March 15, 2012
/PRNewswire/ -- With gas prices hovering around record highs, many new-car shoppers may be thinking "green" this
St. Patrick's Day
by looking at hybrid or alternate-fuel vehicles. The editors at Cars.com, the premier online resource for buying and selling new and used cars, have compiled a list of 10 ways drivers can
this spring, helping both the environment and their wallets.
"Not only is driving green good for the environment," said
, executive editor of Cars.com, "it can help you save a little green in the process. If you expand your definition of a 'green' car beyond just hybrid and electric vehicles, you can easily recognize some of the benefits of being more 'green' behind the wheel."
1. Labels don't guarantee results:
Do you want to buy a hybrid or just burn less fuel? The hybrid badge doesn't guarantee better mileage than a similar non-hybrid car.
2. Keep your eye on the green:
A hybrid may produce less pollution, but any economic benefits may not be delivered for years. Expect to pay more for an alternative-fuel vehicle, and don't assume you'll earn back the investment.
3. Consider a conventional vehicle:
If you want to save fuel, and especially money, look no further than a newer gas-powered car. Mileage in new cars has increased substantially in the past few years, with no performance trade-offs and no premium pricing.
4. Now probably isn't the time:
Nothing inspires motorists to buy efficient cars more than high gas prices -- and no circumstance makes it a worse time. Anyone who's in the market should consider efficiency, but it might be financially counterproductive to dump a thirstier car you've paid off just to save money with each fill-up.
5. Don't count on public infrastructure:
Don't rely on public infrastructure for electric-vehicle charging. Quick chargers are practically nonexistent, and they take at least 30 minutes for a full charge. If you can't easily charge at home and/or work, these and natural-gas cars likely won't serve you well.
6. Clean diesels are truly clean:
Diesels used to justify their dirtiness (sort of) with greater efficiency. Thanks to cleaner fuel and new technology in the cars, diesel-powered vehicles are now as clean as their gasoline counterparts, and they can deliver substantially better mileage.
7. There's another kind of gas:
Check out natural-gas vehicles. Natural gas is the cleanest-burning fuel for any car with a tailpipe, and in some regions it costs half as much as gasoline on a per-mile basis.
8. There are hybrid pickup trucks:
Hybrids are supposed to be more efficient, yet hybrid pickup trucks seem incongruous to many people. If someone's going to buy a pickup, why shouldn't it be an efficient one? The Chevrolet Silverado Hybrid and GMC Sierra Hybrid are rated as high as 20/23 mpg city/highway, which might seem low but is a healthy increase over their gas-only counterparts.
9. Tax credits aren't cash rebates:
There's discussion in
, about changing federal green-car tax credits into point-of-sale rebates. Currently, the credits favor higher-income buyers. In the case of electric cars, leasing might be an attractive alternative because the
tax credit lowers the lease payments regardless of your income.
10. Buy recycled:
Roughly 80 percent of junked vehicles, by weight, are recycled -- and some are designed with conservation and even compostability in mind. Ford Motor Co. is among the brands leading the charge, using soy-based foam in the seat cushions of many cars, as well as recycled-yarn fabrics and plastic reinforced with wheat straw.
"Our overall advice is to consider a 'green' car if you're currently in the market, but recognize that 'green' doesn't always mean hybrid or electric,' said Wiesenfelder. "If you're not currently in the market for a new car, making the switch to 'green' probably won't help you save much green in the long run."