Are you in the market for a new vehicle but your budget only allows for a used car? You might try one of the dealerships and hope you find one that suits your needs. The problem is, those guys can be pretty shady and many used car salesmen only care about the commission they make on each sale. For all the hassle, you might as well buy yourself a new Zero motorcycle. This can be the electric vehicle you’ve always wanted but thought you couldn’t afford because who has $100,000 for a top Tesla model, right?

Seriously, folks, electric vehicles don’t deserve the bad rap they’ve gotten. Sure, a lot of their juice is produced by burning coal in areas where alternative energy sources haven’t quite caught on yet, but the oil industry doesn’t have that great of a public image as far as environmentalism is concerned either – and for better reason. The manufacturers of electric cars are at least trying to get the infrastructure in place for when we run out of fossil fuels and need to do a more serious rethink of how we produce energy than simply putting windmills everywhere. Besides, let’s face it, the price of a gallon of gas might have dropped back down to under $3, but it’s still too darned high for a lot of people who still need to drive to work every day.

Yeah, I can see you hesitating. Motorcycles aren’t exactly all-weather vehicles and you’d still like to see parking garages add a special section where you can just leave your electric vehicle to charge while you go shopping or head to the office or whatever. Tesla’s been doing a decent job of adding charging stations but there isn’t one in your town yet. Until you decide to put down the cash for a new Zero, there are a few things you can do to improve your gas mileage:

  • Lose weight. This is basic Newtonian physics here. If your car doesn’t need to move as much mass, it can get better gas mileage. Lightening up on your gas budget should give you another practical incentive to shed that extra ten pounds. On a related note, when packing for a long trip, if you’re not even sure if you’re going to use something, don’t pack it so you can save the weight and maybe even see out the back window for a change.
  • Keep up with the maintenance. Remember how you have to change the oil in your car after so many miles? Keeping up with that helps to lubricate the moving parts in your car so that everything continues to run smoothly. You also want to pay attention to those funny noises that your car has started making because they’re not going to go away if you ignore them. If you can’t afford the auto mechanic’s prices, I hope you’re fairly mechanically oriented (and yes, you can find parts online if you know where to look) because not only will the gas bill go up if you don’t keep your car running smoothly, but you’ll also wind up sitting by the side of the road waiting for the tow truck eventually.
  • Consider running errands during periods of lighter traffic. Okay, maybe you haven’t taken the plunge into the world of working at home yet and that means you’re still facing that morning traffic jam. Ideally, you should be able to take public transportation or ride your bicycle everywhere. However, if you live in an area where that’s not feasible and you’re on your own time, driving during hours of lighter traffic when you do the shopping means that you spend less time sitting on idle and needlessly burning gas.
  • Don’t cruise around the mall parking lot looking for a parking space. Big, big, big gas waster. If you have to park a little bit farther away, so what? You could use the extra walk and you’ll save yourself a lot of the time you spend looking for a parking space that’s close anyway. You can make an exception if you absolutely, positively have to park in the disabled spot. Pay attention to the little ways that you waste gas every day so that you can make your driving more efficient.

Sound complicated? This is one reason that I like electric vehicles so much. You’ve got your driving habits and saving on your gas bill is going to boil down to a choice between breaking the bad ones and looking for a vehicle that can save you on gas by not burning a lot of fuel. If you have enough money to buy a good used car in the $8-10,000 range, you have enough to buy a brand-new Zero.



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