I'm thrilled because I just got my first car! I already love having a car on campus. It's so nice to be able to take myself to get dinner or groceries without having to bother my roommates.
The best part? I'm getting the benefits of a car with FAR fewer downsides.
My car, a Nissan Leaf, is all-electric.
My family's last few cars have been entirely electric. We loved our hybrid Prius, but as soon as we could, we switched to fully electric cars.
The Leaf was my family's first electric car, and it was perfect for driving around town and doing errands. It may not have had the range for longer trips, but for a family that usually stays in one area, it was more than enough! Paired with the Prius, we had the option of driving further if we needed to in the other car. But when the Chevy Bolt released, my dad snatched one up immediately. With an extended range, we could go further on one charge.
A few months ago, my parents decided it would be useful to have two cars with that extended range. They got another Bolt and I bought the Leaf. And even after only a few weeks, I'm reaping the benefits -- not just of having a car, but of having an ELECTRIC car. Sure, I'd heard my parents talk about it for years. They loved their electric cars, but now, I love mine too.
If you're in the market for a car, here are some reasons to consider going electric. And yes, you can find them used...because who among us has enough money for a BRAND NEW car?
1. No gas needed...EVER.
Seriously. Imagine NEVER having to go to a gas station again. Never paying for gas. None of that! Rising gas prices don't have to be your problem anymore. If you've kept track of how much you spent on gas in the past few years, you know how much it adds up. An electric car would pretty much eliminate that line from your budget.
2. Environmentally friendly
This one should be pretty obvious! Less gas use + fewer emissions = happier environment. It may not feel like you and your electric car are making that much of a difference as one entity, but it all adds up. Someday, it could be hugely impactful!
3. Possible parking discounts
My school has a "Green Initiative" that gave me a discount on my parking permit because my car was a certified Electric Vehicle. Do some research on places you regularly park, because there's a chance they'll give you a discounted rate!
4. Decreased maintenance costs
There's some maintenance that electric cars simply don't need, like oil changes and other actions required for exhaust systems. My family did the math. Our last gas car, a 2012 Prius, cost about $475/year in maintenance. So far, the 2013 Leaf has only cost about $340/year and the Bolt has cost about $270/year. Every little cut cost can help. (Especially when you're a broke college student.)
5. Free or inexpensive charging
A lot of charging stations can be used for free. The charging stations on my campus let me charge for free, and the car charging app on my phone lets me filter so that I only see free-use chargers. Charging at home is also possible - you can plug your car into a regular wall charger or install faster chargers in your garage.
It may add a little bit to your electric bill, but it's a significantly smaller cost compared to gas. Consumer Reports explains that the average cost per mile is much less for an electric vehicle. If you're charging to 30 miles, it's about $1, while gas for the same distance would cost about $3. If you're looking at it yearly, compare $485 per year to $1,117 per year.
6. Potential rebates
As an incentive and potential way to offset costs for electric vehicles, there are tax credits for purchases of new electric cars! You'll have to note it on your taxes, but it's worth it for a potentially huge rebate.
7. Less expensive than other cars.
Just from a quick search on Carmax, I found some used car pricing and compared electric and non-electric vehicles. If you sort by lowest price, the first page is about 50% Nissan Leaves like mine! Sure, there are other inexpensive used cars on Carmax, but with all the other financial benefits that come with an electric car, you'll be saving even more money.
8. It's just like any other car!
At the end of the day, a car is a car. You can drive places, which is super amazing and freeing. The only difference is how you fuel it. You may have to wait a little bit for it to charge, but a little bit of research and planning ahead can save you a LOT of money.
Having an all-electric car may seem drastic and scary, but really, there are more benefits than drawbacks. You may have to plan your trips ahead and make sure that there are charging stations, but it's worth a little bit of extra work!
Think about it. You'll thank me later.