- The Washington Times - Friday, November 14, 2008

Insurance higher for hybrid damage

Hybrid vehicles may save money at the pump but not when it comes to the cost of insuring these vehicles against damage in crashes.

Overall insurance costs for crash damages are higher for about a dozen hybrid cars and sport utility vehicles than for their counterparts that are gasoline-powered only. The Highway Loss Data Institute analyzed insurance costs for 12 pairs of vehicles, all 2005-2007 models.

Consumer Reports has car-buying tips

Shoppers can call Consumer Reports New Car Price Service for information about the cost of various vehicles.

Armed with the wholesale, invoice and sticker prices, buyers can negotiate up from the wholesale price, rather than down from the sticker price: In other words, they can decide how much profit to give the dealer.

Smart buyers also should be knowledgeable about the extra costs of undercoating, rust-proofing, fabric protection and an extended warranty. Also, they should wait until after agreeing on the purchase price of a new vehicle before talking about a trade-in deal.

Consumer Reports provides estimated values of used cars at 800/509-9376. Call 800/348-1659 to order a book about negotiating for a vehicle.

More states ban drivers texting

California and Alaska are the latest states to ban text messaging by drivers of all ages. These two states join Connecticut, Louisiana, Minnesota, New Jersey, Washington and Washington, D.C. in banning texting while driving.

In a driver simulator, researchers found that composing a text message affected driving more that reading one. The drivers ages 17 to 24 used in the study had slower reaction time and were more likely to drift out of their virtual lanes, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

Calendar showcases ‘American Classics’

More than 26 photographs are included in the “American Classics” 16-month calendar.

You can take a drive down memory lane next year with detailed pictures and a brief history of each unique American car, by photographer/auto writer Dan Lyons.

A rectangular version of the calendar is available at calendars.com while the square format calendar is available in Office Depot stores.

Find car books on the Internet

The Internet can come to the rescue of auto enthusiasts looking for hard-to-find books and other material on the subject. They can try the online book search engine www.BookFinder.com.

BookFinder scans an estimated 40 million books on any subject and connects searchers with a network of thousands of booksellers.

Shoppers can order directly from the bookseller of their choice without paying any extra fees or surcharges, according to the founder of the service.

• Mail items of interest to AutoNotes, care of Bill O’Brien, The Washington Times Copy Desk, 3600 New York Ave. NE, Washington, D.C. 20002, or send an e-mail to [email protected]

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