Toyota Prius 2010
As evidenced by BP’s recent oil-spill fiasco in the Gulf, the car culture that defines us as a civilization of individuals with unparalleled freedom of travel has also led our planet to the brink of disaster. And yet, many consumers still feel content to blithely ignore the warning signs by purchasing gas-guzzling road hogs like SUVs and super-duty trucks. However, there is a growing segment of the population that has serious concerns about where our unchecked use of petroleum is headed and how it will affect the future of our environment. And due to the growing demand for more fuel-efficient vehicles, several manufacturers have begun to offer hybrid, fully electric, or even alternative-fuel vehicles for eco-conscious consumers who want to do their part to reduce pollution and stop the drilling that disrupts the delicate balance of every ecosystem it comes in contact with. But with so many options surfacing, it can be difficult to choose the one that best suits your ideals and your lifestyle.
So here are a few tips to help you buy the fuel-efficient vehicle that’s right for you.
- Know your options. If you’re worried about all the things you might miss when you drift away from your current car and opt for an eco-friendly alternative, you should be aware that there are several options available to you. You can choose an automobile both by type of engine and by style of car. So while you will certainly have to decide whether you want a hybrid, full electric, or alternative fuel engine (like biodiesel, natural gas, or ethanol), you can also select from compact, SUV, and sporty versions of each.
- Go the distance. Keep in mind that certain alternative vehicles may not offer you the same opportunities to fill up, so to speak. Although many forward-thinking businesses now offer ports for electric cars to fuel up, you need to be aware of how far you can travel between charges to make sure that you don’t lose power halfway through your morning commute. By the same token, find sources for alternative fuels before you hit the road.
- Be realistic. If you have a large family, a carpool commute, or a business that requires you to personally transfer large quantities of merchandise, a compact electric car may not suit your day-to-day needs. Luckily, several car companies have begun to produce hybrid SUVs that can offer you the space you need without hefty expenditures at the pump (or ridiculously high emissions).
- Look for the latest. With demand for alternate vehicles on the rise, technology is improving every day to generate cars that will go farther and faster on less and less fuel. So before you go shopping read up on the latest innovations and decide if you might not want to wait a bit for the next best thing.
- Set a budget. A car is a big-ticket item, so don’t rush into buying something that is way out of your price range just because you are determined to save the environment. A bad experience that ends in your car being repossessed (not to mention the resultant damage to your credit) may serve to sour the experience somewhat. So be honest with yourself about what you can afford and get the best option within your price range.