With Oil prices reaching $100 a barrel it is time for all of us to rethink the amount of energy we use and buying a fuel efficient car is one way we can lower our dependence on Oil.
Its been said that if all Americans were to drive vehicles that got between 35 and 45 MPG there would be no need to buy Oil from other countries. This is important because the ability to make vehicles that get that or even better mile per gallon rating is within our grasp.
So, how do we choose a good vehicle and what are the drawbacks or allowances we will have to make.
Well first off we have to get past the mentality that driving a big SUV or Truck is a status symbol. For many of us even contractors we do not need all of the extra carrying capacity found in the largest trucks and showing up on a jobsite is more about status then it is about need.
If you are a carpenter most of the time you will have your lumber delivered to the job and if this is something you are not use to doing you should know your supplier can make your deliveries for free or for $35 to $75 within a day.
What you will need maybe is your compressor and generator which can easily be hauled by a small truck that gets 25mpg.
If you are lucky enough to have a family that means you will probably need 2 vehicles. One for work and one for daily driving. This vehicle should be large enough to accommodate your needs but until manufactures redesign SUVs you will only have a few choices.
In the 2008 model year there are 10 Hybrid SUVs that get between 28 and 34 mpg.
These vehicles are large enough to accommodate your family and if needed could be used for work.
Total Cost of Ownership & Tax Rebates
One thing that often goes unmentioned when people think about buying a hybrid is the benefits in cost. If you are able to purchase a Hybrid for work or home then you can get up to $4,000 back on your taxes the first year you own the vehicle. Some States like California will have additional discounts for people that buy Alternative Fuel and Hybrid Cars and Trucks.
In addition to getting an average of $2500 back on your Federal Taxes you will also save an average of almost $1,000 in gasoline every year you own the car.
With just some slight modification to your driving habits, lower fuel cost due to higher mpg, and tax rebates you can see dramatic paybacks in the first year you own your vehicle.
For more information about new car tax rebates for purchases of Hybrids and Alternative Fuel Vehicles check with your accountant… www.irs.gov or for specific informaion
What if a new Hybrid or brand new car isn’t in your wallet?
If you can’t afford a new car or truck there is still a lot that you can do to save fuel costs.
First you might want to think about buying a used car that gets better milage.
By using the www.fueleconomy.gov website you can search for information on cars and trucks dating back to 1985.
If you are driving a truck or suv and don’t need all that space and weight for your work then theres really no reason to drag it along every day just so you can keep it for a week in the summer to go camping or to haul your boat a couple times.
A $800 truck in good condition even if you have to spend a couple hundred on cleaning it up can sit in your driveway and have its insurance activated within an hour or so the week before you need it. It is not the easiest solution but it is one you might think about. It also gives you a backup vehicle incase your primary vehicle needs to go in for repairs.
Buying a small economic car to drive to work will also save you money. There are a number of cars out there that get about 30 mpg and they are standard off the shelf models.
Simply by jumping from your truck or SUV into an average midsized or small car you might double your fuel economy.
If you need room to carry your equipment you might think about a Hatchback Honda which can get 30mpg if you need more room then maybe a small truck like a Toyota Tachoma 2wd or Ranger or S10 with a 4 cylinder and a 5 speed manual transmission. You won’t get 30mpg but you will get twice the mpg of your Suburban or F350 big block.
So, what is this all about?
Well it is just a little bit of honesty.
Everyone wants to impress their friends or family or the people they work with by going bigger. That means a big block and 4wd, mudders and extended cabs so big you can’t even carry a full sheet of plywood in it.
On top of that all of these trucks have an American flag or a Support the Troops ribbon or some other stupid insincere symbol that seems like a slap in the face.
Its time we do what is right and change our lives so others don’t have to go fight wars just so we can say we have the biggest %&#@.
And to put my money where my mouth is I recently bought a 1990’s Honda Hatchback. I can’t haul everything in it but for the most part I can get most everything to the site that I need. Thats not saying I am giving up on trucks but 80% of the time I can get by and I do it for one reason.
Saving Oil has a lot to do with all of our futures.
During WW2 our parents and grandparents had to ration in order to get by.
Right now we have to choice to do it ourselves and not only does it keep money in my pocket it keeps money out of other people’s pockets that put it to use against us.
In all honesty this is not just an American thing either.
There has to be an international effort to reduce our need of Oil because in 50 years (but most likely much sooner) there will be wars fought over oil and its not going to be pretty like WW1 and WW2. Tactical Thermonuclear wars can not be fought unless only one side has access to the weapon and this is no longer the case. Everyone knows that anyone today with the right money and connections can get anything they want. And just like mathew broadwick said the only choice we have is to not play the game.
Oil is used in many more products then just the gasoline I put in my tank. Its used for plastic packaging of our foods, its used in carpets and clothes and our plumbing pipes.
We may be able to use Nuclear, Solar and Wind to run electric cars and heaters for our homes but how are we going to be able to make a Flat Screen LCD Tv to hang on our wall or plastic wrap to put around our sandwiches.
This is a Really HUGE issue and it is long past time to act like the men and women we think we are when we drive around in big flashy cars and trucks eating up our children and grandchildren’s future.
Anyway I know it may be tough for us all but I hope you will join me and spread the word. Our kids deserve a better life and if all it takes is a little effort on our part and we also benifit by less money coming out of our pockets then its worth doing.
And if this is out of your reach to purchase a new Hybrid please check our other howtos about improving vehicle efficency and energy savings in your home.