Record-high gas prices have car shoppers asking an extra question: What can I afford to fuel? First, check the EPA mileage ratings; then follow up with these tips to settle on a car that's kind to you. For more details, visit AAA.com/auto  and click on "Buying a Car."
- Know what you want It's easy to fall for a seductive set of wheels. Make sure the vehicle you choose fits your lifestyle. Long commute? Think hybrid. Got kids? Test a station wagon.
- Hit the books At AAA.com/auto , you can compare vehicle safety ratings, get Kelley Blue Book pricing, and find a list of AAA-approved auto dealerships in your area.
- Drive it Don't baby the model you want during a test drive; treat it as if you owned it. Better yet, rent one for a weekend.
- Reject lemons Use Carfax through AAA.com/auto —where you'll save 20 percent of the fee—to track a used car's history.
- Not interested in haggling? Look into our Vehicle Purchasing Service at AAA.com/auto , which pairs buyers with dealers who offer prenegotiated prices.
Now that you're breathing that new-car smell, check out our new low auto insurance rates at AAA.com/insurance .
This article was first published in September 2008. Some facts may have aged gracelessly. Please call ahead to verify information.