It can be an overwhelming process when looking into buying a new car. Besides considering features such as brand and body style, it is now a big question whether or not to buy a regular gasoline fueled car, electric car, or hybrid. There are different pros and cons to explore when looking at gas vs. electric such as:

Cost

Generally, electric cars cost anywhere from approximately $15,000, and can get up to the $100,000 range. This is similar to the cost of a gasoline powered car, however, the availability and selection of these vehicles will be more limited. Price differences also occur when two cars of the same model, one gasoline and one hybrid, are compared. The MSRP of a standard gasoline fueled 2011 Toyota Camry is $20,195. The 2011 Camry Hybrid has an MSRP of $27,050, which is a price difference of almost $7,000. This initial price might cause some consumers to decide to go with the less expensive vehicle, but the fuel savings will offset the sticker price, and end up costing the consumer less in the long run.

Efficiency

A person that drives an electric or hybrid car will see major savings at the gas pump. Hybrid cars consume less gas, and fully electric cars require no gasoline at all. The downside to an electric car though is that it only runs approximately 50+ miles before needing to be recharged. This is ideal for people who do not drive much, or only make short trips around town. Anyone that has longer commutes to work or goes out of town often will not find this type of car to be beneficial, since they would need to constantly recharge. Generally gasoline vehicles can get up to 300 miles per tank, but they have crafted hybrid cars to be able to go this same distance using both the electric and gas components.

Repairs

The issue of repairs can be a downfall for those with electric cars. Most mechanics are trained to work on traditional gasoline cars since they are most common. Electric cars would need to go to specific service centers or dealerships which most likely will cost more to service, and gives the consumer less choice.

Environmental Impact

Gasoline vehicles release a lot of emissions which pollute our environment. Electric vehicles release little to no emissions at all. One thing to consider though is that electricity is created from coal, which is also a fossil fuel. Although the pollution will be limited where a consumer is driving an electric car, it still means that there will be pollution released wherever the electricity is being created.

These are just a few things to consider when looking at buying a gasoline or electric car. A hybrid might be a good choice for someone that sees the benefits and drawbacks of both, in order to get the best of both worlds. It is important to research and make an informed decision that fits into a person’s lifestyle, budget, and personal preference.

Mary Flowers is an environmentalist, and works in the finance sector in Toronto.  If you’re interested in making a balanced driving decision you should also consider the total cost of ownership.  Insurance is often more costly than the vehicles we drive, so we should also consider these costs.  Free services like Kanetix provide auto insurance quote comparisons which allow you to get a better handle on insurance costs.  They also recently published a white-paper on insurance rates which details the cheapest and most expensive cars to insure.

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