The "Green" Car Market

I am in the market for a new car in the next year or two. I want a cool, good-looking car, like an Audi A5, but I also want something that blends coolness with environmental consciousness, like the Tesla Model S. Neither of those are at a reasonable price point for me, so I've been browsing to find a more practical "green" car.


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  2. Despite the photo, I'm not sold on the Prius. I just can't get excited about its aesthetic and I'm not crazy about its lack of power.

    For me two main factors are important:

    1. Environmental impact is minimal - I judge this both by MPG and by emissions ratings, which are best reviewed on the EPA's Green Vehicle guide

    2. The vehicle is appealing aesthetically, has some power, and has some techtech - a lot of new cars hit these marks, as I'm not holding out for a Maserati GT, but not a lot of cars in #1 also hit this category

  3. Further resources if you are looking into cars:

    - My favorite car reviews come from, a Pacific Northwest TV website's car blog run by a guy named Tom Voelk. I find his perspective is very good.

    - Tom Voelk also has a good car review video podcast on iTunes, called "Drive"

    - CNET's Car Tech reviews and video podcast are also a good resource, they focus more on technology obviously

  4. Here are some examples of solid, unspectacular cars that hit #2 and are still reasonably priced, especially if I wait a year and there are some used or discount-priced models available.

    The Lincoln MKZ is slightly higher class and has lots of cool tech. It is like a cheaper BMW basically.

    The new Buick LaCrosse is also good for its price. It's like a cheaper Cadillac CTS.

  5. The SUV segment is also seeing some interesting options. I do like the flexibility of the SUV for road trips, camping trips, and light offroading. Taking my Honda Civic to those places is a little sketchy, you know?

    The Ford Escape Hybrid is a small SUV that gets 30mpg - equivalent to my Civic - and rated a 9.5 out of 10 (best) by the EPA on air pollution emissions, and an 8 out of 10 on greenhouse gas (CO2) emissions. No Tom Voelk review available yet.

    The Chevy Equinox is a competitor to the Escape and goes for even better fuel economy. No EPA emissions are available yet.

  6. So, to complete the quintuple-post, my desire is for more vehicles in the LaCrosse/MKZ segment to get aggressive with green powertrains, or for more vehicles in the Escape/Equinox segment to add even more utility and features. Or the Chevy Volt needs to get about $10k cheaper by the time it's released.

  7. sorry, Royce...I know a little about engine repair, but I really don't follow cars at all.

  8. I'll say you don't - since when are the brake pads part of engine repair?

    But in truth I would not be able to change my brake pads, so you are more man than me in this instance. Damn you Agte!

    Philosophical question about the blog - is it dumb for me to keep putting up car posts if no one else cares about cars? Or should I do it just because I'm interested and maybe someone in the audience will be?

  9. I would say keep talking about it, because even though it sounds like you are thinking out loud, the goal is to expand ideas by adding more. The vast majority of blogs are by a single person and they do just fine. Just because I can't contribute about choosing a car, eventually you could lead to a philosophical conversation.

    For example, my understanding is that based on currently technology costs, a hybrid takes 12 years for the reduced gas expense from the high gas-mileage to be more cost effective than a traditional alternative, which costs less up front. Adding some numbers. If a Honda Civic costs $15,000, while the hybrid version costs $20,000 and saves you $500 a year in gas, which do you buy? Basically, are you willing to spend more of your own money to help the environment?

    At this time in my life, I am going to by the non-hybrid because it makes more economical sense.

  10. That is a fantastic point, and I agree that from a purely economics standpoint it is a tough case to make currently. That extra $5k (in your example) that the hybrid costs is sometimes called a 'hybrid tax' because you're paying just for that drivetrain.

    I am unlike most normal buyers in that my #1 concern is actually emissions. Emissions are tied very closely to MPG but there are other factors as well. The two main measures of emissions are air pollution (things like nitrogen put into the air) and CO2 emissions (aka greenhouse gas emissions). Both things are tracked on the EPA review site above.

    Let me break this down with all these parts, by using the example of the Honda Civic. I'll get the data and post anew in a minute.