Electric Vehicles Can Save You Lots of Money

One of the simplest ways that we as individuals can lessen our impact on the planet is to dump less CO-2 into its atmosphere. The evidently “new normal” of wildfires, droughts and super storms like Sandy, is happening quicker than scientists had anticipated. Powerful governments are slow at adopting policies that will significantly lower CO-2 emissions, so we as individuals must show them how to change course.

Electric vehicles (EVs) were produced by GM in the 1990s. They were featured in the 2006 movie “Who Killed the Electric Car?” Those early cars were built using lead-acid batteries which gave them a shorter range than today’s EVs. They came at a time when gasoline was still relatively cheap and the effects of climate change were not yet destroying homes and crops in the U.S.

Until recently, viable EVs with an affordable price tag were not available in mass production.

Hybrid vehicles like the Chevrolet Volt or the Toyota Prius are the next best Earth-saving alternative to EVs. They carry small gasoline-powered engines onboard to re-charge the batteries if the range between charges is exceeded. Many hybrid owners buy astonishingly little gasoline because they seldom drive farther than the batteries’ limits allow before plugging in.

Nissan will reduce the price tag of their all-electric Leaf this year. They are building them in the U.S. and are planning to sell a basic model for less. As the benefits of mass production phase in and as battery technology advances, the price-tag for EVs is anticipated to continue falling.

With EVs, there is no smelly, explosive gasoline to buy-ever. There is no Washington state sales tax on them, which lowers the cost nearly 10 percent. The $7,500 federal tax credit from the IRS may also be subtracted from the initial cost and many free or inexpensive public charging stations are online with more to follow.

EV owners typically report monthly increases in their home electric bill from charging their car, but this is a small fraction of the resources no longer spent at the gas station. Many have traded in a $250 to $350 monthly gasoline bill for a $25 to $35 dollar monthly increase on their power bill.

There is a carbon footprint attached to the production of household electricity, especially in regions where coal is still being burned. In the Northwest, our electricity is mostly generated using water and wind, so charging the EV batteries around here releases less CO-2 into our atmosphere than in other areas.

Regardless, EVs have a much smaller carbon footprint than burning gasoline to move your car around. See: pluginamerica.org

With feedback, comments, progressive ideas or alternative perspectives, contact Orlando Martin at: mrm61@uw.edu