6 Ways to Drive a Hybrid or Electric Car on the Cheap


If you've considered switching from a conventional gasoline vehicle to an electric or hybrid car, you'll be happy to know that you can expect to save money in the long run. The purchase price may be higher upfront as compared to a traditional gas model, but we've found a number of ways to help you get a green car on the cheap. Consider these options.

1. Buy It Used

Whether you decide to buy new or used, it's important to look for the best deals in your area before you ever step foot into a dealership. By purchasing a used hybrid vehicle, you won't have to sacrifice any of the features you want and can also save some significant money in the process. And since it can take many years for a new hybrid car to pay off in value, a used vehicle makes even more sense from a financial perspective. Make sure to research tips on buying a used hybrid or electric car for additional ways to save.

2. Research Before You Buy

Green cars aren't always more expensive upfront than comparable gas models. By doing your research and choosing the right model, you can save thousands of dollars on your purchase. You can easily compare the cost of a hybrid versus a non-hybrid from the same manufacturer to determine if buying a new or used hybrid can save you money.

When you are comparing various options, make sure to consider more than just the base price. You'll also want to compare things like the mileage, range, charge, charging times, battery life, battery replacement and maintenance costs, power, specs, and your personal driving comfort so that you can get the best vehicle for your needs and lifestyle. The more features you add to your new car, the higher the price tag will be.

3. Watch the Gas Prices

Did you know that cheaper gas prices also translate to cheaper prices on hybrids and electric cars? Cutting back on gas is one of the major benefits of having a hybrid or electric car, but when gas prices drop, that benefit is suddenly less valuable. And as gas prices drop further, you can expect the price of hybrid and electric cars to continue falling as well.

Use this as a bargaining tool when purchasing a new or used electric or hybrid vehicle. If you have a plug-in hybrid vehicle, then make sure to keep the battery fully charged so that it will use as much electricity possible, which will save you money at the pump.

See also: Best Credit Cards with Gas Rewards

4. Take Advantage of Available Incentives

Keep in mind that once you purchase a hybrid or electric car, you may be eligible for special incentives, which will result in you saving more money. In fact, you may be eligible for as much as $7,500 in federal tax credits and another $2,500 in state incentives just for making the switch to a more environmentally friendly vehicle.

5. Lease It

Electric cars depreciate in value very quickly, as is the case with traditional gas models. Leasing the vehicle — rather than buying it — is a great solution if you aren't planning on keeping the car for the long-term, because you won't have to worry about the large initial depreciation hit. There are some great lease deals available and the low monthly payments can save you even more in the end.

6. Sign Up for Zipcar's Plan (In Select Cities)

If you aren't sure that an electric or hybrid vehicle is right for you, then consider signing up for Zipcar's car-share pod. The Electric Vehicle Pod is available to members by the hour, which will result in only a fraction of the cost of owning an electric vehicle. You can use the service the same as you would a normal Zipcar; simply rent the electric car when you need it, for as long as you need it, and return it when you are done. This is especially ideal for city-dwellers who don't drive on a daily basis. Check the site to see if it's available in your area.

Do you know of other ways to get a hybrid or electric vehicle on the cheap? Please share your thoughts in the comments below!

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