Coloradoan | Soapbox: Electric vehicles help earth, pocketbook - Drive Electric Northern Colorado

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Coloradoan | Soapbox: Electric vehicles help earth, pocketbook

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Fort Collins 4:17 p.m. MST December 11, 2014

Considering purchasing a new car?

With up $13,500 in available tax credits available, a plug-in electric vehicle is a smart financial, environmental and national security decision. Doing it before the end of the year will put the tax credits (the state credit is refundable — meaning you get it even if you don’t owe taxes) to work for 2014 — an even smarter decision!

As a military veteran, a former CSU professor and a retiree, we took a closer look at electric vehicles (EV) in 2012, and hope I can encourage you to make the same great decision we did — we purchased an award-winning Chevy Volt.

And after driving thousands of electric miles, saving thousands of dollars and helping to reduce our dependence on oil — we couldn’t be happier. The Volt gets about 45 miles on a full charge and 375 miles through the range-extender gas engine. Even though we make numerous trips to Summit County, Boulder and Wyoming our Volt’s lifetime mpg is an amazing 126.1 and we have only needed to buy just over 50 gallons of gasoline — just over 2 gallons a month!

Every night, we just plug the car in to our 110-volt socket in the garage and recharge the battery. We have a solar roof so the electricity cost is nonexistent. At Fort Collins electricity rates it would cost about $3.30 to go 100 miles. The money we save isn’t just by skipping the gas station, EVs also have very little maintenance required — mainly consisting of rotating the tires and adding a bit of wiper fluid.

With up to $13,500 in tax credits ($7,500 federal and $6,000 from the state) — Colorado’s being refundable — buying before the end of the year gives you the chance to get your credit as soon as you file your taxes. With the credits, you could save up to 40 percent off a new vehicle (you can see a full list of the vehicles the costs at There are several area dealerships that sell the 11 models of plug-in electric vehicles available in the region.

We take great satisfaction in doing our part for the environment and reducing our oil dependence — however, there are many other excellent reasons behind purchasing an electric vehicle, and we hope you’ll learn more, plug-in and save just like us.

Just do it before the end of the year and enjoy the savings right away.

Richard E. Thomas lives in Fort Collins.

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