Have you been thinking of purchasing an electric car, but are worried about having to “plug it in” each night? What about if you want to take the car on an overnight trip, will you be able to find an outlet for it? And what if it runs out of “juice” in the middle of the desert?

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You may be wondering if the electric car is “worth the hassle.” Only you can really answer that question for yourself. To help you decide, here are some pros and cons about the electric car.

Pros

An electric car means you’ll really be doing your part to reduce air pollution. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has estimated that one gasoline-powered car spews about 11,450 pounds of carbon out of its exhaust pipe each year. Multiply that by the 246 million cars on the road in the U.S. in 2009 and by doing the math you can see how many billions of pounds of carbon drivers here spill into the atmosphere.

Electric cars, however, release no carbon or pollution into the atmosphere. If you buy an electric car, you’ll be saving the Earth from about 11,500 pounds of carbon. Good for you!

Gas prices have hit an average price in the U.S. of $3.29 per gallon (late February 2011) Many experts believe the price will reach $4 per gallon sometime this year. Your electric vehicle will “charge up” at a charging station at a cost of about $1 for a hybrid and $2-4 for an all-electric vehicle. You’ll save a ton of money “at the pump” if you purchase an electric car.

Cons

You do have to charge the car regularly. In addition, it can take about six hours to recharge your car (compared to the mere minutes it usually takes at your local gas station to fill up your gasoline-powered car). In addition, electric charging stations are far less plentiful than are gas stations. Even though the Department of Energy gave a huge grant to the Electric Transportation Engineering Corp. to install 2,500 charging stations in each of five states (California, Arizona, Oregon, Tennessee, and Washington) there still aren’t enough stations throughout the country to really alleviate this problem.

Electric car manufacturers are working to shorten the necessary charging time and the government is putting money in to promote the use of these electric vehicles. Until then, it will be up to you to decide if buying a hybrid or all-electric car is right for you.