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Oh What A Fueling - Buying A Used Electric Car

Happy Halloween Keen For Greeners!  Today we have a hilarious guest blog post from writer Richard Rossi about shopping for a used car.  

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I'm not mechanical in the least.  As a member of the television generation, everything I know about cars, fixing or buying, I learned from watching hours of TV.  Sitcoms, to be specific. 

My daughter is now a licensed driver. This is the day every man dreads. Not only because he worries about her safety, but sooner or later she'll want a car. A nice one. On a writer's budget. So I did what any man would do. I channeled my inner Al Bundy.  

"Your wishes mean nothing to me. It's going to be my car, and I'll decide what I'm getting." 

I thought I'd give her my car and perhaps get myself a new model. After all, I had earned it. Not satisfied driving a gas guzzling behemoth billowing  black clouds of filth, my daughter had other ideas. "How 'bout an electric car?" "Do you have any idea how much those cost?" I shot back.   

"Hey, Dad. If he won't deal, show him some leg. I got a Walkman for five bucks once."  

Truth is, I had no idea myself. I don't see that many electrics around. Are they safe?  Or readily available as used cars? How much does one pay for a used electric and has Edmunds produced accurate assessments of worth at this point? I would take her with 
me to a dealership to see what they have and negotiate.    

"Take a deep breath, kids. That's enough. You're suckin' up all the new."

We went car shopping one early Saturday morning. Once discussion with the salesman began it became evident that I had not done my homework. Firstly, the salesman advised me that he would have to place us on a waiting list for the next available  
used electric vehicle, as they did not have any on the lot at that time. It occurred to me that the dealer would be in an enviable position then, playing one potential buyer on the list off of another. I didn't like the way this looked so it was time to go back home and do some research.  

Did you know that:  

* Both Chevy and Ford make electric vehicles.   There just aren't that many electric cars on the road today and it is questionable how many dealerships can adequately service them. I feel reasonably assured that if I stick with one of these two then I won't have a problem. 

* While the tax credits may have vanished for hybrid vehicles on Jan 1, 2011, tax credits are still available for certain electric vehicles, but just new purchases.   So when you're completing your income tax returns this year, purchase of an electric vehicle can bring a sizable financial benefit along with it. From the IRS website  (last updated June 17, 2011): "The amount of the credit is 10 percent of the cost of the vehicle, up to a maximum credit of $2,500 for purchases made after Feb. 17,  2009, and before Jan. 1, 2012."    

* Some electric car batteries can be recharged in under 3 hours.  While many vehicles need the entire overnight to charge, this is not the case with some of the newer models coming out in 2011.  

* Values for most models are available on Kelly Blue Book website It's easy to use. Just select the model, adjust the milage, click on the applicable extras, and you get your blue book value.    

This coming weekend we'll give it another go and this time we'll hit the showroom floor running. In the immortal words of Al Bundy, "The Opera ain't over till  the last heterosexual falls asleep." 


Richard Rossi is a guest blogger, published humor writer and children's book illustrator from Greensboro, North Carolina. You'll find his work at his website, www.rossibook.com.