Can you remember the last time you went to the gas station and did not feel as if you had been robbed? Neither can anyone else. A knee jerk reaction is to unload the gas guzzling donkey that you are driving and buy a fuel sipping hybrid of some kind. It is always nice to have a new car, but will the fuel savings really justify the expense?
Cars that are capable of 40 mpg are all hybrids. The advanced technology of an electric/gasoline integration is more expensive than an all gas vehicle. The ‘newness’ of the technology makes repairs more expensive, as well. Both of these will go down in the coming years, but right now your upfront and long term expenses are going to be higher.
Having said that, a 40 mpg car can save you money at the pump and on your taxes. David Friedman, a research director with the Union of Concerned Scientists, estimates that a 40 mpg car can save its owner $4,000 over its life time if gas prices are $3 per gallon. If prices jump to an average of $4 per gallon, the same car will save you $6,000. Switching to a mainly electric car like the Chevy Volt or the Nissan Leaf will qualify you for a one-time tax federal credit of $7,500 and free you from the dreaded pump.
$40 mpg cars are a reality for niche buyers right now, but as technology improves and sticker prices fall, they will become commonplace on buy here pay here car lots around the country and so will money in their owners’ wallets.