Honor Earth Day with eco-friendly cars

April 17, 2015 09:11 AM

On Wednesday, April 22, people around the world will celebrate Earth Day 2015. This day has been honored since its inception in 1970, but the general public has only become more conscious of environmental efforts aimed at creating a sustainable future. This now extends to people's actions on the roads. 

Eco-friendly cars remain popular
There are many factors that drivers consider as they shop for cars, but fuel efficiency is one of the most important. In recent years, a large number of motorists have looked to alternative fuel vehicles. Whether they want hybrids, electric cars or rides with diesel-powered engines, drivers are able to go beyond traditional rides and find an option that meets their needs. Although gas prices have rebounded in recent months and are no longer at the record highs of the past several years, drivers remain conscious of these expenses and are willing to go outside their comfort zone to find ways to save. 

"With low gas prices, some car shoppers are turning back to less fuel efficient cars, but if they're looking to be environmentally friendly, hybrids and electrics are still the way to go," said Joe Wiesenfelder, Cars.com executive editor and resident green expert. "There may be no better time to buy a fuel-efficient car than now, because low gas prices have reduced demand for hybrids and electrics, resulting in special incentives from many automakers."

Where are these drivers?
While people everywhere may care about the environment, those who are willing to get behind the wheel of an eco-friendly car are concentrated in one distinct area. Cars.com recently released the results of a study that identified locations where drivers are searching for green vehicles. All of the cities in the top 10 were on the West Coast, with the triumvirate of San Francisco, Oakland and San Jose leading the way. 

"We've always seen that the Western U.S. shows more interest in going green, but this is the first time we've seen nothing east of the West Coast," said Wiesenfelder. "With Earth Day in mind, there are more reasons than saving money to consider an alternative fuel vehicle. Hybrids and electrics continue to proliferate, and automakers are offering them in all shapes and sizes to accommodate a wide range of driver needs."

Also landing in the top 10 was Los Angeles, Honolulu, Seattle, San Diego and Portland, among others. 

What cars are they choosing?
Regardless of where a driver is located, they may be considering some popular options for their next ride. Kelley Blue Book decided to step up to the plate and identify the 10 Best Green Cars of 2015, which could help drivers find the top options on the market.

The BMW i3 took the top spot on this list for the second year in a row. This electric car beat out the Volkswagen e-Golf, Nissan Leaf and Toyota Prius to claim the prize. Jack R. Nerad, the executive editorial director for KBB.com, discussed what about the vehicle made it the organization's top choice. 

"Topping this list for the second year in a row is the BMW i3 - an electric car that can sprint to 60 mph in just over 7 seconds, and is made in a factory powered entirely by four wind turbines," Nerad explained. "And if 81 miles of electric range doesn't work for you, the i3 can be had with a small gas generator that lets you go as far as there are gas stations."

When green vehicles were first introduced, the cost of maintenance and auto repair was relatively high. Technicians were often unsure of how to approach the cars, and replacement parts were expensive as well. Years have passed since that time, however, and professionals at an auto repair franchise are now well-versed in caring for these eco-friendly vehicles. As such, the costs associated with repairs are now much more manageable, and owning these cars is easier than ever. 

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