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Buying a New Car? Tips to Save Money, the Environment and Your Health
Searching for a new family roadster? As the green innovations of 2014 models abound, consumers have more energy-efficient vehicles and options to choose from, which means more price flexibility and a greater selection of options.
Photo courtesy of Shutterstock
Models range from seemingly typical cars sporting highly efficient engines to hybrids, plug-in hybrids and fully electric vehicles that use no gas. According to Moms Clean Air Force, here are some tips for car shoppers and their families to help make the right choices:
Why Focus on Energy Efficiency?
Cars and trucks are major contributors to air pollution in the U.S. Also, studies, research and empirical data have linked air pollution to lung ailments, heart disease and climate change. Let's do the math: the more energy-efficient a vehicle is, the less fuel it burns. That means less pollution, less carbon, cleaner air, and healthier hearts. That also means more money saved at the pump with 45 to 50 miles per gallon versus 20 mpg driving one of those "regular" cars.
What Are the Moms Clean Air Force Most Energy-Efficient Models?
- All Electric – Cars that use the least amount of gas are those that don’t use any at all. These vehicles run solely on electricity. They can be charged on a regular household electrical outlet, with a range per charge that varies from 105 miles combined highway/city to 119. The average American drives 29 miles per day, a distance every all-electric vehicle on the market can easily achieve.
- Plug-In Hybrids – A plug-in hybrid can drive solely on electricity for anywhere from 20 to 60 miles before the gasoline engine kicks in. Its battery is recharged when plugged into a regular 110-volt household current. If one typically commutes to work and takes the kids back and forth to after-school activities, the car could go all week without ever needing to stop at a gas pump, as its plugged in each night.
- Hybrids – Hybrids primarily rely on gasoline engines, supplemented by an electric battery that is recharged internally when the car brakes. Most auto companies make a hybrid, but, in some cars, the technology simply boosts the vehicle’s low mpg by just a few miles per gallon while taking advantage of marketing the car as "eco-friendly."
- Gasoline only – The federal government identifies the most fuel-efficient gasoline-powered vehicles as those that get at least 35 mpg when city and highway driving rates are combined. I personally recommend choosing a vehicle that gets at least 35 mpg in the city. That still gives consumers plenty of makes, styles and sizes to choose from at a variety of price points that compare very favorably to less fuel-efficient options.
What can average shoppers afford?
You may be able to reduce the price of a new car by qualifying for federal or state tax credits. Electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids may be eligible for a federal income tax credit of up to $7,500. Here are the details.
Many states also offer incentives to encourage consumers to purchase highly efficient vehicles. Here’s what’s available in your state.
Don’t forget, how one drives also significantly affects how many mpg they get. These 10 tips will help improve mileage and save $20 to $50 a month on gasoline.
For more fuel efficient car tips, click the TLC video below:
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
Cabin fever is often associated with being cooped up on a rainy weekend or stuck inside during a winter blizzard.
In reality, though, it can actually occur anytime you feel isolated or disconnected from the outside world.
What is cabin fever?<p>In popular expressions, cabin fever is used to explain feeling bored or listless because you've been stuck inside for a few hours or days. But that's not the reality of the symptoms.</p><p>Instead, cabin fever is a series of negative emotions and distressing sensations people may face if they're isolated or feeling cut off from the world.</p><p>These feelings of isolation and loneliness are more likely in times of <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health-news/yes-covid-19-cases-are-rising-why-you-still-need-to-practice-social-distancing" target="_blank">social distancing</a>, self-quarantining during a <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/what-is-a-pandemic" target="_blank">pandemic</a>, or sheltering in place because of severe weather.</p><p>Indeed, cabin fever can lead to a series of symptoms that can be difficult to manage without proper coping techniques.</p><p>Cabin fever isn't a recognized psychological disorder, but that doesn't mean the feelings aren't real. The distress is very real. It can make fulfilling the requirements of everyday life difficult.</p>
What are the symptoms?<p>Symptoms of cabin fever go far beyond feeling bored or "stuck" at home. They're rooted in an intense feeling of isolation and may include:</p><ul><li>restlessness</li><li>decreased motivation</li><li><a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/irritability" target="_blank">irritability</a></li><li>hopelessness</li><li><a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/unable-to-concentrate" target="_blank">difficulty concentrating</a></li><li><a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/irregular-sleep-wake-syndrome" target="_blank">irregular sleep patterns</a>, including sleepiness or sleeplessness</li><li>difficulty waking up</li><li><a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/lethargy" target="_blank">lethargy</a></li><li>distrust of people around you</li><li>lack of patience</li><li>persistent <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/depression/depression-vs-sadness" target="_blank">sadness or depression<br></a></li></ul>
What can help you cope with cabin fever?<p>Because cabin fever isn't a recognized psychological condition, there's no standard "treatment." However, mental health professionals do recognize that the symptoms are very real.</p><p>The coping mechanism that works best for you will have a lot to do with your personal situation and the reason you're secluded in the first place.</p><p>Finding meaningful ways to engage your brain and occupy your time can help alleviate the distress and irritability that cabin fever brings.</p><p>The following ideas are a good place to start.</p>
When to get help<p>Cabin fever is often a fleeting feeling. You may feel irritable or frustrated for a few hours, but having a virtual chat with a friend or finding a task to distract your mind may help erase the frustrations you felt earlier.</p><p>Sometimes, however, the feelings may grow stronger, and no coping mechanisms may be able to successfully help you eliminate your feelings of isolation, sadness, or depression.</p><p>What's more, if your time indoors is prolonged by outside forces, like weather or extended shelter-in-place orders from your local government, feelings of <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/anxiety" target="_blank">anxiety</a> and fear are valid.</p><p>In fact, anxiety may be at the root of some cabin fever symptoms. This may make symptoms worse.</p><p>If you feel that your symptoms are getting worse, consider reaching out to a mental health professional who can help you understand what you're experiencing. Together, you can identify ways to overcome the feelings and anxiety.</p><p>Of course, if you're in isolation or practicing social distancing, you'll need to look for alternative means for seeing a mental health expert.</p><p>Telehealth options may be available to connect you with your therapist if you already have one. If you don't, reach out to your doctor for recommendations about mental health specialists who can connect with you online.</p><p>If you don't want to talk to a therapist, <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/depression/top-iphone-android-apps" target="_blank">smartphone apps for depression</a> may provide a complementary option for addressing your cabin fever symptoms.</p>
The bottom line<p>Isolation isn't a natural state for many people. We are, for the most part, social animals. We enjoy each other's company. That's what can make staying at home for extended periods of time difficult.</p><p>However, whether you're sheltering at home to avoid dangerous weather conditions or heeding the guidelines to help minimize the spread of a disease, staying at home is often an important thing we must do for ourselves and our communities.</p><p>If and when it's necessary, finding ways to engage your brain and occupy your time may help bat back cabin fever and the feelings of isolation and restlessness that often accompany it.</p>
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