With electric cars touted as the vehicles of the future, you may be considering if owning an electric car is right for you or your family. With more benefits than drawbacks in owning these vehicles over fuel-powered cars, there’s no wonder we see electric vehicles everywhere.
I’ve compiled the benefits of owning an electric car so you can make an informed decision on your next car purchase. Purchasing an EV can cause anxiety (range anxiety is a real thing) to downright fear. Us humans like certainty so it may feel risky to be a trendsetter. Let me put your fears to rest with nine benefits to owning an electric car.
1. Owning an Electric Car Reduces Air Pollution and Greenhouse Gases
The positive environmental impact of driving an electric vehicle is one of the top reasons that both consumers and governments are in favor of converting to electric cars. With the serious impacts of pollution and carbon emissions on our environment, finding more sustainable ways to live is a major concern for individuals.
Compared to gas-powered cars, electric vehicles have a smaller environmental impact. In terms of direct emissions, electric vehicles produce zero waste, which cannot be said of traditional fuel-driven cars (Source: U.S. Dept. of Energy). Every time you drive an electric car, there is no pollution being expelled as you cruise down the road.
Greenhouse gases may be emitted by electric car use depending on where you live. The act of driving the car does not contribute to pollution, but its fuel source (electricity) could be sourced by burning fossil fuels. Around 63% of the electricity used in the U.S. comes from burning fossil fuels (Source: EPA). Check to see where your local electricity comes from.
When using electricity that is derived from renewable energy sources, an electric car decreases both air pollution and greenhouse gases. Even electricity produced by combustion can lead to an overall positive effect on the degradation of the environment compared to fuel-powered cars (Source: Northwestern University).
2. Owning an Electric Car Improves Health Outcomes
Much like the positive effect that electric cars have on the environment, driving electric cars can have a positive effect on our health. While a single person driving an electric car will have only a minuscule impact on society as a whole, the move towards electric cars will improve air quality for better breathing and health. This is especially true in urban settings where air quality and congestion are worse.
As more consumers choose to drive electric cars, the collective impact of reducing air pollution will result in better air quality. Researchers around the world continue to study these trends and suggest that air quality and overall public health can improve based on their models (Source: University of Toronto).
On an individual health basis, electric cars will eliminate exposure one has to fuel-related inhalation. These are some of the situations you no longer worry about when driving an electric car:
- Breathing gasoline vapors: When you are filling a gas tank, you may inhale vapors that can be irritating or cause dizziness and headaches (Source: Illinois Dept. of Public Health).
- Inhaling exhaust fumes: If you are running a vehicle and are nearby the exhaust fumes, these can lead to throat irritation or difficulty breathing. This is especially true if the car is in a poorly ventilated space. While catalytic converters have limited these risks in cars, you are still inhaling small amounts of combusted fuel.
- Noise pollution: Especially for loud vehicles, noise pollution can contribute to hearing problems, elevated blood pressure, and stress. This is especially true when driving for long periods and in areas with lots of car activity (Source: Environmental Pollution Centers).
With an electric car, you do not have to worry as much about these collective and individual health problems. Owning an electric car actually helps to improve health outcomes for others when adopted in large numbers. With more ownership of electric cars, risks can be limited for the larger community.
3. Owning an Electric Car Cuts Fuel Costs
While purchasing an electric car can be a large investment, especially with more expensive models, the lifetime cost of running an electric car will be lower than a fuel-powered car. According to the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute, yearly operating costs in charging for an electric vehicle are nearly half compared to fueling a car with gas (University of Michigan).
The prices of gas and electricity in your region will largely impact what costs will look like for you. Even if gas is cheaper than electricity in your area, the energy efficiency of an electric car will keep charging costs lower than fuel expenditures. Electric vehicles use over 77% of energy in electricity compared to under 30% of energy for gas cars (Source: U.S. Dept. of Energy).
Check out this calculator to compare the costs of driving an electric vehicle in your area versus a gas-powered car. This can provide you with a comparative estimate of costs and driving performance based on their energy sources. You can also use the U.S. Department of Energy’s tool to find out what “fuel costs” for electric cars are in your state.
Utilizing a free charging station at work or in public is a great way to cut down on your costs. If you do need to charge at home, investing in a high-powered charging station will ultimately save you more in the long run. Faster charging is more efficient and will help to cut down on large monthly electricity bills.
4. Owning an Electric Car Minimizes Maintenance Needs
Another important cost to consider for your car is maintenance. Not only can this drive your yearly vehicle costs up, but it also adds more time and effort. Without a combustible engine, electric car owners have overall less maintenance associated with running their car.
As an electric car owner, you no longer have to worry about the following:
- Oil changes
- Transmission fluids changes
- Smog checks
- Air filter changes
- Spark plug replacements
It is recommended that cars are serviced every 12 months (Source: AAA). Taking an electric car in for routine service will be less expensive with fewer moving parts. The highest potential maintenance cost for an electric vehicle is battery replacement. Current data suggest that replacement may be needed between 10-20 years after first use (Source: EDF Energy).
All routine maintenance in owning any vehicle will still be required, such as tire rotations, brake changes, insurance, and mechanical adjustments. Overall, the routine expenses of maintaining a gas-powered engine over time will surpass those associated with owning an electric vehicle.
5. An Electric Car is Quiet and Comfortable to Drive
Electric vehicle owners do not have to feel like they are sacrificing their driving experience for an environmentally friendly vehicle. With a battery-powered car, many of the noises and vibrations you experience while driving will go away. It can be difficult to imagine the difference if you have never been in or driven an electric vehicle before.
Driving an electric vehicle contributes to a sublime driving experience for the following reasons:
- Quiet operation: Compared to their gas-powered counterparts, electric vehicles are incredibly quiet. This allows for lower levels of noise pollution and a more peaceful driving experience. Electric cars have had to increase their noise level as a safety measure for pedestrians and cyclists to be aware of their presence (Source: N.Y. Times).
- Enhanced power and acceleration: Many electric car models are more powerful and have greater acceleration capabilities than gas-powered cars. Most electric cars can reach 60 mph in under 8 seconds, but the faster ones can do so in about 3 seconds (Source: Inside E.V.s). Electric vehicles are often quicker from 0 mph than gas vehicles.
- Smooth ride: Without the combustion engine, a vibration-free driving experience is more likely to be achieved in an electric vehicle than a gas-powered one. There is no engine revving, which also contributes to these vibrations (Source: Green Car Reports).
If performance is an important consideration in owning an electric vehicle for you, purchasing a high-performance model may be the best choice. Large car manufacturers have taken their technology and put it into electric car models to provide an exciting driving experience on a completely different operating system.
6. Owning an Electric Car Offers Tax Incentives
To promote the driving of environmentally sustainable vehicles, there are tax credits available at federal, state, and local levels for many electric car owners. Because the initial cost of buying an electric car is often higher than a gas-powered car, these credits can further drive down the cost of a good long-term investment.
Tax credits are dependent on the specific electric vehicle and your individual tax obligations. You will need to look at the specific state regulations to see if there are additional credits you can receive. The federal tax credit can be worth up to $7,500, but some drivers may be eligible for only a portion of that number (Source: U.S. News).
Related article: These 28 Electric Cars Qualify for a Tax Credit
Multiple stipulations will impact the tax credit you are eligible to receive as an electric car owner:
- Battery capacity: Better performing batteries will offer greater efficiency and have an overall smaller negative impact on the environment. These will make owners eligible for greater tax benefits. To be eligible for these credits, batteries must have a capacity of 4-kilowatt hours or greater.
- Must be charged externally: The car must rely on external energy sources to qualify. This will not apply to self-charging batteries, which are found in many hybrid vehicles. Electric vehicles that are specifically “plugin” typically qualify, but you should check your model against federal and state regulations to confirm.
- Reduces tax liabilities: You can only claim up to your max amount of tax liabilities in the year you claim the credit. This means that if you do not owe any taxes in a given year, you cannot claim any of the credit (Source: Investopedia). Choosing when to apply for this credit involves thorough planning based on your income and taxes in any given year.
- Tesla and General Motors exemption: Because these companies have reached their limit on sales that can claim the credit, you will not receive a tax credit if purchasing one of their models. Check the specific details of the model to confirm.
- New vehicles: The credit is only available to those who purchase the electric vehicle as a new car. It cannot be a converted electric vehicle either. The tax credit only applies to purchased vehicles and does not include new electric cars that are leased.
Looking into local and state tax credits can be incredibly beneficial and increase your overall savings. Some states offer much better incentives than others, notably Colorado and Connecticut. These are then followed by many states in the Northeast and on the west coast of the United States.
7. Owning an Electric Car May Give You Access to Carpool Lanes
Your driving experience can be enriched by owning an electric vehicle. This comes in the form of taking advantage of carpool lanes and avoiding traffic. Cars that meet specific emissions standards qualify for the use of High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) lanes on the highways or tolls in some states (source: U.S. Dept of Energy).
Some of these regulations have been put in place to incentivize drivers to purchase environmentally-friendly vehicles. Some restrictions may apply in certain states, so look into individual laws and what is required to use the lane. With more vehicles coming onto the roads, these benefits could be offered more sparingly.
States that allow for some form of electric vehicles to use HOV lanes include:
If you live in one of these states and have a long commute, considering an electric car or low emissions vehicle can allow you to take part in these benefits. In some areas and states, this could also mean lower toll costs. States that invest in these programs have often made environmental conservation a priority.
8. Owning an Electric Car Prioritizes Safety
With newer technologies being used in electric vehicles, you can feel confident that you will get from Point A to Point B safely. While certain electric vehicles had a history of catching on fire, data shows that these do not reflect larger trends, and these were specific incidents involving driver error.
Comparing electric vehicles and gas-powered cars, electric cars are less flammable and will not explode at the same rates. While lithium-ion batteries in electric cars could also be flammable, the considerable amount of safety measures put in place, such as fuses and circuit breakers, dramatically improves their performance.
A significant amount of research and testing has been done on the safety of electric cars. Findings show that while there are risks with any battery-powered vehicle, manufacturers have successfully combated these concerns with important safety features. These measures have been designed to prevent potential malfunctions. (Source: Road Safety Observatory).
According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, they do not believe that electric vehicles pose greater safety risks to drivers even with powerful high voltage batteries (Source: NHTSA). From a pedestrian perspective, the added regulations of heightened noise levels in the car will help to keep those outside the car safe as well.
9. Owning an Electric Car is the Future of Technology
One of the benefits of owning an electric car is that you are ahead of the curve in the future of car technology. Trends are already showing increases in electric car purchases, where 10% of passenger car sales are expected to be electric by 2025 (Source: BloombergNEF). This same report suggests that by 2040, up to 58% of passenger car sales will be for electric vehicles.
Related article: Will Electric Cars Ever Be Affordable?
The expected increase is not only tied to the desire to help our planet and provide individual incentives but also allowing the technology to develop further. Because many electric cars are more expensive than gas-powered cars, this makes purchasing one unattainable for many families. As the technology becomes cheaper, more people will have access to these cars.
In many European countries, buying a vehicle that emits more emissions will likely cost more in taxes compared to electric and low-emission cars. There is a similar regulation in the U.S., known as the “Gas Guzzler Tax” for cars that lie on the extremes of emissions (Source: EPA).
Stricter regulations will raise taxes for cars that are not “gas guzzlers” and simply are not electric.
As electric car prices are driven down, and they become more widely available to the masses, we are likely to see this technology more frequently driven on the road. A major shift in how quickly this occurs will be the number of charging stations that will be available to drivers across the country and increased investment in the required infrastructure.
Benefits of Owning an Electric Car
Now you know all of the important benefits of owning an electric car. There’s no doubt that the positive societal and individual impacts of electric vehicles make a strong case for driving one.
There are not one but nine benefits to driving these cars, and there are very few drawbacks. While everyone’s driving styles and car priorities vary, the future of sustainable energy and consumerism sways definitively in the direction of electric vehicles.