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The Car Conundrum – Gas or Electric?

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Gas or electric? Plus, other important considerations for car owners

Automobile parts have become increasingly difficult to obtain. Per Gardnerautoparts.com, since the COVID-19 pandemic began in 2020, car parts, from windshields to electronics, have been hard to come by. Not only are materials challenging to secure for manufacturing, but materials, parts and components may be stuck sitting on cargo ships. Though wrecked and scrap cars create a supply of used parts, some replacement pieces may be in high demand. Or they may become difficult to obtain, especially in cases where automakers have stopped production of parts. Additionally, in some cases, replacing one small car component may require pulling the engine out to make a simple repair and places extra financial burdens on consumers paying for repairs. This begs the question, are electric cars an answer to these problems?

Let’s take a brief look at the operational differences between fuel run vehicles and electric cars. Traditional cars have internal combustion engines known as ICE. These spark-ignited vehicles use fuel such as gas that gets combined with air to get it going. An electric vehicle, also called an EV, consists of two main components; an electric motor (or two for all-wheel drive) and a battery pack to power it. Per MoneyTalksNews, a Pew Research Center report shares that 39% of Americans are likely to consider an EV for their next car purchases. These numbers possibly reflect the Biden Administration’s policy push for electric vehicles along with the fluctuating and often high cost of fuel. These factors are thought to increase stress among automakers and consumers who will soon be forced to adapt to changes.

The cost of all automobiles has been going up recently due to rising inflation and interest rates, supply chain issues, and more. Tesla, an automotive and energy company, is on the forefront of developing, manufacturing, selling, and leasing electric vehicles. USA Today shares that those vehicles cost anywhere from $45,000 to well over $200,000. According to Kelley Blue Book, the average electric vehicle cost is $67,000 as of June 2022. Per MoneyTalkNews, a gas run entry-level luxury car is about $53,000, a non-electric full-size car averages $45,000 and non-electric compact cars come in at about $26,000. However, there are some affordable new electric cars on the market for $40,000 and slightly under.

Electric cars, the new wave of the future, offer hope for the environment and require no oil to change and no standard engine to manage. Plus, there are fewer parts to wear out. This might cause some to suppose that electric vehicles are easy to repair. Some brands such as Tesla Model 3 are among the cheapest vehicles to maintain per CarEdge.com. However, Autofintechs Media explains that when issues are present, electric vehicles generally require service technicians to spend more time figuring out what’s wrong. This perhaps is related to the newness of electric cars and the industry’s learning curve. Regardless, problems with EVs have the potential to translate into expensive labor costs under some circumstances.

Among the greatest advantages of buying a new vehicle rather than a used one is the inclusion of extended warranties that provide drivers with peace of mind. However, owners are generally responsible for maintenance charges. With the rising cost of gas, one may ask, which cars are the least expensive to maintain? Per Mechanicbase.com, Toyota and Honda are the clear-cut winners for 2022 based on the total ten-year maintenance costs. These companies provide affordable vehicles that are dependable. In comparison, the most expensive to maintain, based on research provided by CarEdge, are BMW and FCA (Fiat Chrysler Automobiles.)

Car ownership is a complicated matter these days. Dealerships also face issues, often related to stock, and are still affected by global shutdowns, chip and air filter shortages, supply chain issues and more. For folks looking to fix an older vehicle, parts may need to be tracked down, which ultimately can affect automobile performance, safety, usage, and cost – of particular concern to those living on fixed incomes. However, for older and used cars, staying on top of regular maintenance can help thwart potential problems. It’s especially important to remain patient with those in the automobile repair service industry who are equally frustrated by short supplies and understaffing. For those seeking newer vehicles, do your due diligence. Understand not only what you’ll pay upfront – but also acknowledge what maintenance costs you may incur down the road for the type of vehicle you wish to buy.

Thanks to AMAC member C. Schmidt for inspiration for this article.


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Michael J
3 months ago

The article doesn’t mention hybrid vehicles, currently, in my opinion the best of both worlds. I rented one for road trip San Francisco Bay area to Oregon, it got 52 mpg @ 75 mph on average on less than 3/4 of a tank of gas. Not once did I worry about running out of fuel as I passed many electric cars plugged in along the way. Electric cars and hybrids are costly to buy and repair, a negative selling point omission. Government subsidies will initially be implemented, to get public opinion and participation going, then they stick us with the true cost of reality after they run out. California is notorious for pulling a slight of hand, first they encourage their use, then they discover a loss of gas tax revenue, then they stick on an abatement fees to offset that loss.
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