As more people become aware of the perils facing our planet, sales of “green” cars are skyrocketing. Along with the ever-increasing cost of fuel, green cars are making sense to a lot of people. Do you know what makes a car green? If you are in the market for a new car, and are looking for an environmentally-friendly model, there are five questions you should ask before you sign on the dotted line.
How efficient is my engine?
Even if you purchase a small car, the engine’s efficiency will have a great impact on how much pollution the car emits. The heavier the engine and the less efficient it is equal greater emissions. Don’t assume that because a car is small that its engine will be efficient. To ensure that a car’s engine is as efficient as possible, many manufacturers are adding features that include: cylinder shutoff, direct injection, variable valve timing and engine shutoff-at-stop. Find out if the car you are looking at has an engine that is both lightweight and efficient.
What type of fuel will I use?
You have several options when it comes to fueling your vehicle, assuming you aren’t going to alter it aftermarket to run on biodiesel. Your choices are:
- Gasoline: this is the most common fuel used for cars in America. Typically available in three octane levels, you can easily find gas stations on virtually any corner and along every highway.
- Diesel: less common in America, but more common in other countries, diesel fuel offers a more economical, cleaner burning alternative to regular gasoline.
- Electricity: electric cars are becoming all the rage in the new car market. Simply plug your car into a special charging station that you install in your garage and you’re ready to go in the morning. Because you aren’t using actual fuel, electric cars release zero emissions.
Is the interior eco-friendly?
More and more cars are being made from recycled parts and environmentally-friendly fabrics, when it comes to the interior. Soy foam has been utilized by Ford and was place in over one million cars in 2009. Toyota aims to ensure that at least 20 percent of the plastics used inside of their cars are made from plant derived or recycled materials by the year 2014. Honda has developed an initiative to include eco-friendly materials in the interior of its vehicles. Choosing a green car is about much more than the emissions it produces on the outside. That new car smell and the noxious fumes emanating from the plastic inside your vehicle are toxic. Look for a car that is as environmentally-friendly on the inside as it is on the outside
How many miles-per-gallon can I expect?
You may be surprised to find that many so-called green cars do not have better fuel economy than their standard cousins. Be sure to ask the dealer about the MPG rating of the green car you are looking at and compare it to a non-green model of similar size. You may not be doing anything to help the environment if you purchase a green car only to emit more pollutants into the atmosphere
Will this car get me a break on car insurance?
Your dealer may or may not be able to answer this question, but your insurance agent certainly can. Many insurance companies are offering discounts for those consumers who are choosing green cars. Before you purchase your car, contact your insurance agent and find out what type of impact, good or bad, your purchase will have on your premiums. Buying a green car is a great way to help the environment if the car you buy is truly green. Armed with these questions, be sure to have a conversation with the dealer before you sign any loan contracts, and don’t forget to have fun!
Author Sandy Landsford is a freelance Eco-writer and blogs for www.carinsurance.org.uk, where you can get a quote for cheap car insurance.