What may have appeared to be a fad at first, has turned into a full-fledged revolution. Hybrid and electric vehicles have proven their worth, and are standing the test of time. Car makers are making green cars to suit every taste and budget, making it easier than ever to go green. With over 100 clean diesel, electric, hybrid, and plug-in hybrid cars on the market, it can be confusing to figure out what is what, and what is the best option for your lifestyle.
Clean Diesel – Diesel cars get substantially better gas mileage than their gasoline counterparts, allowing drivers to save 20–25% on overall fuel costs. Diesel fuel typically costs about what premium gasoline does, but with a tank that’s able to take you much further, you’ll see savings over time.
Hybrid – Hybrids use both an electric motor and gasoline engine to power the car. Typically designed with a small engine, the electric motor supplements power so it will perform at the same standards as its gasoline siblings, using far less gas.
Plug-In Hybrid – Similar to a regular hybrid, the Plug-In uses both an electric motor and a gas engine. The difference is that the Plug-In can run on electric power alone for a certain distance (usually 13-38 miles) before the gas engine kicks in or the battery needs to be recharged. These are ideal for daily commutes that fall within the car’s electric range. The most affordable plug-in hybrid on the market is the Toyota Prius Plug-In, starting at $29,990.
Electric – Electric cars are cars with an electric engine and no gasoline motor at all. Offered in a range of body styles including subcompact, mid-sized sedans, and SUVs, these cars can usually achieve a driving range of 60 to 100 miles before needing to be recharged. The Tesla Model S has trim levels that can achieve up to 265 miles before needing to be recharged. These cars are not ideal for long road-trips, but may someday reach that capability in the future.
Most of these types of cars offer some kind of government tax credit, so if you’re considering going green, be sure to find out what discounts or credits apply.