Electric vehicles are starting to become more popular as gas prices continue to rise ... with no end in sight. But the truth is that electric vehicles are significantly pricier than many gas-powered models.
So we thought we'd put electric vehicles to the financial test. We ran the numbers, pitting the three mainstream models currently available in the US against the most popular hybrid, the Toyota Prius, and an “average” American car with average price, gas mileage, etc...
What we found was pretty surprising.
First, the averages. Your average American car gets 23.8 miles to the gallon, and your average American drives 13,476 miles a year. At current prices per gallon, that means each tank will run you $60 and you'll spend $2000 a year or so on gas.
Then, the Prius. First of all, the Prius already pays for itself. The average new car costs $28,400 in America and the Prius starts at around $23,000 depending on the model and options. On top of that, you cut your gas prices in half: the Prius will cost about $1000 a year to fill up and will pay for itself (provided you never have to repair it) in 21 years in gas savings. That's a high bar, to say the least.
So who are our contenders? They're the Nissan Leaf, the Chevy Volt, and the Mitsubishi I MeiV. The Mitsubishi actually wins right out of the gate; at $27,900 base price and 112 miles to the “gallon,” it's slightly cheaper than the average gas-powered car and only a few thousand more than the Prius. Of course, it's also tiny. That's really the key roadblock here. If you were wondering, it will pay for itself in gas savings in about 19 years.
That leaves the Leaf and the Volt. They're both a few thousand more than the average: $32,780 and $31,465, respectively. They both also get similar “mileage” with 99 and 98 mpg. And they both cost the same to charge; at 11 cents a kilowatt, they each run roughly $561 to charge for the year. Yes, you're saving $1500 in gas costs.
The Volt narrowly squeaks this one; it will take two years to pay off the difference while the Leaf will take three.
So what can we conclude from this electric vehicle showdown? Well, first of all, if you don't care about space and just need a car to move a couple of people and maybe some errands on a daily basis, the Mitsubishi will suit you just fine. But secondly... electric vehicles have a bit of a way to go.
We're not being entirely fair here, however. Buying these vehicles new may entitle you to certain tax credits that can remove several thousand from the price of the vehicle before you take it off the lot. That said, so far electric vehicles are designed as essentially errand cars: They have limited ranges of 100 miles or so. So heavy drivers and commuters may want to consider the Prius instead. You may not save as much money... but you'll certainly save some money.
Tags: safauto, safe auto, electric car
Car theft is widely seen as a crime perpetrated by careful thieves forming rings that abduct your car in the dead of night before chopping it up for parts and leaving you with an auto insurance mess.
And they usually are. Except when they're grade-schoolers.
#5) 13-Year-Olds “Borrow” BMW
Two boys decided to borrow their mother's BMW without asking ... which is already problematic since 13 is too young to have a driver's license. The other problem? They drove from Columbus, OH, to Kansas City, MO, a trip of approximately 700 miles. Police found them sleeping in the vehicle on their way to California. When informed of the incident, their mother was relieved but also raised an excellent question: How the heck did they travel 700 miles without anybody noticing?
#4) 11-Year-Old Takes the Bait Car
You expect teenagers to do stupid, possibly criminal things. But not middle schoolers. Nonetheless, that's exactly what an 11-year-old boy did. In fact, he not only stole the bait car, he drove it around, giving his friends rides and generally showing off.
This despite the fact that he couldn't see over the steering wheel. He and his 10-year-old friends were arrested and taken to juvenile court. Personally, we just want an explanation of how he learned to steal cars, and why an 11-year-old felt the need to drive.
#3) Swedish Boy Steals Car at Toy Gunpoint
Generally, stealing cars at gunpoint is the domain of dangerous gangsters and drug addicts. Also, apparently, it's the domain of Swedish 9-year-olds.
The boy used an airsoft gun to steal a car, screaming that it was loaded -- which it probably was, but it wasn't terribly dangerous. Unfortunately, being nine, he didn't have the best grasp of vehicles: the car he stole was an electric vehicle designed for city use that topped out at 18 miles an hour. He was “captured” by a bystander who literally simply picked him up and held him until police arrived. Fortunately, he won't be facing any charges: he's too young. We might recommend taking his toy guns away, though.
#2) Latarian Milton Swipes Keys, Becomes a Meme
Meet Latarian. He decided to “borrow” his grandmother's car by grabbing the keys and trying to drive off. Unfortunately, there was one serious problem in this plan: He couldn't drive. He wound up wrecking the vehicle and getting a spanking for his troubles. Apparently, though, he feels no regret for what he did. Maybe he needs a Scared Straight program.
#1) 7-Year-Old in Pajamas Just Wants to See His Dad
Finally, there's this seven-year-old, who gets the #1 slot because he actually could drive. Slightly.
This boy, who lives 100 miles north of Detroit, just wanted to see his father. Since it was the middle of the night and he lived with his mother, he took his fate into his own hands, and drove off, barefoot, in his pajamas.
Needless to say, police were somewhat surprised to see a seven-year-old driving a Pontiac Sunfire down a highway at 70 mph. Fortunately, they were able to stop him and make sure he went home.
No, they drove him.
Tags: safauto, safe auto, car thieves
How often do you see a Ferrari or a Lamborghini and think, “That guy must be worth a fortune?” According to a recent survey... he probably isn't. In fact, a breakdown by TrueCar.com of the most popular cars in the wealthiest ZIP codes is full of surprises.
Not the least of which is the total lack of supercars. Here's the list, from most to least.
#1) Mercedes Benz E-Class
Average Cost: $51,000 - $92,000
Why It's Popular: Mercedes last forever, and they're the mark of wealth with taste. Everybody knows Mercedes cost money, but they let you flaunt it without being tacky about it.
#2) BMW 328
Average Cost: $36,500 - $47,600
Why It's Popular: Just like the Mercedes, a BMW offers luxury and style at a price. On the other hand, this also is BMW's workhorse; this isn't an M-class racer with enormous horsepower. It's a stately sedan. In other words, it's a family car, just a better class of family car.
#3) Mercedes Benz C-Class
Average Cost: $34,800 - $61,400
Why It's Popular: Largely for the same reasons we listed above: luxurious, tasteful, and high-quality.
#4) Lexus RX
Average Price: $39,100 - $55,400
Why It's Popular: The only SUV to make the top five, the Lexus RX is an SUV with sedan handling that also happens to be a respected brand. It's a top quality car, and the kind of thing a person with money to spend and a family to care for would pick up.
Fair warning, this is where the list starts getting... odd.
#5) Toyota Prius
Average Cost: $24,000 to $33,000
Why It's Popular: This isn't a typo. Among the richest Americans, the Prius is the fifth most popular car. Why? The short answer is eco-prestige and, as you might have noticed by now, the rich are a bit tightfisted. The appeal of helping the environment while saving a buck has a certain allure.
But surely this is just an anomaly and the next car will be a luxury brand...
#6) Volkswagen Jetta
Average Cost: $16,675 to $24,000
Why It's Popular: True, Volkswagens are costly to repair. But in order to need to fix them, they'll need to break first. Volkswagens are legendarily reliable vehicles and that has a certain appeal.
So, now the luxury cars again, right?
#7) Honda CR-V
Average Cost: $22,000 - $30,000
Why It's Popular: Well, Hondas are very reliable. And people like SUVs. And that's pretty much all we've got, aside from the fact that the rich apparently like to save money.
They really like to save money.
#8) Honda Accord
Average Price: $21,400 - $31,930
Why It's Popular: It's fuel efficient, it's a nice car, it has a nice low auto insurance rate... if you like to save money, this is definitely a car for you. And apparently the rich like to save money.
#9) Toyota Camry
Average Cost: $22,500 - $31,200
Why It's Popular: Cheap, indestructible, fuel-efficient, good ride... apparently the richest 1% want the same thing out of a car that the rest of us do. So is this list really going to end with no more luxury brands?
#10) BMW X5
Average Price: $47,500 - $64,200
Why It's Popular: It's a BMW SUV. If you've got the money and the kids to haul to soccer practice... what's not to love?
In short, the rich want cheap, fuel-efficient reliable cars. Huh. We guess in one respect the 1% really are just like us.
Tags: safauto, safe auto, popular cars
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