Why buying a hybrid or electric vehicle to beat high gas prices might not make financial sense right now

Car buyers, already reeling from high gas prices, find little solace in the market for new and used hybrids, plug-in hybrids and all-electric vehicles these days. The shortages, due to the continued shortage of microchips, supply chain and transportation issues, and a series of unfortunate global events have both delayed the introduction of some new products and caused dealers, encouraging buyers to order new models from the factory. for delivery at a later date.

Worse still, ongoing supply and demand issues mean the chances of getting any sort of discount are slim at best, with many models now going over their MSRP.

And as it stands, electrified, fully battery-powered rides are already more expensive than their conventionally powered counterparts to cover the extra engineering and manufacturing costs. To that, many of today’s all-electric “Tesla fighters” come from luxury brands and come at super premium prices that are out of reach for most consumers. Exceptions to this include more affordable models like the Chevrolet Bolt EV and EUV, the Nissan Leaf, and a few other models not yet sold in all 50 states.

Fortunately, one-time federal tax incentives of about $4,500 to $7,500 on plug-in hybrids, depending on battery size, and the full $7,500 on electric vehicles (excluding General models Motors and Tesla) can help soften the financial blow, provided one can claim the credit. National and local incentives may also apply. Yet with inherently higher costs exacerbated by demand-fueled runaway transaction prices, it may take an accountant’s eye to determine whether a buyer can come out on top solely by saving money at the pump.

Moreover, buyers will find little comfort in buying used hybrids and electric vehicles, both in terms of price and availability. According to market monitoring by car research website iSeeCars.com, nine of the top 10 selling used cars in March, including all Tesla models, were electrified. The best model in this regard is the Tesla Model X, which took an average of 28 days to turn around. Otherwise, 52 days to sell is the average for all used vehicles, and it’s higher than before the pandemic. Here’s iSeeCars’ list of used cars that are soaring with abandonment from dealership lots:

  1. Tesla Model X (28.0 days)
  2. Honda Insight (28.9 days)
  3. Hyundai Ioniq hybrid (29.4 days)
  4. Tesla Model Y (29.5 days)
  5. Toyota Prius Prime (32.8 days)
  6. Mazda3 Sedan (34.3 days)
  7. Tesla Model S (34.7 days)
  8. Tesla Model 3 (34.7 days)
  9. Chevy Volt (35.0 days)
  10. Ford Mustang Mach-E (35.1 days)

Note that the new-for-2022 Ford Mustang Mach-E comes in at number 10 on the list of vehicles taking off iSeeCars’ used car lots. Ford has already stopped taking orders on new 2022 versions due to production constraints that are undermining demand, but we found a few little-used models already on sale, some obviously offered by profiteers asking stratospheric prices. For example, of the few Mach-Es listed on Carfax for the Chicago area, there’s a top GT version with 30 miles on the odometer that’s $83,000, about $14,000 more than the MSRP of a new one. model equipped in the same way.

But shelling out extravagant prices for a new hybrid or electric-powered vehicle isn’t the only way to save money at the pumps, nor is it a particularly good way right now, as the buyers who are already paying inflated prices could face a sharp drop in resale values. once the market stabilizes. People anxious to beat today’s high gas prices can keep more money in their pockets by correcting wasteful driving habits. Here’s how:

Take it easy. The easiest way to squeeze more miles out of every gallon is to smoothly accelerate and decelerate. Avoid sudden starts and stops as much as possible and obey posted speed limits. Every cruising speed of less than five mph at highway speeds reduces fuel consumption by seven percent. Use cruise control on the highway when conditions warrant it to maintain a steady speed and save fuel.

Stick to a schedule. Maintaining a vehicle according to the manufacturer’s recommendations to save gas and meet its warranty provisions. Modern cars don’t require major tune-ups, but simply changing a clogged air filter or worn spark plugs can help maintain maximum mileage. And be sure to get the car serviced if the “check engine” light stays on, indicating that there is a problem with the emissions system that is likely affecting its fuel economy.

Avoid idling. One of the easiest ways to save gas is to simply turn off a car’s engine while waiting on a sidewalk or sitting at an extended red light for more than 30 seconds. This is because a vehicle gets the equivalent of zero mpg when idling. Avoid running the engine to warm up the car before starting, even in winter; it’s useless and it wastes fuel.

Manage inflation, the good kind. Improperly inflated tires can hurt a car’s mileage and lead to uneven and/or premature wear. Air pressure varies on average one PSI (pounds per square inch) with every 10 degree (Fahrenheit) change in air temperature, so check tires frequently with a good tire pressure gauge. quality. If your vehicle is equipped with a detailed tire pressure monitor, so much the better. Keep the tires inflated to the recommended PSI level, as indicated by a label inside the driver’s side door.

Get an alignment. If you notice your car pulling to one side or the steering wheel being off-center, take the car in for a wheel alignment. Misalignment not only causes excessive tire wear, but it also forces the engine to work harder, which, in turn, reduces gas mileage.

Empty the bric-a-brac in the trunk. Reducing a vehicle’s curb weight is the easiest way to improve its fuel economy. To that end, don’t think of a car as a rolling storage locker – carrying an extra 100 pounds of storage can increase a vehicle’s energy consumption by 1-2%.

Stay stylish. Make sure your ride is as aerodynamic as it was designed to maximize mileage. Keep vehicle windows closed when traveling at highway speeds to avoid increased wind resistance which will cause loss of fuel economy; open the air vents to bring in outside air, but use the air conditioning sparingly as this causes the engine to burn more gas. Also, remove a car or truck’s roof rack or other air blocking accessories when not in use.

Consolidate. Bundle multiple errands into one trip to save time and gas. Multiple short trips taken on different days, each from a cold start, can consume twice as much fuel as a longer multi-purpose trip covering the same distance when the engine is warm.

Use navigation. Whether built into your vehicle’s dashboard or activated via a smartphone, be sure to use GPS navigation when taking a road trip or venturing into new-to-you territory to avoid mishaps. getting lost and wasting fuel trying to get back on track.

And here’s another way to save money at the gas station: keep money in your wallet that you might otherwise spend on drinks, snacks and lottery tickets at the convenience store.

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