The Green Car Buying Guide

Green Car

Green car tips to help you make a smart car purchase

Perhaps you've considered buying a green car in an effort to protect the environment, to save money at the pump, or both. Before you visit your local dealership, however, there are important things you should consider when it comes to buying a green car.  Following are tips you should know to help you make a smart green car purchase.

Brake for hybrids

Braking tends to waste energy in conventional cars. However, many hybrid vehicles use Regenerative Braking, a technology that allows the motor to recover energy traditionally lost in braking to help recharge the car's battery. As a result, it would make sense for someone who does a lot of city driving to consider buying a hybrid vehicle. In contrast, if most of your driving is done on the highway where you typically don't brake often, a hybrid vehicle may not be the best option. Determining how and where you drive most frequently are important factors in deciding whether or not a green car is right for you.

Consider diesel cars

While hybrid vehicles tend to serve city drivers best, highway drivers may want to consider diesel vehicles. Contrary to popular belief, today's diesel cars are not your grandfather's loud, smoke-puffing polluters.  Instead, diesel vehicles found on today's roadways are cleaner, more efficient and offer enhanced fuel economy.  Keep in mind the current availability of diesel vehicles in the U.S. is rather limited but automakers are working to expand their diesel car offerings in the near future.

Be flexible about flex-fuel

Unfortunately, diesel and hybrid cars tend to be more expensive than their gasoline counterparts.  For environmentally-conscious car buyers on a budget who want to 'buy green' without spending a lot of green in the process, consider a flex-fuel vehicle. Not only do flex-fuel vehicles cost about the same as conventional cars, they're designed to accept both regular gasoline and an ethanol blend, such as E85 — a mixture of 85 percent ethanol and 15 percent gasoline which taxes our natural resources less than fossil fuels. The only downside is the limited availability of E85 fueling stations. Web sites such as help map out the closest E85 filling stations nearest you.   

Go green with gasoline

Believe it or not, there are a variety of conventional, gasoline-powered cars that offer excellent fuel economy at an affordable price, especially vehicles in the mini-compact, sub-compact and compact categories.  It's not uncommon to find cars in these categories netting EPA estimates in the 40 Highway/30 City range — estimates that are only slightly less than some of the best performing hybrids on the market.   Best of all, it's easy to find great deals on pre-owned models which may still be covered under a comprehensive warranty for added peace of mind.

With the myriad of vehicle choices available today, including hybrid cars and fuel efficient gasoline-powered vehicles, as well as a number of alternative fuels that enable cars to run cleaner and more efficiently than before, going green has never been easier. 

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