30 MPG Car… Add a Zero.

The Tesla model S car, a fully electric car ranging up to 370 miles.


The Tesla model S car, a fully electric car ranging up to 370 miles.

Teague Scanlon, Staff Writer

There is a common misconception that “the fuel efficient 30 miles per gallon” is the best that the United States can do when it comes to cars. Fortunately, we have proven time and time again that there are many more innovative technologies on the market, ranging from cars that possess hundreds of miles per gallon to fully functional all-electric motors. Although the difference in price between conventional engines and hybrid or electric cars may offset some, over the long run it may actually save money to drive more environmentally friendly cars.

The Tesla Model S car can reach 370 miles per charge in ideal conditions (highway driving, no A/C, etc.). Performance is also not compromised, with the “performance version” of the car going from 0 to 60 mph in only 6.2 seconds. The price of the car is not easy to swallow at a whopping $69,900, but compared to the average sedan and a gas price of $4 per gallon, approximately $18,000 would be saved after 120,000 miles, plus the cost of any gas-related maintenance. While owning this car is certainly a luxury and the majority of people can not afford a car this expensive, it is comforting knowing that progress is being made by the creation of carbon footprint-free vehicles.

“Electric vehicles are great. I want a Tesla,” junior Jose Rendon said.

In comparison, the Nissan Leaf is slightly more affordable, starting at $29,010. This car can go 84 miles per charge, which is more than realistic for one days travels. The Leaf is also completely electric, so approximately $18,000 dollars would be saved after 120,000 miles. Owning this vehicle could significantly pay off in the long run and make this a viable economic option, regardless of friendliness to the environment (which is always a good thing).

“While it is headed in a good direction starting to produce electric cars, I don’t think the technology is where it needs to be yet, so for now it does not seem to be a smart investment,” senior Caroline Bauwens said.

On the other hand, the Toyota Prius was the first hybrid car, and is one of the most affordable. Starting at an affordable $24,200 dollars, this car is not fully electric, but is still a cleaner alternative to conventional gas cars and can save its drivers a significant amount of money. The Toyota Prius uses about 7 cents of gas per mile, while the Toyota Camry (the most similar car made by Toyota) uses about 11 cents of gas per mile. After 120,000 miles, owning the Prius would save about $4,800.

“I am not completely sold on the electric car idea because electricity is created in power plants, and coal is burned to make this electricity. Because of this I don’t think I would spend too much more money on electric vehicles, but I do agree that they would be a good investment saving gas money,” senior Nicolas Viglucci said.

When one finds themselves searching for a new car, many people think that buying an environmentally friendly vehicle is a luxury, but this is not the case. Aside from any moral obligation to look out for our only planet, buying an electric or hybrid car can save money and be a viable investment, and should certainly be researched while considering an array of other vehicles.