Stop the Financial Double-Standard for Green Cars

Putting gas in the car

It seems like many people, especially in the big media, are obsessed with whether or not that hybrid/plug in hybrid/electric car/etc will "pay for itself" with fuel savings. The latest example is the (misleading) "The payoff for plug-in hybrids: 95 years?".

Sometimes it is specifically claimed that "car X" will save you money, and it's only natural to examine that claim. We have no problem with that. But the meme seems to have taken a life of its own and now it seems that people think the whole point of green(er) transportation is saving money, and that it's the yardstick to measure all new green cars against. That's plain ridiculous. Since when are cars supposed to pay for themselves anyway?When someone decides to pay extra for the bigger V6 engine, or the sunroof, or the nicer wheels, who's asking them if it will "pay for itself"? Why are people allowed to make personal choices based on aesthetics or performance requirements (real or imagined) without having to justify themselves, while people who want cleaner cars because they want lower emissions, or enjoy driving in electric mode, or want to encourage new cleaner technology, or whatever, are asked to make a financial case?

At least the extra money spent on a more efficient vehicle will partly pay for itself (if not pay for itself completely, depending on conditions). A big engine will just cost more to get and then cost more to operate.

Lets stop the financial double-standard for green(er) cars, unless the question really is "will it pay for itself?".

See also: ::Green Basics: Hybrid-Electric Cars, ::Green Basics: Electric Vehicles and Cars

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