Electric Cars Will Save You Money — With Some Caveats

Climate change is a thing, and fossil fuels won't be around forever. Yet electric cars haven't taken off the way futurists hoped they would. There's hope yet for both shoppers and the auto industry, though, not least because buying an electric car saves consumers way more money than you'd think.

That might seem puzzling, since for the most part, electric cars have been concentrated in luxury brands like Infiniti or Tesla. According to Business Insider, electric cars only make up about 1 percent of vehicles sold worldwide. But when you look at the long-term, it turns out that electric cars are actually 50 percent more cost-effective than gasoline cars. After 50,000 miles, you've already earned back what you paid, so your savings increase rapidly beyond that point.

A number of auto manufacturers have plans to increase their electric offerings, but you may have noticed a crucial flaw: Electric cars, like gasoline cars, need infrastructure to support them. That means charging stations, mechanics with the right skills, and innovations in how long it takes to "fill up" an electric car. China is starting to put in the work, as are European countries, but the United States hasn't followed suite. It's a different proposition entirely to own an electric car in Chicago versus rural Illinois.

There's still plenty to be said for hybrid models, however. The Toyota Prius and Chevy Volt are still selling well, and even more "less boring" options are headed to showroom floors. If you're willing to eat the upfront costs and go a little extra to be ahead of the times, your budget will be thanking you for it for a long time.