Going Green to Save Green

(AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

The recent hike in gas prices has made drivers think seriously about limited oil resources. New car technology-including gasoline/electric hybrids, electric cars, clean diesel and fuel cells-not only promises to stretch existing oil reserves; they reduce the amount of harmful exhaust emissions in the air we breathe.

As athletes, we're especially aware of the importance of clean air: it's essential to our way of life. But do the new generation of green cars help us preserve our limited financial resources as well?

Cost of Going Green

The fact is that green car technology costs money. Many gasoline/electric hybrids, such as the Toyota Highlander Hybrid and Lexus 400h, cost significantly more than gas-powered equivalents.
The Toyota Highlander Hybrid has a base sticker price of $34,200, versus $27,500 for the gasoline model. The Lexus RX350 sport-utility vehicle starts at $37,700, as opposed to $41,580 for the 400h.

Not only do buyers pay a premium for the hybrid technology: these hybrids are only available as fully-loaded cars, adding to the base sticker price.

Clean diesel has been popular in Europe for some time: the low-sulfur fuel wasn't available in the U.S. until last year. As a result, there's less of a price difference between clean diesel models sold in America and their gas-powered cousins.

For example, Mercedes-Benz BlueTEC models cost a little more than base gas-powered models, but are less expensive than 4matic all-wheel drive grades. The base M-Class starts at $44,875 as opposed to $45,875 for the BlueTEC clean diesel, while the 4matic version costs $53,625.

More: Guide to Going Green

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