least, you’ll need a car with plenty of room. Uber rides are good for up to four guests, so you’ll need space for three butts in the back of your car as well as a rider in the front.

Since even the smallest cars like a Toyota Prius can easily hold five adults, you shouldn’t have much trouble finding a car that fits the bill. Still, it’s worth considering whether your guests will have room to relax – and whether your trunk might be able to hold their luggage and gear.

Which car should you drive for Uber?

So, which car should you drive for Uber? At the end of the day, there are dozens of automobiles and model years that offer good fuel economy, an affordable price, and features that will keep your riders safe and help you save money on auto insurance.

So keep your eyes open and look for a ride that’s affordable, stylish, safe, and as far from a gas guzzler as you can get. After all, the whole point of driving for Uber is making extra money – not spending it.

This article originally appeared on PolicyGenius.
Image: Drazen_


Forget That New Car: How Cars Destroy Your Finances

By Due.com
December 7, 2017

How much do you think your car affects your finances? While we can’t drive without insurance, gas, taxes, or maintenance, we do have control over much of our automotive spending. And while all of those ancillary costs of car ownership add up, the biggest cost of all is buying or leasing a new car.

Keeping your car a long time is a smart financial decision

My car is 10 years old this year, and I bought it brand new in 2007 with a modest loan. I rushed to pay down the debt, the first loan I ever had, and made the final payment about two and a half years later. In the nearly decade since, I have never made a car payment. When I met my wife, she was in a similar situation and owned her car outright.

That got me thinking about what other people typically do with their cars. We have paid exactly zero dollars in car payments for so long, it is easy to forget that many people rush to get the latest model with the flashiest features. But those buyers pay a lot of money for the latest and greatest. The average monthly car payment on a new car is $504 per month for a new loan and $412 per month for a new lease, according to data from Experian.

What a new car every three years costs

If you want to get into a new vehicle every three years, you are most likely better off leasing over buying. But that means you will always have a payment. As long as you lease and don’t own your car, truck, or SUV, you have to pay every month, just like if you were renting an apartment or home.

With the average cost of a new lease coming in at $412, that is $4,944 per year in car payments. At nearly $5,000 per year, that is more than a couple of trips to Europe, almost enough to max your Roth IRA, or start a business. Me, personally, I prefer to put my spare cash in a combination of savings and retirement investments.

If you work 40 years and lease a vehicle for your entire career, that is $197,760 in car payments! But that doesn’t take into account interest you would have earned if you invested that $412 per month. If you factor that in, assuming 7 percent interest and monthly compounding, new cars cost you $1,081,423 over your career. That is not a typo. If you know someone who always has a new car, they are throwing away over $1 million to do so.

Keeping your car for 10 years saves big

I drive a boring but reliable car, a 2008 Toyota Carolla. I’ve never had to do more than standard maintenance and have very low insurance rates as a married father with no moving violations for nearly as long as I’ve owned the car. I always treat my car well and want it to last a long time, and true to the Toyota reputation it has held up very well. (I did have to go get new airbags due to a recall, but Toyota paid for that.)

I could easily see myself driving this car at least five more years, but let’s just say that 10 years is my limit. In that case, car ownership is still a lot cheaper than leasing and upgrading every few years.

At the start of 2017, a new car cost $34,968, according to averages from Kelley Blue Book. If you are able to buy your car outright with no loan, that is an instant $14,472 savings compared to leasing a new car every year or an average of $1,447 per year. It might not seem like much, but factoring in interest and the time value of money, we know that you ultimately save a lot more than $1,447 per year, not that nearly $1,500 is anything to sneeze at.

Forget about the Joneses

Everyone wants to drive a sexy, flashy car or have the best new features, but is that really worth the cost? Many people’s actions say no.

In high school, I was at an event with the Boy Scouts of America and we went around the room and said an interesting fact about ourselves. I’ll never forget the older gentleman, in his 70s, who shared that he still drove the first car he ever bought. I didn’t realize it then, but he was sharing a smart financial lesson with us younger scouts. The Scout Law includes the line, “a Scout is Thrifty,” and this Scouter certainly lives up to that law in his daily life.

Sure, the latest Bluetooth 5.0, in-dash touchscreens, and other fancy features are fun, but are they worth $1 million? I would argue no, and so does your bank account balance. If you can safely get from point A to point B, you have everything you need. America, stop wasting so much money on cars.

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