The Palisadian-Post has partnered with local environmental nonprofit Resilient Palisades to deliver a weekly “green tip” to readers. The following tip was penned by Leo Craig, 15, a ninth-grade student at Harvard-Westlake School.
One of the best ways to combat climate change is by making climate-informed large purchases, which the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation describes as “swinging for the fences.” Making smarter big purchases can make a much greater difference than—say—using a paper straw at lunch.
Transportation makes up 28% of total U.S. CO2 emissions (the largest from a single source) and passenger cars constitute more than 60% of that number. So Palisadians who are thinking of swinging for the fences may be surprised to learn that the greenest cars are also the most cost effective.
One of the biggest stigmas surrounding hybrid and electric cars is that they are unaffordable due to their higher sticker price compared to gas-powered equivalents. But this perception can be disproved by visiting carboncounter.com. Developed by researchers at MIT, this website compares the overall monthly cost of owning and operating a vehicle with emissions.
Looking at the Chrysler Pacifica, one of the most popular minivans, the gas-powered version has a sticker price around $35,000 while the hybrid is priced at $40,000. By switching to the bar chart view, the two Pacificas can be compared in detail. What it shows is that the hybrid version is $80 per month less expensive to own due to savings on gas, while producing less than half the emissions.
The difference is even greater for two luxury sedans. The Tesla Model 3 starts at $38,000 while the Audi A4 starts at $39,000. The Model 3’s estimated monthly cost is $470 while the Audi’s is $640—36% higher. Equally important is the emissions gap, with the Audi emitting 3.7 times the emissions of the Tesla.
As the Federal and State governments also offer tax credits and rebates on newly purchased hybrid and electric cars, the cost advantage of going green is even higher, with rebates of up to $4,500 from California and Federal credits of up to $7,500.
Hybrids and electric cars are the best choices for your wallet while helping our planet. Using resources like Carbon Counter can help inform Palisadians as we make our most important climate decisions.
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