Quit smoking (low-emissions car): Chevrolet Volt or Nissan Leaf
Smoking's a costly habit, but quitting isn't exactly cheap either. Cutting back on gasoline that's cost more than $4 a gallon in recent years and the emissions produced by burning it comes at a premium.
The Chevrolet Volt charges a $39,000 luxury price for the luxury of visiting the gas station less frequently, though that cost gets knocked down considerably by a $7,500 tax credit. That premium pays for a plug-in hybrid with an all-electric range of 30 to 40 miles and gas-powered mixed-driving mileage of little more than 31 miles per gallon.
"Drive less than 40 miles a day and it's all electric," Reed says. "Beyond that it's basically a hybrid."But driving a hybrid's basically cutting back on gasoline use and emissions belching. If you want to quit cold turkey, it requires a little bit of risk. Kelley Blue Book recommends the Nissan (NSANY) Leaf for clearing the air simply because it's the only all-electric car available for less than the cost of a small home -- sorry, Fisker and Tesla. For just over $35,000 -- which also comes down with the tax credit -- the Leaf's only source of juice is the one it plugs into at your house each night. Being emissions-free has considerably more costs than just the base price, though. The Leaf's at-home charging station costs $2,200. That charger takes four to eight hours to give the vehicle's battery its full spark. Even when it's fully charged, the Leaf's driving range is less than 75 miles at best, and even that varies based on driving conditions. If you thought it was hard to kick a three-pack-a-day Marlboro habit, try swearing off gasoline only to find you have to drive your Leaf to a job interview exactly 40 miles from home. Pray there's a decent plug in the parking lot.
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