Environmentally conscious drivers have more choices than ever when it comes to finding comparatively eco-friendly vehicles. The right car will not only lower a driver's carbon footprint but will also improve his or her gas mileage, offer the chance to take advantage of tax breaks, and provide the whole family with a safe and stylish ride. Read on to find some tips on how to choose the right car.
Available Mechanic Services
Before buying a hybrid or electric car, it's important to look into mechanics in the area that service these specialty vehicles. Whether drivers just need an inspection or they're looking for a total engine or transmission overhaul, it's important to work with a mechanic who has experience with hybrids and electric vehicles.
If no one in the area works on a particular make and model of hybrid or electric car, it might be worth looking into other options like alternative fuel vehicles and more gas-efficient, traditional cars.
Fuel Efficiency and Availability
There's no point in purchasing an electric vehicle if there are no charging stations anywhere nearby. Similarly, there's no reason to buy a vehicle that runs on biodiesel if no local gas stations carry this specialized, more eco-friendly fuel.
Find out about local fuel sources before looking at particular cars, as it may rule out some options and make it easier for drivers to make a final decision.
It's also important to take fuel efficiency into account. Most drivers who purchase alternative-fuel vehicles prefer hybrids over full electric cars, as this allows them to top off with gasoline if they can't find a charging station.
Find out how far an electric can go on a single charge or how many miles per gallon a hybrid car will get before buying.
Expected Maintenance and Life-Expectancy
Find out how long the car can be expected to run smoothly and what kind of maintenance it will require. Look for automotive manufacturers that are known for producing vehicles with long lifespans.
It makes little sense to purchase a more fuel-efficient or alternative-fuel vehicle with the intent of reducing carbon footprint if the car can only be expected to run smoothly for a few years, as manufacturing a new vehicle takes substantial energy and resources.
Choose a Manual Transmission
Automatic transmission cars typically consume more fuel. Choosing a manual transmission vehicle instead can improve gas mileage by allowing drivers more control over when they shift gears. Plus, manual transmissions tend to be less expensive than automatic transmissions, so drivers on a budget should have more options in terms of eco-friendly features.
Before heading out to test drive individual cars, read some reviews. Balance expert opinion articles with consumer reviews. The first tends to provide in-depth information about vehicle specs and performance, but the latter may be more helpful when it comes to finding out how the car handles on the road.
The Bottom Line
Making the switch to an eco-friendly car is one of the best things a driver can do to reduce his or her carbon footprint, but not all green vehicles are created equal. Do plenty of research in advance, test-drive multiple models, and don't be afraid to ask the dealer questions. Like any car, an eco-friendly car is an investment, so it's worth taking some extra time to make the right choice.