Lose the SUV
No matter how high gasoline prices go, millions of Americans continue to lumber down the highway in their multi-ton dinosaurs that get 2.3 miles to the gallon. The biggest single reason for wanting one of these behemoths is probably the illusion of safety. If your big badass truck crashes into a smaller car, the other guy dies and you and your family will be safe and snug inside your land yacht. Right?
Wrong! Small cars are now much safer than they used to be. This is partially because of all the high-tech safety features that are so common — front and side air bags, anti-lock breaks, electronic stability control, etc. They're also made with higher-strength steel than their older counterparts.
Today’s compacts are larger and heavier; most of them weigh just under 3,000 pounds. This is the ideal weight for crash safety, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. It's the point of diminishing returns; additional weight adds less crash protection.
Several modern compacts have gotten the highest score available from the IIHS in front and side crash tests. So if safety is the reason you're continuing to drive a huge gas-guzzler, trade in your Brontosaurus for a compact. You'll be just as safe and you'll save lots of gas money. Who knows, you might even get fewer dirty looks and one-finger salutes.