It's another Money Monday Guest Blog! Woo hoo! Friend to the SJVCEO, Tom Cotter shared this fantastic story that he originally wrote for Green Car Reports. Learn how Tom is not only doing his part for our environment, but how he's helping out his bank account too--all by making the choice to drive a Leaf!
Why I Drive a Nissan Leaf Electric Cat: One Owner's Story
Every day I get in my car and drive to work, I'm saving money.
That's because last summer I bought an all-electric 2011 Nissan Leaf, and my gas station stops are a thing of the past.
I figure I'm saving about $3,300 in annual gas and oil change bills, compared to the average Ford Expedition driver.
The average electricity cost to power my Leaf is about $870 less than what my Prius-driving friends spend at the pump.
That's hard-earned money I can use to take my wife and three kids out to dinner once in a while.
I'm glad I no longer depend on oil to drive, but I didn't make this decision lightly. As a minister in my previous life, I know that I have a biblical and moral responsibility to take better care of the earth.
It was especially heartbreaking for me to learn that much of the pollution in our air and contamination of other natural resources result in severe consequences that disproportionately affect the poorest among us.
As I learned about the challenges and real opportunities for improvement, I was motivated to begin making some changes, including in my family's energy and transportation choices.
The good news is that we can make the right choices by changing how we use energy. Driving an electric car is one of the most efficient ways to reduce energy use and decrease pollution.
But that doesn't mean sacrificing our lifestyles. Switching to clean transportation like electric cars can be surprisingly fun.
In fact, driving my Leaf is sort of a "Zen" experience, quiet and full of push-you-back-in-your-seat torque. Almost everyone I meet wants to drive it.
Just ask my kids. You give them a choice between my Leaf and my wife's alternative-fuel VW Jetta sedan, and there's not much competition; it's Daddy's car every time.
What's great about electric cars is they are only getting better and more efficient. There are more and more charging stations cropping up in town.
My car's 70- to 110-mile range between charges is plenty for our needs. I can charge at home when I'm sleeping or even at the office.
I'm a firm believer in moving aggressively toward using available and realistic clean energy sources. I've seen it work again and again, both in my job and first-hand at my own solar-powered home in Clovis, California.
For me, driving a clean car is about two different kinds of green: the greening of the planet and of my wallet.
Once I looked at the numbers and benefits of driving electric, not even counting solar, it was a no-brainer. I know more and more Americans will be joining me in this all-electric car revolution.
So when I wake up in the morning, I look out in my driveway and smile. I'm doing my part to help reduce climate-changing greenhouse gases and improve air quality.
Plus, I'm making life better for my family by protecting our bank account.
That's a clean energy future I can support.
Tom Cotter is a renewable energy evangelist, social entrepreneur, activist, trained presenter for the Climate Reality Project, and ordained minister. Professionally, Tom is Regional Sales Manager at Real Goods Solar. He is Chairman and President of the International Green Industry Hall of Fame and serves on the boards of both the Solar Living Institute and Restore Hetch Hetchy. This is his first story for Green Car Reports.
photo credit: Tom Cotter