Wednesday, September 23, 2015

What to Look for in a Green Car

Lexus CT200h. Photo courtesy of Lexus.
Many car shoppers are looking for a greener car than the one they currently drive. For some it's about feeling like they are making a difference when it comes to the environment, while for others the desire for a green car is about saving money on fuel and other costs related to car ownership. Some car shoppers are concerned about dependence on foreign oil and its socio-political ramifications. There is also the benefit of various government purchasing incentives for certain types of vehicles that draw in buyers. Whatever your personal reason for purchasing a green vehicle, there are certain things you need to look for when evaluating your options.

One of the key areas to pay attention to is overall value. Some people fall into the trap of only looking at the price of a new car, while others are mesmerized by the estimated fuel economy and overall efficiencies. Value incorporates both factors and more, helping you ensure that your next vehicle is a purchase you won't regret. You must consider what you will be using the car for, such as only commuting, transporting your family, or even going on weekend excursions. Take close look at the different features and evaluate how those will affect your lifestyle. Research each model's reputation for reliability, as well as the included manufacturer's warranty, emissions information, an interior construction. You must also remember to purchase a vehicle that is the appropriate size for whomever will be riding in it regularly.

When it comes to fuel economy, you shouldn't necessarily always go with the more efficient vehicle. For example, if one model offers a five percent gain in fuel efficiency versus another, and the one car costs twenty percent more, you are not gaining much value for the extra money you spend, at least when it comes to fuel economy.

Range is another consideration, especially when you are considering purchasing an all-electric car. Most people overestimate how far they drive in a single day. You should research the estimated range of any models you are interested in buying, then watch the mileage of your car each day for a week or two. Compare how far you typically drive against the range of each model to evaluate if they would work with your lifestyle. Most electric car owners charge their vehicle at night, but if our employer has a vehicle charger on-site, that can also affect your decision about which car to purchase. You should research where different public chargers are located if you plan on using the vehicle for more than commuting to and from work and running a few errands here and there.

If you are looking for a green car as a way to minimize your impact on the environment, you also need to research how toxic the different interior components are. That new car smell some people love is actually the presence of toxins from the plastic as they evaporate into the air. Some automakers supply such information, but there are online organizations that compile lists of the least and most toxic vehicle interiors in an effort to encourage responsible purchasing decisions.

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