Taxes Inspire Me

As a California resident, the final straw broke when the gas tax legislation was passed.  Few things are more painful than filling up a 25-gallon tank four times a month and knowing 20% of the fuel expense is going to the state treasurer’s office for who knows what.  Roads? I’m sure it’s just like the lottery proceeds go to schools.  Depending on how much you drive, the average CA driver pays $600 per year in gas tax.  That would cover the majority of my auto insurance bill.  Out of anger and financial sanity, I finally decided to dip my toe in the electric vehicle market.  That when I decided to ditch my gas-guzzling Dodge 4X4.  I love my truck.  Actually, I decided to park it in the RV access because I will need it to help friends and family move.  That’s one of the lovely benefits of owning a truck.  Those of you out there with trucks understand.

Before the adrenaline spike wore off, I sprinted to my nearby Chevy dealer and purchased a used plug-in hybrid.  For those of you unfamiliar with a plug-in hybrid, it’s a car with a low range battery (40-50 miles) and a generator for an engine that powers the car when the battery runs out of juice.   I chose this option because it’s like an insurance policy and I’m risk-averse when it comes to getting stranded.  I don’t need someone calling CPS when my bored kids start playing Frogger on the interstate as I wait for Progressive to respond to my distress call.  Thankfully, I have not had to abandon my vehicle since starting this experiment.

As you may have noticed, my decision to purchase the Volt was driven by emotion instead of sound economic analysis.  Now that I have settled down, I think it is worth doing a quick cost comparison of owning (and emissions) and sharing this with our clients.  Below, I listed three common choices folks have when purchasing a car:  all-electric, plug-in hybrid, and gas.  The models for the respective categories are about as unflashy as it gets.  I tried to make an apples to apples comparison although I will say the Camry is more luxurious than the other two.  Just ask our own Julie McCoin who bought one recently.

My Recommendation:

Diversify by balancing your allocation:  50% gas and 50% electric.  Most families have two vehicles so making your next car electric could work out well.  Since EV’s are developing rapidly,  I would buy a used EV or lease new because those choices are the best value at the moment.  Everyone’s circumstance is unique but for me it made sense to get a daily commuter car.  It has saved me $250/month and the air 13,000 lbs of CO2.

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