Blog

Should you consider a hybrid, plug-in hybrid or electric vehicle?

Share this article:

With California gas prices consistently among the highest in the country, it’s no surprise that Cartelligent clients ask a number of questions about hybrids, plug-in hybrids and electric vehicles. These vehicles not only can they save money at the pump, but they also reduce the emission of greenhouse gases into the environment and our reliance on fossil fuels.

The Toyota Prius, Cartelligent’s perennial top seller among all makes and models, recently hit the 3 million mark in worldwide sales and was the best-selling car in California in 2012. Sales of plug-in hybrids and electric vehicles are also on the rise.

The car buying experts at Cartelligent have compiled a list of questions you should ask yourself in order to determine whether a green vehicle may be a good option for you.

How many miles do you drive in an average year?

Hybrids, plug-in hybrids and electric vehicles are often priced somewhat higher than their gas equivalents. The time required for savings at the pump to offset this initial price disparity (also known as the payback period) can vary from under a year to over eight years depending on the make and model selected. The more the vehicle is driven the faster the savings from increased fuel economy can add up to shorten the payback period.

How long is your typical drive?

Plug-in hybrids and 100% electric vehicles have a limited electric range (the distance they can be driven on a single battery charge). While the number of EV charging stations is growing, they are by no means as prevalent as the traditional gas station. A plug-in hybrid will simply shift into gas-mode when the battery is drained, but the 100% electric vehicle will need to be charged before it can be driven further.

What percentage of your drive is city vs. highway?

A recent Carnegie Mellon study found that commuters who spend a majority of their drive on surface streets or in stop-and-go freeway traffic can cut their lifetime costs by 20% by choosing a hybrid and cut their greenhouse emissions in half. Plug-in hybrids can save even more by increasing the amount of time spent in electric mode.

Can you shorten your commute time by using the carpool lane?

A number of plug-in hybrids and electric vehicles are eligible for Clean Air Vehicle Decals that will allow you to use the carpool lane with only one person in the car. The savings in time spent driving on a daily basis can more than justify the decision to buy a qualifying vehicle.

Do you have the option to install a home-charging station?

With a hybrid car or plug-in, aggressive driving such as heavy acceleration and higher speeds, will increase the amount of time spent in gas mode (as opposed to electric) and result in greater fuel consumption. Some electric vehicles and plug-ins may also feel less responsive to those used to the auditory feedback of a traditional vehicle.

How important is vehicle performance to you?

With a hybrid car or plug-in, aggressive driving such as heavy acceleration and higher speeds, will increase the amount of time spent in gas mode (as opposed to electric) and result in greater fuel consumption. Some electric vehicles and plug-ins may also feel less responsive to those used to the auditory feedback of a traditional vehicle.

What else is out there?

Diesel vehicles have come a long way in recent years while conventional gas models have made huge strides in fuel efficiency. Your Cartelligent representative can help you determine which option will be most beneficial for your needs.

Hybrids, plug-in hybrids and electric vehicles are all great choices, but the wide variety of options available can be confusing and time consuming to decipher. The car buying experts at Cartelligent can help you decide which make and model makes the most sense for you and your family. Call 888-427-4270 or get started with a free, no obligation consultation on the right green car for you.

Featured Vehicles

Some of our favorite green vehicles are listed below:

 

2013 Volkswagen Jetta Hybrid  
EPA Estimate: 42 city/48 highway

Why we love it: The Jetta Hybrid delivers solid performance offering a turbocharged 170-hp engine and 7-speed automatic transmission, all while achieving an impressive 42-mpg city and 48 highway. With an MSRP starting at $24,995, the Jetta Hybrid is an affordable, fun-to-drive choice.

 

2013 Lexus RX 450h (Hybrid)
EPA Estimate: 29 city/34 highway

Why we love it: The Lexus RX 450h is an excellent choice for those who want the cargo capacity of an SUV, the comfort or a luxury vehicle and the fuel efficiency of a hybrid. The RX 450h offers a smooth ride and can transport your entire carpool or your shopping at 30-mpg city.

 

2013 Chevrolet Volt (Plug-In Hybrid)
EPA Estimate: 98 MPGe city/highway; 37 MPG city highway

Why we love it: The Volt combines the convenience and range of a hybrid with the additional fuel economy of a plug-in. It can go up to 38 miles on electric power alone and gets 35-mpg city with the gas engine on. The Volt comes loaded with a 7" touch-screen, three years of OnStar and streaming internet radio.

 

2013 Nissan LEAF (100% Electric)   
EPA Estimate: 115 MPGe city/highway

Why we love it: The LEAF is a great choice for those looking to abandon the pump completely.  It has a range of about 75 miles which can easily handle most commutes, especially if you have the option to plug in at work. With comfortable seating for four and increased cargo space for 2013, the LEAF is a very capable daily driver.

 

Whether or not the next car you want is on this list, Cartelligent can help you get a great deal on exactly what you want. Call our team of car-buying experts at 888.427.4270 or get started today.