Electric Cars Are Cheaper Than Consumers Realize

NEW YORK (MainStreet) — Many electric cars are much cheaper than most consumers believe because of the combination of federal tax credits and state incentives, saving consumers thousands of dollars.

Going green does not have to cost consumers more money. Electric vehicles (EVs) are eligible for federal tax credits worth up to $7,500 for owners while many states such as California are offering residents a rebate of $2,500 for consumers who buy or lease electric vehicles for at least three years. Even plug-in hybrid electric vehicles are eligible for up to $7,500 in federal tax credits.

Many people don't think that fully-electric cars are practical, because many need to be charged every 75 to 100 miles, but most studies show that drivers travel less than 40 miles per day, said Tara Baukus Mello, Bankrate.com's cars analyst.

"If you're going to be an ideal candidate for an electric vehicle, you need to have a regular commute," she said. "You do have to be more aware of where you are going and how far away it is, but for most drivers, there is plenty of wiggle room and there are many public chargers."

Many states and cities have large numbers of fueling stations, even at hotels and shopping centers. In California, there are 1,000 stations scattered throughout the state, including 97 just in San Diego. Other states, even those that do not appear to be environmentally conscious, also have plenty of stations - Phoenix has 88, New York has 83, Chicago has 78 and even Houston and Los Angeles, two cities where residents love to drive, have 79 stations each. To check out the top cities for EVs, click here.

Charging a vehicle can be as fast as two hours or as long as several hours or overnight. Most cars have smartphone apps so you can schedule it for when your electricity rates are lower.