Don’t jump back into an SUV just yet!
If you drive an electric car or a hybrid, you might be tempted by low gas prices to make the leap back into an SUV or crossover. It happens every time there’s a fluctuation in fuel prices; they rise, and people flock to hybrids. They sink, and people migrate back to the big rigs.
Americans are a fickle breed, and we have a hard time looking at the long-term picture. With gas prices currently well under $3 per gallon in most of the country, the great transition back to SUVs is already in place.
According to CNN, so far this year only 45 percent of people who traded in an environmentally friendly hybrid car purchased another. That means 55 percent of folks went back to gas, and many of those were SUV purchases.
The logic makes sense, but whatever happened to the days when someone made a decision and stuck with it for a while?
In the early days of hybrids, 30 miles per gallon was a major milestone, and the extra price of a hybrid car was worth it. Not only did the buyer get 30+ mpg, he or she also got the social status of having the hybrid badge on the car.
Today the hybrid badge is no longer special, and the extra cost isn’t justified by the low price of gas. Also, modern cars and even small SUVs can manage 30 miles per gallon or more. There’s little reason to buy an EV or a hybrid these days. But there are plenty of reasons to keep one.
For the last week, my in-laws have been at the house with their electric Nissan Leaf. We’ve been working together to remodel a kitchen and have had to take countless trips back and forth to the local Home Depot, which is about 15 miles away. Taking the Leaf was virtually free and cost us nothing in fuel. Driving my 2008 Audi Q7 on those trips would easily have been half a tank of gas or more. Saving money on fuel just makes sense, no matter how much or how little you save.
If you already have an EV or hybrid, why get rid of it? I’d hold onto mine even just for insurance against gas prices rising again, which they are sure to do in the near future. We may not see the nearly $5 per gallon that we saw in 2012, but even eclipsing $3 would be enough to see some significant savings.
At current gas prices, how likely are you to purchase a hybrid vehicle?