Driving a more fuel-efficient vehicle can have a number of important benefits. Hybrid and electric-cars help their owners save fossil fuel, reduce their carbon footprint, and commute with the knowledge that they’re helping to preserve the Earth for future generations. Plus, it doesn’t hurt that driving an environmentally friendly auto can lead to significantly lower driving costs, even though they may initially appear more expensive to insure.
It’s no secret that gas prices have been steadily climbing since the invention of the automobile and show no signs of slowing down. Many of the people who purchase alternative-fuel-source vehicles do so to avoid watching their life savings disappear at the gas pump. But when they initially see insurance quotes for these vehicles, they may worry that an equal amount may be siphoned off by coverage costs.
For example, a premium analysis of 20 quotes from 10 different California insurers shows that, when comparing the cost of insuring a gas-only Toyota Camry with a hybrid version of the same model, on average motorists who own hybrids pay just over 10 percent more for vehicle coverage. This price increase is generally accredited to higher repair costs, but before writing off fuel-efficient automobiles as a cost-effective means of transportation, drivers should take discounts into consideration.
Coverage providers across the nation are beginning to offer special savings and rate reductions for insuring hybrids and other alternative-fuel vehicles. In California, for example, as of March 2012, there are at least three companies that offer insurance discounts as incentives for driving greener cars. These price reductions range from 5 to 10 percent, which could effectively nullify the increased coverage costs of having a hybrid or electric vehicle.
Driving Less: Another Way to Go Green and Save
Consumers can be environmentally friendly motorists through more ways than just owning a hybrid or electric car. Spending less time behind the wheel can help reduce a person’s carbon footprint while significantly lowering their driving costs, both at the pump and on their insurance bill.
A large portion of how much a motorist pays for protection is based on annual mileage. To an insurance company, more time spent behind the wheel translates into more opportunity to be involved in an accident, which in turn leads to higher prices.
Like any good environmentally friendly commuter, vehicle owners may want to look for ways to avoid driving. Biking to work, joining a car pool, or giving public transportation a try can all cut down on annual mileage and can lead to cheaper premiums. Motorists are encouraged ask their policy provider car insurance questions about how much they would need to cut their annual mileage to receive a rate reduction.
If a vehicle owner drives infrequently enough, they may want to consider signing up for a pay-as-you-drive insurance program that charges motorists based off of the distance that they commute. The California Environmental Defense Fund estimates that if 30 percent of CA residents took advantage of these programs, roughly 5.5 billion gallons of gas could be saved between 2009 and 2020, in addition to $40 billion in car-related expenses. Taking these steps to become an environmentally friendly motorist could lead not only to guilt-free commuting, but also to considerable savings.