Think carefully before trading in

Think carefully before trading inMany drivers right now are enthralled with the idea of turning in their old gas guzzlers for one of the new, highly fuel-efficient models, but Consumer Reports suggests that buyers really analyze all the angles before pulling the trigger on a new car loan, lease or purchase.

It might seem like a no-brainer – nobody wants to shell out a ton every time they go to fill up. Yet drivers should really realize how much a new car will save them over time. A big jump in fuel economy can result in $20-$30 in savings everytime you visit the pump.

However, if you only really go once or twice a month, that really doesn't end up saving you a whole lot of money over the life of a car – maybe a few hundred or possibly even over a thousand if you're lucky. Considering the high cost of expenses that come with purchasing a vehicle, it might not be worth it. Small, fuel-efficient cars are in high demand right now, and many of them are marked up to the point that you'll be overpaying more than you'll end up saving at the pump.

Keep in mind as well that you'll be eating the depreciation of any new vehicle, whereas your old car won't depreciate at nearly the same rate.

On the other hand, the prices for used cars are reported to be up 30 percent right now – meaning higher prices for trade-ins. If you've been looking to get rid of your old car for awhile, now could be one of the best times to do it.