Eco-Friendly Vehicles Are More Affordable Than Ever

There are more reasons now, than ever, for making the switch to a more fuel-efficient vehicle.

Shoppers looking for their next vehicle find many excuses for disregarding electric or hybrid vehicles as realistic options. High prices and maintenance costs have dissuaded thousands of consumers from purchasing an eco-friendly car. However, in recent years, they have become much more affordable.

Environmentally conscious consumers can rejoice in the fact that there are more options than ever when it comes to buying a green vehicle — and for the fact that they don’t have to break the bank to make the switch. From cheaper repair costs to lower price tags, there are many reasons to look into purchasing a hybrid or electric car:

Eco-friendly Vehicles are Cheaper to Maintain

While the average sticker price of electric vehicles is undisputably higher than traditional models, they also have lower fuel and maintenance costs. When electric vehicles were first introduced to the market, upkeep and repairs were usually much pricier than they are today. This has led to some persistent misconceptions about the price of maintenance for electric automobiles. The idea that hybrid and electric vehicles are cost-efficient options flies in the face of conventional wisdom, but statistics show that they are much more affordable in the long-term.

In fact, electric-vehicle drivers can save $10,538 over the first five years of ownership. This figure is the cumulation of savings that come in many forms. For one, these vehicles obviously don’t require oil changes. Another not-so-surprising fact: the cost of keeping a hybrid or electric vehicle running is remarkably lower. The cost of recharging a vehicle varies depending on where you live, but the cost is exponentially lower than current gas prices, regardless of location. Finally, owners of these cars can look forward to lower insurance rates from certain car insurance companies.

More Affordable Models are Available

As a result of a growing consciousness of environmentalism, as well as efforts by car manufacturers to meet changing consumer demands, interest in electric vehicles resurged in the mid-2000s. However, they have generally not been affordable enough for the average American household. The first mass-produced highway-legal electric car was the Tesla Roadster. Reviews of the vehicle were mostly positive, but at $109,000, it was not a realistic option for many drivers.

electricTechnological developments in recent years have decreased the cost of manufacturing, and consumers are benefitting through lower sticker prices. Most notably, batteries — the most expensive component — have dramatically dropped in price throughout the 2010s. In 2010, costs were about $1,000 per kilowatt hour. Today, that figure has dropped to $350. This has resulted in lower manufacturing costs and lower prices — and prices will likely continue to drop in the future.

Three of the most affordable electric vehicles on the market are the Mitsubishi i-MiEV, the Nissan Leaf, and the Chevy Bolt. These cars range in price from $22,995 to $37,495. While these vehicles might not be suitable for longer trips due to limited battery life, they are fairly affordable.

Even households who require a vehicle with a decent towing capacity can benefit from lower prices for hybrid vehicles. Advancements in technology in hybrid vehicles, combined with recent trends in lightweight trailers, mean that many towing needs can be fulfilled with hybrid vehicles. Families looking to adopt an eco-friendly solution to travel have plenty of options today.

Tax Credits

With tax season in full-swing, it is worth noting that green automobiles are eligible for a sizable tax credit. Depending on the size of the battery pack of the vehicle, consumers can receive a tax credit of $2,500 to $7,500. The previously mentioned Chevy Volt and Nissan Leaf are eligible for the full $7,500, while many hybrids qualify for a lower amount. This incentive has resulted in a great amount of growth for the industry, and makes eco-friendly vehicles a reasonable option for many households.

While some argue that tax credit incentives may be lowered or eliminated by the Trump administration in the upcoming months, this seems unlikely. Elon Musk, the CEO of Tesla Inc., has a fairly close relationship with the controversial head of state. Since the administration is seeking to increase the number of manufacturing jobs in America, it would be illogical for Trump to sabotage the industry in this way. Furthermore, the tax credit cannot be eliminated by an executive order.

The future of the auto industry is looking greener than ever. There are more reasons than ever for making the switch to a more fuel-efficient vehicle. Consumers have taken notice; sales of eco-friendly vehicles are steadily growing. While some minor inconveniences may dissuade shoppers from taking the plunge, advancements in technology are making eco-friendly cars more convenient. As new innovative charging systems are introduced to the market, the adoption rate could grow exponentially. Analysts predict that electric vehicles will overtake non-hybrid gas cars within the next decade.

Devin Morrissey is the author of this article.

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