Pretty much every discussion of electric cars, plug-in hybrids and ordinary hybrids starts and ends up with the question of whether they are worth the money. If the reason for buying such a vehicle is strictly economic, then this is the right question to ask. But the naysayers who say such a purchase is foolish may be barking up the wrong tree.
For many if not most people who buy these cars, there are more reasons than economics to make the purchase. Some of us want to reduce our consumption of fossil fuels to combat air pollution and climate change. Some of us want to stop buying oil from not-so-friendly countries. Some of us just like the quiet, smooth ride in an electric vehicle.
For people who argue that electric cars cost too much, one might ask what they paid for their cars. Do they drive the cheapest, most utilitarian cars on the market? Or did they pony up lots of extra bucks for leather upholstery, powerful engines, fine German engineering, or perhaps just a trendy nameplate. Were these things worth the money? If those are the features of a car that they value, then probably they were.
Electric cars and plug-ins are getting more price competitive with traditional cars all the time but for the moment there is still a price premium. If your only reason to get such a car is to put dollars back into your pocket, then you will have to do the math to see when and if that can happen. Otherwise, if driving an electric makes you happy, you have no more need to justify your purchase than the person with the Mercedes down the street.
Photo, posted November 28, 2014, courtesy of David van der Mark via Flickr.