How to Find Eco Friendly Cars

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The future of driving might be "plugging in" instead of "gassing up". Photo by @hdoan via Twenty20
Eco-friendly cars are better for the environment, but a commitment to a more earth-friendly lifestyle isn’t the only reason drivers are moving to this exciting new technology. Electric and hybrid cars can also mean getting a federal tax credit that could save you a lot of money. And — depending on the model of car you choose — you could make gas station visits a thing of the past.
And you don’t have to overpay just because you are aiming for a greener lifestyle — just use the following as a way to help you find the best eco friendly car for you.

Finding an Eco Friendly Car

Step 1: Know what type of car is best for you. Since there are two main options for buyers looking for eco friendly cars, you need to determine which is best for your situation.
The first option is the all-electric vehicle, also known as an ev. These sorts of cars do not use gasoline at all and are powered entirely by an electric battery. This is ideal if your main priority is reduction in emissions. A downside, however, is that the amount of mileage you’ll get per charge is rather low (between 60-120 miles, according to one source). The Tesla, the Hyundai Kona, and the Nissan Leaf are all popular electric car models.
The second option is a hybrid vehicle. These cars have an electric motor along with a gas engine. The upside of both gas and electric power is that there is a higher mileage threshold for the vehicle, meaning you can travel farther without needing a charge. They do, however, have emissions and hence are not as eco friendly as an all-electric car. The Toyota Prius is a popular kind of hybrid car.
Some other options include biodiesel and ethanol cars, using alternate fuels such as vegetable oil and corn.
In the end, you should decide how you want to balance convenience, cost, emissions, and the availability of fuel sources. If you have to travel a long way for a charging station or have a longer commute generally, then you might want to consider a higher mileage car.
Step 2: Research online. Once you have a sense for the type of car you want, do an online search for vehicles in that category.
One useful tool is the Fuel Economy website, which is sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy. The “Find a Car” function allows you to search for specifically eco friendly cars.
You can even search within the various subsets of eco friendly cars, so if you want a plug-in hybrid, for example, you can filter your results accordingly.
Step 3: Narrow your search to a few models. The number of eco friendly vehicles on the market has grown, in which case you should narrow down your options.
If you see a car that is particularly unattractive or you’ve hear bad things about it, then you can set that one aside. Settle on a few cars that you really like.
Step 4: Do an intense search on these select few. Once you have a firm sense of the cars you like, look into them more thoroughly.
This should involve looking into safety ratings, annual fuel costs, specifications, and customer reviews. For electronic and hybrid cars specifically, you’ll also want to look at the “range” of different car models. In other words, how far can the car travel on a single charge.
There are any number of online resources to help you with your search, such as Carmax and Car and Driver, so you use several of these to get a full picture of each car, both objectively in terms of its specs and subjectively in terms of how its owners like the car.
Step 5: Decide on the car. By this point, you are probably equal parts excited and exhausted, so you should go ahead and make a decision on which car you want.
When you have taken all the relevant factors into account, including your wants and needs as well as your finances, you are in a place to make a decision on the best car for you.
If you are in the market for an eco friendly car, then you should take the opportunity to determine if you are overpaying on car insurance. All too often people overpay when there are more affordable options available. Find and stick to a plan suited to your needs that’s in line with your budget and you should be fine.