If you’re shopping for a new, Eco-friendly way to get around town, chances are you’ve gone over most of your options. Either get yourself a nice, fuel-sipping sedan, a hybrid like the uber-efficient Toyota Prius or venture into the exciting world of fully electric vehicles. Or you could always get that snazzy electric scooter you’ve seen your neighbor on a few times. But the thought of zipping down the street with arms full of groceries in the rain exactly doesn’t seem like the most practical thing in the world, so scratch that. Sorry, scooter.
Now that we’ve narrowed down the options to vehicles of the four-wheeled variety, we have a decision to make. But first, let’s break down some of the differences between the three types of Eco-friendly vehicles to help you make an informed decision on which one is right for you.
Gas Powered Vehicles
OK, we’re going to be honest here, gas vehicles are the least Eco-friendly option here by a mile. Even some of the most fuel efficient gas-powered cars on the road will only net you upwards of 30-35 mpg. The bigger the car gets, the more gas it sucks up, so you’re also limited to sedans and coupes as well if you want to stay relatively green.
A huge advantage of gas-powered vehicles remains the sheer overall selection and diversity of models to choose from. If you have your heart set on a certain car that you love inside and out, don’t worry, chances are it’s gas powered.
That means you can you can shop from A – Z and choose a make of your choosing with all of the features you need, while keeping fuel efficiency in the back of your mind. Just know that you’ll still be making those routine trips to the pump, so make sure to keep an eye on that fuel gauge.
Diesel fuel powered cars can push miles per gallon numbers into the lower 40s, but tend to be a little more on the pricey side when it comes down to opening up your wallet at signing.
At the end of the day, gas-powered vehicles have one major advantage over it’s electric counterparts – range capacity. Even though the new Tesla Model S with an extended battery can get an impressive 335 miles per charge, it still falls short to standard gas-powered cars that can go well beyond that on a single tank. However when you factor in hybrids into the equation…well that changes a few things.
Gas Powered Cars are Ideal For Those:
- Who don’t want to be limited by vehicle selection
- Who want the ease of fueling up wherever/whenever
- Who want longer average range distances
- Who don’t mind paying more for fuel
- Who aren’t exactly the most Eco-friendly
Hybrid vehicles are the best of both worlds. Powered by both electric and gas powered components, hybrid vehicles have been around for some time now, with the most well-known hybrid, the Toyota Prius, leading the way.
With a traditional hybrid, the car uses a mix of gas and electric to provide the most fuel-efficient driving experience possible. All you have to do is fill up your ride with gas like you normally would, go about your day, and watch as you lap your friends as they stop off to refuel. There’s no need to search for a charging station to keep going, eliminating the panic attack of running out of juice in the middle of nowhere. The most efficient rides can return close to 60 mpg with the 2019 Toyota Prius ECO and the 2019 Hyundai Ioniq Blue putting up 59 and 58 mpg respectively.
Selection has become more and more widespread during the past 20 years, as auto manufacturers became mandated to produce more efficient vehicles that utilized cleaner energy. That’s why in 2019 you can find many hybrids featured heavily in a brand’s lineup, making finding a hybrid that is actually cool and fun to drive easier than it’s ever been.
Another element to the hybrid market comes in the form of plug-in electric vehicles or (PHEV). These vehicles have battery packs that can be charged and fully power the vehicle, albeit for a short amount of time. After the battery is drained, the vehicle switches over to it’s gas option, allowing you to continue your journey.
Most plug-in hybrids can get by on electricity for about 12-90 miles, depending on the hybrid before gas takes over. That means in order to get both electric and gas range, you must fuel both. You’ll need to juice up your ride daily in most cases due to the limited range the plug-ins possess, but there’s peace of mind knowing you’re only a couple of gallons away to getting back on the road if you’re in a pinch.
In most cases, individuals with shorter commutes can solely rely on the electric portion of the vehicle and can skip gas altogether, which can shave a hefty amount off your fuel bill.
Other hybrid perks include access to carpool travel lanes in certain areas and yearly government tax breaks if you own your hybrid – up to $7,500 in some cases. However, if you lease a hybrid, the tax credit stays with the auto manufacturer, since technically the bank still owns the car, so keep that in mind when leasing.
Hybrid Vehicles are Ideal For Those:
- Who want the flexibility to go from electric to gas when refueling/charging
- Who have generally shorter commutes and travel distances
- Who don’t mind having a more limited selection of vehicles
- Who want to save big at the pump without sacrificing range
Just a few decades ago, fully electric vehicles that were both practical and affordable seemed like a fairy tale.
Enter Elon Musk and Tesla.
With an emphasized point in making their electric vehicles both sleek and sexy, as well as performance driven, Tesla redefined what an electric car could be. Gone were the days of mundane electric vehicles that were just as boring as they were average. Instead, Tesla said “here’s something called “Ludicrous Mode”, go race a Lamborghini.
Needless to say, we were hooked.
Fast forward to 2019 and this is the first year you’ll really start seeing affordable electric vehicles on the street in droves, with the rollout of Tesla’s Model 3.
So, does that mean you should walk in a Tesla store and drop your hard earned cash and go full electric? Here are a few things to consider using Tesla’s Model 3 as an example.
An electric vehicle is powered solely by electric motors and charged either at your home or wherever there’s an available charging station. Charging can take a while (Tesla estimates 12 hours on their Model 3 at 220V for a full charge) but once you’re all juiced up you can enjoy a range of up to 310 miles with an extended range battery. Of course, you still need to be wary not to stray too far from home or you might run the risk of hitting 0% and hitchhiking your way home.
As impressive as the range is on the Model 3 the performance is where the Tesla really shines, with a 0-60 time of a scintillating 3.3 seconds. In case you were wondering, that’s very fast.
Operating an electric car is ultimately cheaper when it comes to energy consumption as well:
The average cost to operate an EV in the United States is $485 per year, while the average for a gasoline-powered vehicle is $1,117, according to the study by Michael Sivak and Brandon Schoettle of Michigan’s Transportation Research Institute. – Jeff McMahon, Forbes
You’ll also benefit from a tax credit, as with the hybrids, but take advantage while you can, since the more and more widespread electric vehicles become, the less incentivized they will be.
Electric Cars are Ideal For Those:
- Who want to completely ditch the gas station
- Who value emissions-free driving
- Who want to save money on fuel
- Who want to specifically drive a Tesla
- Who don’t have to commute for extremely long distances at a time
At the end of the day, to determine whether gas, electric or a hybrid vehicle is right for you, it really boils down to your lifestyle. If you’re a city dweller, a plug-in hybrid might be your best bet. If you travel long distances for work or school, a traditional hybrid might work the best. If you’re willing to sacrifice fuel efficiency for model diversity and performance, still to gas-powered. And finally, if you’re kind of in between, you might opt for an all-electric vehicle like a Tesla.
Ultimately, whichever option you decide to go with make sure to consult with the auto experts at Capital Motor Cars. Our experienced staff will be happy to go over your options and offer their expert opinion that fits both your heart and your wallet.