Given the recent attention that has been directed at climate change and the role of oil and gas in it, you may find yourself looking twice at your gas-powered vehicle. There’s a trend happening, and the increasing popularity of electric vehicles, such as those produced by Tesla, may have you wondering whether or not you should get an electric vehicle yourself. As you contemplate your decision, there are certain things you should keep in mind and give some weight to.
It’s not surprising that gas-powered vehicle emissions are harmful to the environment. In 2016, 11.9% of greenhouse gasses were emitted by road transportation, and 60% of that was from passenger travel. While it could be argued that just one less gas-powered vehicle on the road isn’t going to make that much of a difference, the more people that switch to electric vehicles, the more of an impact it will have. It’s far from a perfect solution, especially given all of the other sources of greenhouse gas emissions, but it’s at least a step in the right direction.
The upfront cost of an electric vehicle can be daunting, especially if you’re just making that transition. Between the overall higher price tag and the need to install a charging station in your home, it can seem like a lot to pay for. Fortunately, there may be tax credits available for those who buy an electric vehicle. The federal government will pay up to $7,500 in tax credits for the first 200,000 vehicles per manufacturer (Tesla’s now out of the running for tax credits, by the way), and some states offer different tax incentives as well. Take a closer look at what credits are available to you before you make your purchase if you decide you want to take advantage of them to offset the cost of the vehicle.
Electric vehicles must have a source of power in order to operate. When deciding whether or not you should buy an electric vehicle, take a look at what the availability of charging stations is like near you. Sure, you can always have your own charging station installed in your home, but if your car doesn’t have enough of a range to make it to where you’re going and back home again, you’re going to need to use another charging station. If there aren’t any other charging stations in your area, that could be a problem. The availability of charging stations will depend in part on where you live. Rural areas are less likely to be equipped with electric vehicle charging stations than urban spaces. As the demand for electric vehicles increases, you can expect to see a greater number of charging stations popping up around the country. You may just need to wait for a few years for them to come to your area if they aren’t there already.
The range you can expect an electric vehicle to have will vary greatly, depending on the car you get. Tesla holds the record for the largest range on an electric vehicle. A lot of them have a range that extends to 200 miles or more, though there are plenty that have a lot less. Since your range controls how far you can go before you need to charge up, it may be beneficial to look into how you can increase the range of your vehicle. Window tint provides UV protection and makes driving safer. It also reduces the need for air conditioning, which can help extend your range. Travel light, drive smoothly, and maximize your regenerative braking.
Most electric vehicle owners will opt to charge their vehicles at home. It’s hard to beat the convenience of being able to plug your car in at night to charge up for the next day. You can plug your car into an outdoor outlet, considered a Level 1 charger, or you can have a charging station installed. Regardless of the option you choose, keep in mind that it will have an impact on your power bill. You can expect to see it increase, but that may be offset by the money you are no longer spending on gasoline. A lot of drivers notice that they end up paying less for the electricity to power their car than they do to fill it up with gas.
You may be used to doing some of your own maintenance on a gas-powered vehicle. Changing spark plugs, oil, and various filters comes with the territory. Those aren’t things you’d need to have done with an electric vehicle though. Overall, they require less maintenance than regular ones and therefore cost less to upkeep. The exception is the battery. While a standard battery for a regular car generally costs $200 or less, you can add at least a zero to that for an electric car battery. Those can easily run upwards of $5,000. Fortunately, they are usually under warranty for eight years or 100,000 miles, whichever comes first. Make sure you understand the terms and conditions of the warranty so you don’t accidentally void it.
All vehicles, gas, hybrid, or electric, need to be insured. If you thought your car insurance bill was high before, you may be in for a bit of an unpleasant surprise when it comes to insuring an electric vehicle. The cost of the vehicle is one of the factors that impact insurance costs, and since electric vehicles tend to be more expensive, that can be reflected in the cost of your insurance.
Beyond that, the insurance companies know that the batteries for electric vehicles are expensive. If those are damaged in the crash, the insurance company will usually have to pay to have it replaced. Even if you were completely content with your car insurance provider before, if you want to switch to an electric vehicle make sure you shop around. Some insurance companies will add an extra premium for electric cars, and there isn’t a way to know if you’re getting the best deal possible unless you look at other offers.
Ultimately, the only one who can truly answer the question of whether or not you should get an electric vehicle is you. There is an increasing demand for infrastructure to support electric vehicles, and the technology involved is constantly improving. There are a lot of benefits to opting for an electric vehicle as well. Be sure to weigh all of your options in the context of your personal situation so you can make the best decision for you.
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