Eco-Living Magazine

Electric Cars – A Practical Man’s Epiphany

Posted on the 28 September 2011 by 2ndgreenrevolution @2ndgreenrev

Electric Cars – A Practical Man’s EpiphanyThe green movement was a nonstarter for me. The generation gap was never more evident than at my house. While my son studies green technologies at school, I prefer collared greens and the Green Bay Packers. I’m a practical man.

Father and son relationships are a strange thing. On a perfect summer afternoon, we sat together in our lawn chairs, each with a beer in hand, discussing the problems of the world and never once agreeing on anything. They say that the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree but I beg to differ. I don’t know this kid at all.

Then he started in on my truck. My beloved truck. This is the truck that put food on the table, got him to football practice, and landed him a job at a research university placing condoms on ears of corn. Yes, you read that correctly. It was a genetic experiment that I’ve yet to understand but it paid good money and got him to college. Don’t laugh.

Knowing that my truck has almost 180,000 miles on it, he suggested an electric car, which I nixed because of it’s perceived limitations. Then he threw me a curveball.

Electric cars and hybrids are pretty common, Dad. Not only that, they save money on gas…and there are tax incentives. Not just deductions. Tax credits.”

He explained to me that credits are different than deductions in that when you file taxes, you get the full benefit, dollar for dollar, on the purchase.

And now that there are several models available from numerous auto makers, competition has brought the price down to something more affordable, even cheaper than some new trucks.

Keep talking, kid.

While he touched on environmental benefits, we spoke more in depth about the makes and models available and the monetary advantages. At last we were speaking the same language. I found that my knowledge of hybrid vehicles and what was available was woefully inadequate. I was most surprised by these facts:

1) They Make Hybrid and Alternative Fuel Pickups
That’s right. And they’re affordable! The Ford F-150 E85 only gets 11 miles to the gallon (combined), but at a MSRP of only $22,100 it’s cheaper than a traditional pickup. And if the gas mileage troubles you, Chevy makes a hybrid that gets 21 miles to the gallon.

2) Hybrids and Electrics Are No More Expensive To Maintain
Dealer’s service departments do usually charge a bit more, but now that there are well over a million hybrids on the road, many mechanics are familiar with them and can perform basic maintenance.

3) Tax Benefits
While the Bush energy bill of 2005 that created tax incentive to purchase all hybrids expired in 2010, tax incentives still exist for those who choose to purchase electric vehicles or plug-in hybrids. There are both state and federal based incentives. California is offering up to $5000 credit on the purchase of an electric vehicle while the federal credit is up to $7,500. Nice chunk of change.

Now that my son is back at school, I revisit the conversation in my head. Not just the part about hybrid and electric vehicles but saving money. I’ve come to realize something about him that should not have surprised me. He’s a practical man.

Richard Rossi is a guest blogger, published humor writer and children’s book illustrator from Greensboro, North Carolina. You’ll find his work at his website,

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