It’s Electric: Can an electric car actually save money?

As of this writing, many places across the U.S. are experiencing low gas prices not seen since before the Great Recession. A gallon of gas hovers between $2.15 and $2.50, and this makes for happier drivers. Throw in discounts from coupons or supermarket cards, and those with small-tank cars can fill up for around $25 or $30. A far cry from the $50 or $60 they paid at the same time last year.

Though the news is now rosy it could sour at any moment. An oil spill, refinery shutdown, or Middle East conflict could ramp up the price of oil in a second and result in a steep increase in gas prices. There’s also the finality of available oil. How much does gas rise then if no viable alternatives are selected?

Right, there are some other choices available — mainly hybrids and electrics. Where hybrids are electric but can switch to a fuel-combustion when needed, electric cars just plug into an outlet. Thing is, are electric cars worth the money now for you and your young family and can they save money in the end? Here are a few things to consider.

Cost 

While they’ve been in the market for decades and whet mainstream a few years ago, pure electric cars are still expensive, between 25 and 30 thousand dollars. What the cost is depends on the type of car purchased. The tiny, two-door Smart Electric Drive runs about $29,000 while a Tesla four-door sedan costs in the 70 thousand dollar range.

Types

There are some mid-range cars available as pure electrics; however, they may not be available where you are or could be more expensive. If you’re young family is large you might not have as many choices in the pure electric world and could end up downgrading to an electric-gasoline hybrid.

Mileage

Electric cars have come a long way since their introduction way back in the early 20th century. Still, their mileage per charge is still not the greatest. The best cars have at least a 90 minute time limit before needing recharging. This can cost people in time and energy as they try to locate the nearest charging station.

Maintenance

Thanks to the elimination of the combustible engine there are fewer parts which require a bank loan to repair. On the other hand, it’s electric, meaning one short could disrupt everything, requiring extra time for it to be in the shop.

In review of these items, it’s about a 50-50 split to the advantages of an electric car. It can save drivers money since they no longer need to visit the gas station. Yet, keeping it charged at home may result in higher electric bills or construction to add outlets or a charging station. As usual, review all options before deciding on the vehicle right for your young family.

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