As more alternatives to gasoline vehicles become viable, it’s up to us to do our part to phase out gasoline use. For each person who stops driving a gasoline vehicle, we all benefit from cleaner air, a better climate and more energy independence. Everyone can do something, starting today, to make progress towards the goal of a gasoline-free America.
The Greenest Solution: No car at all.
To have the biggest impact, ditch your gas car, and don’t replace it. Depending on where you live and your mobility needs, you may be better off not owning a car. Consider potential increased productivity, and savings on car payments, finance charges, maintenance, taxes, fees, tires, insurance, depreciation, fuel, parking and tolls.
If you end up going car-free, get around cleanly, by walking, cycling, scootering, skateboarding, e-biking, and using the cleanest possible public transit and ridesharing services such as Uber and Lyft.
Many households need two vehicles, and that’s ok. You can still eliminate your gasoline use or at least cut it back:
● Two EVs: Get 2 electric vehicles – perhaps one long-range (>220 miles per charge), and a cheap used one with a shorter range for trips around town.
● EV and plug-in hybrid car: If you frequently have driving needs that can’t be satisfied with existing gas-free vehicle models, get an EV, and a hybrid for when the EV won’t do.
● 2 Hybrids: If you can’t get access to electricity to charge your vehicles at home or at work, consider 2 plug-in hybrids that get better mileage than your existing gas vehicles.
Steps in the Right Direction:
If you feel you don’t yet know enough about how to get off of gas, or are just uncertain, you can still take these actions:
● Start following Facebook owner group pages of the makes and models you’re considering, such as the Chevy Bolt EV Owners Group.
● Make a plan to rent, borrow or test drive an electric vehicle this month.
● Cut back on the number of miles you drive, such as by taking transit or combining trips, and commit that your current vehicle will be your last gasoline vehicle.
● Electric Vehicle (EV) – the most common alternative to a gas car. If you must drive, replace your gas car with a plug-in, gas-free option such as an EV.
o Super-green it: Install solar panels or sign up for 100% clean, renewable electricity through your Community Choice Energy program, utility or a third party energy provider, so that even your fuel is clean.
o Back it up: If there are occasions when your EV won’t serve your needs, rent a car or use a ride-sharing program like Uber or Lyft. This will likely be much cheaper than owning a 2nd car.
o Landlord/Tenant, Multi-unit dwelling situations: If the parking space at your home or apartment doesn’t have access to electricity for EV charging, charge at your place of work. If that’s not an option, ask your landlord or homeowners association about putting in a regular 110 volt electrical outlet (3-5 miles of range/hour plugged in). Or suggest splitting the cost of installing a Level 2 charger (25 miles of range/hour plugged in).
● Plug-in Hybrid: if you’re not able to go 100% electric, get a Plug-in Hybrid vehicle. The best of these run for the first 30-50 miles on electricity. After that, a small gas tank burns fuel to re-charge the battery. For your trips within the battery’s range, you’ll avoid burning gas.
● Hybrid: If you can’t get access to electricity to charge your vehicle at home, at work, or at a public charging station, switch to a hybrid that gets better mileage than your gas car.
Key points about electric vehicles:
· Range: There are already long-range EVs on the market (Chevy Bolt EV: 238 miles per charge; Tesla Model 3: 220-310 miles per charge), and more are coming.
· Charging: At home, you can plug your car into any regular electrical outlet and get 3-5 miles of range per hour of charging. For many people, “topping up” overnight is sufficient to start each day with a full “tank” of fuel. For faster charging, install a “Level 2 charger” (240 volt, like your dryer) and get about 25 miles of range per hour of charging.
For many drivers, all charging needs can be met by charging at home. For others, public and workplace chargers (usually Level 2) and fast chargers (Level 3, or DC Fast Chargers – 40 miles of range in 10 minutes) can be found using the Plugshare website and app.
· Price: Used EVs (particularly the Nissan Leaf) are available in many markets for around $6,000. Check out the latest lease and purchase deals on EVs at http://ev-vin.blogspot.com/ and https://www.carsdirect.com/deals-articles/best-green-car-deals.
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