What type of vehicle should I buy next?

A recent national survey conducted by CarMax found that 55.9% of car owners said they were “likely” to purchase an electric or hybrid vehicle as their next car purchase.

“For most people, the main benefit of hybrid and electric vehicles was not personal – it’s for the environment,” the report says. Some 68.4% of those polled said their main incentive to buy an electric car was the environmental benefit. There are other incentives, including discounts, lower cost per mile, and less maintenance.

Alexandra Kelley, writing for thehill.com, said: “As America’s infrastructure and consumer enthusiasm must continue to grow, 89.5% of car owners believe that hybrid vehicles are becoming increasingly popular and 91.8% believe that there will be more sustainable cars than traditional gasoline cars. motor vehicles by 2050.

Judith Polich / For the Journal

President Joe Biden has set a new goal for the United States to reduce its greenhouse gas pollution by 50 to 52 percent by 2030. To help meet that goal, his administration wants half of sales of new vehicles in the United States will be electric by 2030. Regulators are also tightening emission standards for all cars and trucks.

“It’s hard to overstate the importance of these new vehicle emission standards,” said Dan Lashoff, director of the World Resources Institute. “With the infrastructure investments currently under consideration in Congress, these standards will be among the most effective measures the Biden administration can take to address the climate crisis.”

If you are among the 55.9% of people likely to make a hybrid or electric car your next new car purchase, how do you decide? Should you buy a hybrid, go electric, or get a plug-in, and what’s the difference?

Here is the count.

A hybrid is powered 100% on gasoline, but also relies on an electric motor that can sometimes power the car to delay the use of the gasoline engine and save fuel. When you’re stopped at a stop sign or coasting, the electric motor acts like a generator and stores that energy in a small battery where it’s immediately used the next time you accelerate. This extra energy improves your gas mileage. As a result, hybrids have better mileage when driven in cities than on highways.

In contrast, an electric car (EV) has a large battery and an electric motor powerful enough to provide adequate range and performance without an engine or gas tank.

The third alternative is a plug-in hybrid (PHEV). A PHEV is a hybrid with a much larger battery that recharges, like an electric car, via an external power source. It works much like an electric car in that when the battery is charged, the gasoline engine is on standby. When the battery is down, it works like a hybrid. PHEVs don’t have the range of most fully electric cars, but are easy to charge and make it easy to find a gas station when traveling.

Increased mileage means less fossil fuel emissions. A hybrid like the popular Prius travels over 50 miles per gallon, but uses fossil fuels and still gives off emissions, albeit less than a conventional vehicle. Many small gasoline-powered cars travel at least 35 miles per gallon.

Electric cars are a whole different animal. There is no show. There is no gasoline engine. Range on a charge will vary, but many newer electric cars have ranges over 200 miles. It can be argued that emissions can be generated during the production of this electricity. But, you can bet there are huge additional emissions involved in getting the gas you put in your car, from drilling, pumping, refining to transporting.

According to a report from the Sierra Club, CO2 emissions from the well to the gas pump can range from about 3.35 pounds per gallon to 6.7 pounds per gallon, including the equivalent of other greenhouse gases. , like methane. Add to that the 4.6 tonnes of CO2 that an average gasoline car emits each year.

Many environmentalists view hybrids and PHEVs as a transition. If you can afford it, the best bet is solar power on the roof of your house which produces the electricity that charges your electric car. If you mostly drive in the city, a good hybrid is convenient and will increase your gas mileage.

As for me, I’m looking at the new PHEVs, at least until all those much-needed charging stations are built. I have solar power on my roof and can hit the equivalent of 100 miles per gallon with some PHEVs. You just have to think about loading it.

Longtime New Mexico resident Judith Polich is a retired lawyer with a background in environmental studies and a climate change student. She can be reached at [email protected]

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