The average American driver burns through about 560 gallons of gas and spends about $2,000 annually at the pump, according to The Huffington Post. Not only is this a big dent into your take-home pay, but it’s also detrimental to the environment. It’s estimated that the average car contributes some 600 pounds of air pollution per year, according to Weather Underground. Multiply that by all the cars that are on the roads in the country and that’s a lot of harm to the environment.
photo by Splinter
Still Not There Yet
Automakers have invested a lot into the research and development of more fuel-efficient hybrids and electric vehicles (EVs), but the days of widespread EV adoption are still a ways in front of us. BMW has the i3 electric car to bring sustainability to its vehicle fleet, Nissan has the all-electric Leaf model for eco-friendly drivers/consumers and Honda has the Fit. And while these aforementioned vehicle models are all notable steps in the right direction, mainstream EV adoption isn’t something that’s going to happen overnight — it’s still years, maybe decades, away.
Furthermore, universities and research institutes are pumping money into the development of biofuels and other alternative fuel sources. But again, those days of widespread alternative energy use are still a ways off.
So what can you do to ensure that you’re not draining your wallet at the pump and helping save the environment too? Have you ever thought about converting your existing car to an EV? Now, it’s possible. Sensing that it’s going to be awhile before EVs catch on and really make a difference, car conversion companies have popped throughout the U.S. They sell conversion kits that transform your conventional fossil-fuel automobile into an EV. That’s right, zero emissions and zero dollars out of your pocket at the pump.
There are a few notable advantages to this, aside from the lack of emissions and gas money you’ll save. It’s a relatively simple conversion that isn’t too laborious. The old engine and transmission can be sold as scrap parts. But there are some disadvantages to conversion kits, as well. They’re expensive, often costing up to $20,000. And unlike buying an EV, you won’t be eligible for a tax credit from the government.
Right for You?
However, conversion kits could be an attractive option for fleet vehicles (i.e., taxi cabs, rental cars, etc.) or those who value the environment over price. Even if you can’t find the right EV, there’s likely plenty of traditional cars for sale in Tucson, AZ and Los Angeles, CA that can be converted. Conversion kits are worth the price if you know you’ll be keeping the vehicle for awhile.
Think about it, for a conversion kit that costs $20,000, you’ll need to drive the car for at least 10 years to break even. So while you might be off-put by the upfront price for a conversion kit, it’ll be worth it in the long run if you have a car that’s going to last. EV adoption will catch on eventually as technology improves and EV car prices drop. But until then, know that there are other ways to save at the pump and help out the environment too.
Jeff Williams, the author of this article, is a freelance writer and soccer coach who lives in Missouri.
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