How to Buy the Best Eco-Friendly Car: A Buyer's Guide


Jan 30th, 2020

How to Buy the Best Eco-Friendly Car: A Buyer's Guide

If the current trend in the automotive world has revealed something, it is the importance of going the eco-friendly way.

Apart from lowering your carbon footprint, environment-friendly cars are an affordable choice when you consider long term calculations. Think of it as saving Mother Earth and saving some money doing it, too. For these reasons, eco-friendly cars have gained widespread appeal and increased demand.

But What Exactly Makes a Car Eco-friendly?

Compared to standard gas cars, green cars deliver better mileage while cutting down on pollution. Some eco-friendly cars can completely cut on exhaust emission that leads to the degradation of air quality. 

Typically, eco-friendly cars are either hybrid or electric.

Hybrid Cars

Hybrid cars make use of both electric and internal combustion engines. They can recharge while the gas engine is running or decelerating. 

The computer system switches between these engines in a way that ensures maximum efficiency and performance. It may decide to shift to the electric motor when the car is accelerating or stationary or to the gas engine when cruising.

Electric Cars

Electric cars, on the other hand, run on a rechargeable battery system. When the power in the battery falls low, the vehicle needs to be recharged at a charging station. Take note that some electric cars can recharge when decelerating.

Full electric cars have no fuel tanks or exhaust pipes because they don’t use fuel at all. What’s more, they don’t need an oil change.

Tips on Buying the Best Eco-friendly Car

Getting the best end of the deal when going for an eco-friendly car can be an uphill task. Below are some tips to ensure that the vehicle you drive home from the dealer is the real deal.

Choose a Light Colour

Most people would argue that the colour of a car doesn't affect its eco-friendliness. Well, they are wrong. The colour of your daily driver can make it less or more eco-friendly. A vehicle with a lighter hue lessens the load of the AC system during hot conditions.

On fair summer weather, the interior of a light-coloured car heats up 10° less compared to the same car with a black colour. It means the AC of a light-coloured vehicle will have less work to keep the interior cool. 

Go for Manual Transmission

Cars with automatic transmission tend to hog more fuel. To save on fuel, you should go for manual transmission. Also, the manual transmission holds less fluid and doesn’t require regular fluid changes. Guess it is time you started learning how to drive a manual transmission car if you don’t already know how.

Pick Between Electric and Hybrid

Before buying a car that’s ecologically sound, you first have to decide which one you're getting. You can go for an electric or hybrid depending on your needs and preference. Make an effort to inquire about the features of the car that make it eco-friendly.

Avoid the Extra Features

Much as the small extras would make your car look cool, they don’t contribute to the eco-friendly factor. Features such as roof racks, weather shields, and bug deflectors negatively impact on your car’s fuel economy.

To conserve energy and save on the fuel costs, avoid these features. 

Inquire More about the Fuel Efficiency

Although all the eco-friendly cars are designed to reduce pollution and save on fuel cost, they are not all built equal. 

For this reason, ask the dealer about the fuel consumption of a model as well as its efficiency. Eco-friendly cars with high fuel efficiency are ideal as they will cost you less when it comes to fuel.

Go with Diesel Engine

It may not sound like the brightest idea at first, but going with diesel engine cars is a good decision. Not only do diesel engines come with an advantage of better steady-state fuel economy but also higher low-range as well as mid-range power.

Diesel engines also have a longer lifespan.  

Opt for the Station Wagon over the SUV or Crossover

Almost everyone loves the SUV and crossover car style. However, the station wagon can offer the same interior space and better fuel economy, acceleration, and handling.

If you are considering a spacious car with the fuel economy of a sedan-style car, then the station wagon is your best bet.

Check for Sport Suspensions

Not many of us consider checking the suspension system when shopping for a car. According to experts, however, the suspension does affect the car’s eco-friendliness.

If you are looking for a car that’s friendliest to the environment, it is advisable to go with one that has sport suspensions. Aside from their tight springs, sport-tuned suspensions have better damping. 

From the eco-friendliness perspective, cars with sport suspension save on fuel during braking. These types of vehicles use their momentum when negotiating turns, which translates to less brake use. This, in turn, saves on fuel.

Check Plug-in Access

For prospective full-electric car owners, it is essential to check that the area where you frequently drive has plug-in access. Getting an electric car when you have no plug-in access close is not the best idea.

Before you decide on getting one, ask yourself whether you will be able to plug it for charging at work or in your garage.

Go Over Some of the Consumer Reviews

Dealers and salespersons may be biased when providing you with information about the models that interest you. To get accurate information, talk to other car owners or read consumer reviews from reputable sources and forums.

Ask about the driving experience, car systems, and any other questions you may have. Consumer reviews are the best sources for such answers. Expert reviews may omit some information or focus more on one aspect of the car.

Buy a Car that Will Last

It is pointless buying an eco-friendly car only to have to replace it in a short period. As you weigh your options, take some time to carry out in-depth research. Choose a vehicle that has proven durability and reliability on the road.

Wrap Up

Other important factors to consider are the cost, technology used, and the driving range of the car. With the automotive realm's focus turning to environmentally-friendly vehicles, getting an Eco-friendly car is undoubtedly a smart idea.

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Sam O.