Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last several years, you are probably aware of the global problems we’re facing where greenhouse gas emissions are concerned. Just about everyone has started to experience the effects of global warming (extreme weather conditions) thanks to the hole in the ozone layer. And of course, vehicle pollution is to blame for all kinds of health issues, from asthma to allergies to more serious respiratory (or other) issues. Some people even suspect that harmful hydrocarbons emitted by cars could be responsible for certain forms of cancer. So when it comes time to shop for a new vehicle, perhaps you should consider a hybrid or electric car that can dramatically reduce your carbon footprint.
Here are just a few benefits you can expect from such a purchase.
- Cost of purchase. These days, hybrid and electric vehicles have become common enough that you can often find one similarly priced to just about any car you’re considering purchasing. And with many dealers offering certified pre-owned vehicle programs, you may be able to find what you’re looking for at an even better price. Although there are certainly eco-friendly cars that will cost you a lot more (those made by luxury brands, for example), you can find options for just about every price range.
- Tax deductions. Although the tax incentives for hybrid vehicles (provided as part of the Energy Policy Act of 2005) went the way of the dodo at the end of 2010, you can now find a different set of incentives pertaining to plug-in hybrids and electric cars. Those who buy this new breed of green vehicle can get a federal tax credit of up to $7,500 for the car and up to $2,000 for the installation of a charging station. You may also be eligible for state incentives. California, for example, is offering up to $5,000 in addition to the federal tax credit.
- Fuel efficiency. This is one of the best reasons to opt for a hybrid or electric car over the solely gas-burning variety, especially with gas prices going up with no end in sight. While the average sedan can reasonably be expected to get 20-30 miles for every gallon of gas, most hybrids of a similar size can pull in 40+ mpg. And electric vehicles require no gas at all (although the equivalent cost of electricity can be considered to be less than $1 per gallon). So you’ll be saving a lot at the pump and going farther on the same amount of gas.
- Emissions. The whole point of an eco-friendly automobile is to reduce the emission of greenhouse gases. And by cutting down on the amount of fuel you’re using, you’ll also reduce harmful emissions that are spewed into the environment with your exhaust. While an electric vehicle is really the best option on this front (since it offers zero emissions), it may not be feasible for those who frequently travel long distances. So at least consider a hybrid as a way to significantly reduce emissions. A plug-in hybrid is even better since it can travel several miles on a full charge (usually 35-40 miles) before the gas engine kicks in.
- Recyclable battery. One last benefit of the eco-friendly vehicle comes when the electric battery stops working. Many people mistakenly believe that these batteries cannot be recycled, but in fact, they are more recyclable than the lead-acid batteries used in fuel-cell vehicles. They are turned into pulp and then mined for metals like copper, nickel, aluminum, and cobalt, which cuts down on a lot of the waste that makes its way to the landfill.
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