Taking an active step towards preserving the environment is very important in today’s world. Even if you can’t live in an Earthship-brand biostructure and bike to work, you can at least reduce you’re greenhouse gasses and save a little money. This (buying an eco-friendly car) is as far as most who claim “green” take their lifestyle, but it’s a start. Automobile technology has advanced so much over the past several years it is now easy to buy and drive a greener car—one that will have a few characteristics that differ from a regular, older model. For example, even an average automobile today will get far better gas mileage and leave less of a carbon footprint than a car that was manufactured a 5-10 years back. This is especially true with hybrids, which are now fairly widespread. Hybrids’ propulsion is comprised of a traditional gasoline powered engine but also an electric motor. These hybrid drives help the car use less gasoline than most but ensures that it can still travel the requisite distances between fill-ups. When the electric motor is powering the car there are no emissions or pollution pouring out of the exhaust into the atmosphere, though currently only the Chevy Volt offers this electric-exclusive functionality. Almost all hybrids such as the Prius save gas simply from the margin that the electric propulsion offers.
Buying a new or used hybrid is probably going to cost a bit more than a non-hybrid upfront, however, the cost difference can be made up for when keeping and operating the car over many years. The Honda Civic hybrid is a great option that gets decent gas mileage and has low emissions. The Civic hybrid is a bit more expensive than the non-hybrid version. The hybrid sells for between $22,000-$27,000 depending on what options you would like to have. The fuel economy is above average for cars in this class. On the highway, the Civic hybrid will get about 45-miles per gallon while it will get around 40-miles per gallon in the city. In addition, the Honda Civic hybrid is perennially a top safety pick. Research here: 2011 Honda Civic | New ‘11 Civic | Research the 2011 Honda Civic at Automobile Magazine
Along with the Civic, Honda also manufactures the Insight. The Honda Insight is a greener (and larger) version of the civic but it still provides the same great benefits as a traditional Honda. Starting at around $20,000 the Insight is known for its great gas mileage and value. It will get 40-MPG in the city and 43-MPG on the highway (not as green as the Prius’ 51 and 48, respectively). The Insight’s gasoline powered engine shifts smoothly to the electric portion in a barely noticeable fashion, just like the Prius, though in a different way that can be felt a tad more. Either way it will run on battery-power for as long a time as possible, just like the Prius. The one drawback regarding the Insight though is that it is a bit smaller than the Prius. The Insights back seat is just big enough to squeeze two adults to squeeze in.
Jumping to diesels now, the Volkswagen Golf TDI is a small diesel car that is not harmful for the environment like it’s “dirty diesel” moniker implies. The TDI Golf comes in a hatchback and is priced between $23,000-$24,000, and is much cooler than the civic or Insight (whatever that means). People choose this car primarily because of its exclusivity and uniqueness. These TDI engines have a reputation for lasting longer than their non-diesel counterparts, and of course get better gas mileage. The Golf will get roughly 42-MPG on the highway and 30-MPG in the city, though it is a fast car with 236 ft lb of torque. It is true that diesel emissions are traditionally dirtier than gasoline emissions, but with the new clean-diesel technology and highly purified fuel, this is no longer an issue in today‘s passenger car diesels. Also, when considering that the total emissions output per driven mile is much less than their gasoline counterparts, you have a strong case for diesel versus gasoline autos. Research here: 2011 VW Golf | New ‘11 Golf | Research the 2011 Volkswagen Golf at Automobile Magazine
At any rate, and regardless of your motives, driving a green automobile just makes sense. The extra money that you pay for the vehicle can be offset by federal rebates, and there are other programs in place that give people tax breaks for doing good for the environment. Plus you will realize quite a savings over time if you drive many miles. Although cars, especially one or more cars per person, is certainly not the best use of resources, many are not ready to give them up so a compromise must be made and hybrids and other greener cars a good alternative.
“Source: Automobile Magazine – Edward Pacheco shares his knowledge about the latest green innovations and the automotive industry as a whole, and is thrilled to be featured on Green Eco Services.”