No worries regardless of travel distance; plug-in hybrid vehicles help reduce urban air pollution and trips to the gas station.
You may not have heard it’s National Drive Electric Week, and you may not care, but if you are ready for a new vehicle and not yet ready to go all electric, a plug-in hybrid is what you need, especially if you need a personal vehicle for short trips.
I have a 10-mile commute to the office, and when I drive to work I can get there and back with my Subaru Crosstrek Plug-in Hybrid with very little need for the gasoline engine to kick in. My car’s electric-vehicle (EV) range is rated for 17 miles, but despite using my car several times a week to commute or run errands around town I’ve only needed to make two trips to the gas station all summer.
While a 17-mile range doesn’t seem like much, I’ve found it to be more than sufficient. I don’t even need to charge the car’s battery after each trip, because the shorter trips I need for errands barely drain the battery; driving at typically slower speeds on city streets further reduces the battery drain.
Cost of charging is relative
Electricity costs of course vary, and while I’ve noticed an increase in my typically low electric bill, the increase is minimal: 5- to 10-percent a month, and much cheaper than paying $5 per gallon of gasoline every few weeks. With my car I didn’t even need to install a special charger in my garage, because it came with a charger I can plug into a standard household outlet.
Tax incentives for EVs and charging stations
The Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) includes tax breaks for the purchase of certain EVs and installation of charging stations; search for incentives on the U.S. Department of Energy’s Alternative Fuels Data Center website. Even if you don’t have the privilege of owning a home or have a garage where you can plug in a vehicle, the IRA includes incentives for developers and local governments to install charging stations in apartment buildings, in high-traffic urban areas, and strategic locations along major highways.
Remember when during the COVID-19 pandemic when people suddenly stopped commuting or traveling? Air quality improved in 65 percent of cities studied, according to the 2020 World Air Quality Report. Swapping out greenhouse gas emitting vehicles for EVs and plug-in hybrids can help to clear the skies again without having to suffer through another pandemic.
So if you’re ready for a new vehicle, but concerned the range of EVs will keep you from travel beyond city limits, a plug-in hybrid will help you get there.