People seem to harbor quite a few misconceptions where eco-friendly vehicles are concerned. Despite the fact that they come with a wide variety of benefits, including significantly reduced carbon emissions, lower prices at the pump, and in some cases the ability to avoid going to the gas station altogether (thanks to charging stations in the home), a large portion of the consumer public remains hesitant to consider, much less commit to, the purchase of such a vehicle. But once you understand that some of the drawbacks associated with these clean-running cars are merely rumors, perhaps you will find your mind changing in favor of the green-car movement. So here are a few of the top myths and why they are false.
One of the biggest myths about eco-friendly vehicles is that they’re too expensive. Between the sticker price and the cost for repairs and replacement parts you might be wary to choose a hybrid or electric automobile. But you might be surprised to learn the many ways in which these vehicles can save you money over gas-guzzling competitors. While the upfront cost can certainly be a shocker, many eco cars come with incentives from car manufacturers (sometimes up to several thousand dollars off sticker prices) as well as rebates at both the federal and state level.
Electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles can currently net you up to $7,500 in government rebates (plus another $2,000 towards the installation of an in-home charging station). And states like California offer as much as an additional $5,000 in rebates. So that may bring an eco-friendly vehicle in line with anything else you’re looking at. But they’ll also save you over the long haul with improved gas mileage for hybrids (they tend to get 40-50 mpg), and no gas for electric cars (although the electricity drawn equates to approximately a fourth to a third of the cost of fuel depending on your driving habits and the time of day you charge up). And you may even be eligible for extras like carpool lane exemption with some green cars (saving you time as well as money).
Another common myth is that these cars are actually worse for the environment. Many people mistakenly believe that the batteries needed to power electric and hybrid cars will ultimately cause more damage to the environment because they cannot be recycled. However, this couldn’t be further from the truth. The lead-acid batteries of old could be almost completely recycled (even the lead was eligible for repurposing). And the newer lithium-ion batteries are also extremely eco-friendly in that they can often be recharged for reuse (even when their ability to hold charge seems to be waning) and it is estimated that they are nearly 99% recyclable, which is phenomenal.
Finally, you may have heard that these vehicles simply aren’t as safe as their gas-powered brethren; but this, too, is generally false. A lot of pundits attacked the Chevy Volt when a battery caught fire after collision during a road test. But this was an isolated incident, it prompted further testing and upgrades to the engine, and it’s not as though it’s the first car in history to burst into flames after an accident. The point is, the safety testing for these vehicles is just as stringent as any other car, and possibly even more so due to new technologies. You might not know how electric cars work (just like you might not know how a transfer case works in a four-wheel drive vehicle), but that doesn’t mean the company that creates it hasn’t done extensive testing to ensure that you’ll be safe behind the wheel.