As I wrote a few months ago in our post "Evaluating options for an efficient clean green car" my reasons for wanting a new, efficient car are:
- I want to reduce my consumption of foreign oil
- I want to reduce the amount of money I spend on transportation
- I want to help improve my local air quality by reducing emissions
- I want to lower my greenhouse gas emissions
I also want to find a car that I look forward to driving every day. I will drive anywhere between 25,000 and 30,000 a year, and the car is basically my office, so I need to have something that I enjoy."
While I was holding out for a plug-in hybrid like the Chevy Volt of Ford C-Max Energi, I think I'm putting those plans on hold, simply because my outside sales job requires me to put too many miles on my car and I just don't know how a car will handle that abuse and I also don't want to pay the extra money for a plug-in just to have it as my work car.
I was looking at the Lexus CT 200h, but I think that may be out of my budget. Since my vehicle is mainly used to transfer me to customer meetings (during the week) and bike rides (during the weekend), I need something more utilitarian. I'm currently considering a Ford Focus (efficient gasoline) or VW Jetta TDI (clean diesel).
FuelEconomy.gov has a great tool that allows you to compare two cars side by side, and provides several metrics like MPG, Fuel Economics, and Carbon Footprint. The picture at the top of the post is the comparison between the two cars I'm considering. The VW gets slightly better combined fuel economy, 34 MPG compared to 33 MPG for the Ford, but the overall cost of fuel for the year will probably be higher because diesel currently costs more than gasoline.
I'm not opposed to hybrids, but there really isn't one that catches my eye in my price range. Although comparing the 2012 Honda Civic Hybrid to the Ford would save me about $400 per year in fuel costs and the hybrid is in the same price range as the Ford and the VW.
Of course, I'd have to test drive all of the cars to see if they have the punch to get me on and off the racetracks that they call interstates here in Atlanta while avoiding the big trucks that are trying to squash guys driving fuel efficient cars!