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An Eco-Friendly Change In Car Buying Habits May Be On the Horizon

Buying a new — or new-to-you — vehicle has always been a momentous occasion. But with the coronavirus pandemic shifting many of our lives toward staying at home, it should come as no surprise that car buying habits may change, too. And this new normal may just be an eco-friendly one.

Improved air quality during a global pandemic may lead to more EV purchases

It seems like people got a taste of what lower pollution levels are like and don’t want to revert to the way things were after all.

The lockdown in the US and abroad minimized road traffic and commutes (something that’s still being quelled, despite massive and ongoing Black Lives Matter protests in more than 150 cities across the country). Because of this, air quality saw a notable improvement.

One study found that 40% of people would strongly consider a switch to EVs as a result of improved air quality that stems from lockdowns.

“While plug-in cars have been growing in popularity over the last few years, seeing and feeling the benefits of less pollution means we will probably see many more EVs on the roads,” said Harrison Woods.

Across the pond in the UK, EVs make up a whopping 32% of the entire vehicle market. Currently, the Tesla Model 3 is the nation’s best selling new car.

In America, our market share of EVs is only about 2%. How do we know if the eco-friendly trend will sweep our country? It’s a matter of how fast we can develop a saturated system of charging stations, really. Once it becomes convenient to own an EV, people will flock.

A heightened concern for health in car buying

The fact of the matter is this: poor air quality is directly correlated with poor health. The widespread novel virus, COVID-19, has led previously unconcerned constituents to become gung-ho about their health from here on out. We’re in the hand washing era, and that’s something that probably won’t change for the rest of our lifetimes.

As a result, poor air quality becomes something that matters for more than just the environment. Sure, the ozone layer is thinning rapidly, but pollution brings about fine particulate matters that get stuck in our lungs and create inherently compromised systems which may not be able to withstand a lung-striking disease.

Areas with higher levels of ground-level ozone and particulate matter also see higher levels of respiratory ailments like asthma, emphysema and bronchitis. There’s a lot we don’t know, but preliminary studies have shown that COVID-19 strikes harder for patients who live in heavily polluted cities.

Switching out fuel-driven cars for eco-friendly EVs contributes to cleaner air. These days, that’s a preventative healthcare measure.

EV or not, eco-friendly means holding on to your car for longer

Why press for purchasing just for the sake of it? Even if your vehicle is about to hit its first 100k miles, you can do your due diligence to see if your car is worth hanging on to. You may be surprised to see that it can kick it for much, much longer.

It’s not uncommon to see a Subaru in the 200,000 mile range. Meanwhile, 1.8% of Toyota’s vehicles exceed the 200k mark. Hybrid cars last even longer on average. An impressive 4.2% of Toyota Highlander Hybrids exceed 200k.

When it’s time to buy a new car, people may be more inclined to look toward green options. The root of eco-consciousness is reduce, reuse and recycle — in that order. By reducing the amount of new cars you have to buy in the first place, you’re minimizing the amount of new cars in production and prioritizing an eco-friendly approach to car buying.

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Rachel Curry
"Hey! My name's Rachel Curry and I'm a full-time writer who loves telling the world's stories as much as hanging with my dogs (and that's saying a lot). A University of Delaware graduate, I've traveled extensively, living everywhere from Ireland to Thailand. Bylines include Matador Network and Delaware Today."

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