Improving Energy Security
More than 25 percent of the petroleum used during 2014 was imported, and 75 percent of that fuel was consumed by vehicle transportation. The United States has been vulnerable to prices rising and falling sharply because most of the world's fuel is located in politically unstable countries.
By using an electric vehicle instead of one that only consumes gas, people can soften the country's reliance on imported fuel. Hybrid vehicles use much less fuel than regular ones since they use electric-drive technology. Both hybrid and plug-in electric vehicles can use off-board electric sources, and the majority of electricity in the United States is derived from natural gas, nuclear energy, coal or other renewable sources.
Increasing Fuel Economy
Hybrid cars have much lower fuel costs than traditional vehicles and one good example is the latest Honda Civic Hybrid. For the electric and gas combination, the mileage estimate is 45 miles per gallon on the highway while it is only 35 miles per gallon for the standard Civic. The cost of electricity is low in comparison with gasoline. Since these vehicles rely greatly on electric power, their fuel economy is measured in a different way.
One standard way to measure their efficiency is kilowatt hours per 100 miles, and another way is miles per gallon of fuel equivalent. Some modern cars can travel 100 miles on a gallon of gas while consuming 25 to 40 kilowatts of electricity. However, actual efficiency depends on the vehicle's weight, the load carried, wind, plane inclines and other factors. Electric-powered vehicles still maintain an efficiency advantage over their conventional competitors even with these issues factored in.
Bigger Infrastructure Availability
Since electricity is available at almost any parking place, electric vehicles have flexible fueling options. Electric cars are often charged at home, at a workplace, at designated stations or even at retail stores. Most of these vehicles take regular fuel as well if a charging station is not available. Charging stations are quickly expanding even to remote areas.
Upfront Versus Long-term Costs
While electric vehicles offer great long-term savings, the upfront investment may be prohibitive for some budgets. As production volume increases for these cars, the numbers on the price tags are likely to drop considerably. One way to offset the initial investment is a federal tax credit. There are also state tax credits, and the long-term fuel savings cannot be trumped. Tax credits are typically determined by the vehicle's size and battery capacity.
While batteries are meant to wear out someday just as an engine would, they are designed to last a considerable amount of time. Some manufacturers offer a warranty on the battery for up to 100,000 miles. In moderate climates, experts estimate that modern EV batteries may last between 12 and 15 years if they are cared for properly so it is best to always check with the dealer specific battery life estimates of a certain vehicle. In addition to the original warranty, some dealers offer an extended warranty for an extra fee. However, battery costs are expected to drop as production rates increase.
The emission benefits vary from one vehicle to another depending on the model and type of electric power system. There are no tailpipe emissions from electric vehicles, and hybrids do not emit anything when they are in electric mode. Life cycle emissions depend on electricity sources for charging, and these vary regionally.
Electric vehicles offer several other advantages and safety features. To learn more, discuss your options with an agent at HALO 314-351-HALO (4256).