Purchasing a car is never going to be a totally ‘green’ purchase. There’s the manufacturing costs to consider and the fuel costs among other things. While cars are getting greener when it comes to both manufacturing and fuel use, with the rise of Tesla and other more environmentally friendly vehicles, there are a few important factors to consider when making the most sustainable and eco-friendly choice.
Buy an electric car
Electric cars are of course the greener choice when it comes to buying a new car. While harm has still been done during the manufacturing process, if you’re in need of a new way to get around then this is your best bet for being as environmentally friendly as possible. Of course, not only are electric vehicles better for the planet, they’re also good for your wallet. While you may have to pay more upfront, EV’s are much cheaper to run than their ICE (internal combustion engine) cousins. They’re also much cheaper to maintain.
Buy a hybrid
If a full electric car isn’t on the cards due to location or other factors, you might want to consider buying a hybrid electric vehicle instead. Like electric vehicles, hybrids run on electricity and thus emit much less pollution, however they also run on gas which means you’re looking at the benefits of both conventional cars and electric cars. You’ll have reduced dependence on fuel and a smaller engine with a greater resale value than conventional models.
If buying an electric vehicle or hybrid isn’t in the cards, due to their substantial upfront costs or for other reasons, the next most environmentally friendly decision you can make when buying a new car is to buy used. By buying a used, fuel efficient car you’ll be putting less carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. Some, like Wired’s Matt Power, argues that buying used is more environmentally responsible than buying a hybrid electric vehicle. Due to the energy needed in the manufacturing process, a Toyota Prius for example, has already consumed the equivalent of 1,000 gallons of gasoline before it reaches the showroom. This is carbon debt and one way to avoid carbon debt is by buying used. Essentially, this means the carbon debt has already been paid.
Buy fuel efficient
If you’re going to be buying a new ICE vehicle, then make sure you buy a fuel efficient one. Not only is it better for the planet, but it’ll be better for your back pocket too. While most fuel efficient cars cost a little more upfront, it is going to save you a lot of money at the bowser over the lifetime of your vehicle. While a more fuel efficient car means less greenhouse gas emissions, it will also help reduce dependence on oil and create less air pollutants in the environment. Most sellers will tell you that a car is fuel efficient so it’s important to do your homework before buying and check the numbers.
Whether you choose to buy new or used, there are a number of ways to make a greener and more environmentally friendly purchase when buying a new car. If you’re unable to buy a new electric vehicle, your best bet may be a fuel efficient used car, or best yet, a used electric or hybrid vehicle.