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I was going to mention the rental car idea as well. Just check out the rates, they have gone up recently. I read an article a few weeks ago about this and the reason is that the car manufactures have been doing the buyouts to close down some of their plans so are not selling as many inexpensive cars to rental car companies now. I think that it was in businessweek if you want to try to find it.

..Any suggestions on how I would get started finding my retirement car?...

If you are thinking about buying new, now is a good time to get a 2006, especially with a larger car. These did not sell well this year when gas was three bucks a gallon. I just bought a new Toyota Tacoma truck this weekend. I knew exactly what I wanted so I started out at and filled out the form to get dealers bids. They came back with some real good numbers that I could not have gotten even close to this summer when we started shopping for a truck. After just a few emails and phone calls to confirm which fees were included and what the "out the door" price would be, I was able to go to the dealer and only be there for about an hour and a half. The dealer that is closest to me agreed to match the price of a dealer that was farther away. I choose new because we wanted a Toyota and they hold their value so well that a used one with 70K miles didn't cost all that much less than new. I figure that we will keep the truck at least 15 years.

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