OK, I admit it: I’m a wannabe-hybrid owner. I’d gleefully drive a brand-new, freshly-charged electronic car off the lot. I perk up at the commercials on TV—you know, the one with the sleek new e-car being plugged into its charger in the garage by the happy new owners. And the idea of owning a plug-in hybrid (PHEV) sends my heart atwitter. But these are just daydreams—and I’m not alone. A recent survey conducted by Pike Research proves just that. The results of Pike Research’s survey sum it up succinctly: “Survey Finds Americans want to go hybrid, can’t afford it.” So, how can I be “green” without an eternally empty wallet?
One option many do not consider is buying a used hybrid. Believe it or not, plenty of people blow through cars quicker than I blow through my paychecks—meaning there are plenty of used hybrids already for sale. I found nine used Honda Civic hybrids listed that are well within an affordable budget (under $20,000).
Alternately, you can buy a gasoline-fueled car that gets decent gas mileage—they actually exist. An added bonus: Cars with good gas mileage come in every size—if applying the Environmental Protection Agency’s 30 mpg for highway driving as standard for “good” gas mileage.
Here are some alternatives to buying new or used hybrid or e-vehicles:
- Compact: The new 2011 Volkswagen Golf and 2011 Volkswagen Jetta both test an estimated 30 mpg city and 42 mpg highway, making these models the best in class.
- Mid-sized: The highest-rated mid-sized, gasoline-powered vehicle is the 2011 Hyundai Elantra, with 29 mpg city and 40 mpg highway.
- Large: For a little more leg room, the 2011 Hyundai Sonata (24 mpg city/35 mpg highway) and 2011 Honda Accord (23 mpg city/34 mpg highway) are both viable sedan-style options.
- Small station wagon: Carpooling? No problem. The 2011 VW Jetta Sportswagon boasts an average 30 mpg city and 42 mpg highway. The 2011 Audi A3 has the exact same gas mileage.
- Mid-sized station wagon: Who knew you could get a gas-powered station wagon with comparable gas mileage to the little guys? While it takes premium gas and was discontinued in 2011, earlier models of the Kia Rondo average 20 mpg city and 27 mpg highway.
Trucks, vans and SUVs
- Small pickup truck: The 2011 Ford Ranger or the new 2011 Toyota Tacoma will get you close to 30 mpg on average.
- Minivan: The only minivan worth mentioning in terms of “good” gas mileage is the 2011 Honda Odyssey.
- Cargo van: Need a big ol’ van for work or the rock band you’re putting together? Go with the 2011 Chevrolet Express, or 2011 GMC Savana series—they barely hit 20 mpg, but are still better than the alternative-gas powered vans out there.
So, what’s your alternative to alternative?