(NC) Whether we are interested in saving money at the pumps or reducing our carbon footprint, many of us are closer than ever to making the switch to a greener vehicle.

From hybrids to plug-in hybrids to fully electric vehicles, there is a wide selection of environmentally friendly options out there and lots of information to navigate, so it can be tough to decide which is right for you.

“There can be many benefits to owning a purely electric vehicle — smooth driving, limited maintenance, no exhaust pollution and never having to visit a gas station again,” says Michael Bettencourt, managing editor at Autotrader.ca. “But there can also be challenges to keep in mind, so take time to research each vehicle thoroughly and what makes the most sense for your situation.”

The big picture. First consider what the car will be used for most — whether daily commuting, inter-city errands or long trips to the cottage or ski hill — as a starting point for which type of vehicle is best suited for you.

Carbon footprint. Do your research. Make sure you consider how and where a vehicle is assembled and produced, as well as how your electricity is sourced to establish the full impact of purchase and ownership.

Changing behaviour. Purchasing a new car, especially one that operates with different technology, can impact your current driving style. Consider how flexible and open you are to changing things up. For example, the limited driving range and charging times of pure electric models may require you to modify existing routines or driving patterns. Research local charging stations and home installation options before making a big purchase.

Budget breakdown. Determine the cost of the vehicle purchase or payments and ongoing operating costs versus that of comparable gas-efficient or diesel-powered vehicles to determine how much you will actually be saving in the long run. Don’t forget to search for any available incentives that might help subsidize the cost of the vehicle.

Find more tips at www.autotrader.ca/newsfeatures.