Thinking about buying an electric or hybrid vehicle? You’re not alone. According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), by 2030, there will be 125 million electric cars on the road. Here’s what you need to know about these eco-friendly vehicles.
An electric vehicle, or EV, runs purely on electric power and owning one comes with a number of advantages. EVs are:
• Environmentally friendly—they emit no exhaust
• Quiet and smooth to operate
• Powerful at low speeds
• Convenient to own as they can be charged at home
The main drawback to EVs is the time it takes to charge them. Plugged in to a slow wall plug charger (the most common type of at-home charging point), the average EV will take between six and 12 hours to fully charge. DC fast chargers, on the other hand, typically add 50 to 90 miles in 30 minutes. However, charging time varies considerably depending on battery size, the speed of the charging point and the EV model.
Hybrid cars use both electricity and gasoline as fuel. Typically, a hybrid vehicle can charge its own batteries with its gas engine. Sometimes this is the engine’s sole function—to recharge the batteries powering the electric motor. In other hybrid types, the gas engine takes precedence and the electric motor adds a degree of electric drive.
Some hybrids are known as “plug-in” hybrids. These can be plugged in to the national grid like an EV, enabling an electric-only range (usually between 20 and 40 miles).
The main advantage to hybrid cars is that they reduce the amount of liquid fuel you use, thereby constituting a more environmentally friendly solution than purely diesel or gas cars. Plus, you don’t have the drawback of the long charging times characteristic of EVs. That said, they aren’t as green as EVs.
In sum, while each has their pros and cons, EVs and hybrids are both great options for environmentally conscious and thrifty drivers.
Cost of retirement: More expensive than you might think
The cost of retirement can vary dramatically depending on where you live and what choices you make before you retire.
Ideally, you want to have enough social security and investments to maintain your current lifestyle.
While investment advisors routinely say $1 million in investments will ensure a happy retirement, this is not necessarily true. In high-tax states with high cost of living, a big retirement pot is probably essential. But, in lower tax states with lower cost of living, retirees might need about a fourth of that amount.
The key question is how you prepare before retirement.
– Run the numbers. Check with Social Security for an estimate of retirement income. But, remember your medicare and taxes will be deducted from social security, so that number will be lower.
For other income, you will be paying cash for taxes. Look at all your expenses. Medicare plus supplements and prescriptions could run more than you think. For example, some prescriptions could cost $100-$300 per month, even with a prescription plan.
– Get out of debt. The best strategy is to be out of debt before retirement. Aim for zero credit balances.
– Pay off the mortgage. In some cases holding a mortgage might be financially wise, depending on how much your investments are making as opposed to the interest rate on your mortgage. But good general advice is to pay off the mortgage before retirement.
– Transportation. Plan to have a late model car that is paid off before retirement. A car payment soaks up retirement funds.
– Emergency fund. Build one with at least 3 to 6 months of expenses. Emergencies won’t stop just because you are retired and you won’t have money coming in. You must avoid credit card debt.
– Long-term care insurance. Plan early to buy long-term care insurance when prices will be lower.
4 tips for a hassle-free holiday
Are you planning a trip? If so, here are four things you can do to ensure your holiday goes smoothly.
1. Book everything early
Reserve your hotel, motel or campsite as early as possible. The same goes for all plane tickets and car rentals. By booking things in advance, you guarantee that you have the best possible experience at the lowest possible price.
2. Double-check your documents
Make sure your driver’s license, passport and travel insurance are all up to date and won’t expire any time soon.
3. Think about your health
Visit your doctor to make sure you’re healthy and in good enough shape to travel. Depending on your destination, you may need to get one or more vaccines to protect yourself against foreign pathogens. Also, it’s imperative that you have enough medication for the duration of your trip.
4. Make sure your home is safe
While you’re away, mitigate the risk of your home getting burgled. Put your lights on a timer and have someone pick up your mail and perform basic upkeep so the place looks inhabited. Alternatively, you can get someone you trust to housesit. You should also avoid sharing information about your trip on social media until you’re back at home.
By following these tips, you’ll be able to enjoy your trip to the fullest.
Science of VDOT: Highway Safety
4 mistakes to avoid when hiking in the winter
Hiking in the winter is a peaceful yet challenging endeavor. However, it can be dangerous if you’re not well prepared. To make sure your winter hiking adventure is a success, avoid these four common mistakes.
1. Forgetting that water freezes
Carrying and drinking water on a hike is just as important in the winter as it is in the summer. However, it will freeze if you don’t take the necessary precautions. Carry it in the middle of your bag or near your body to keep it as warm as possible.
Also, water freezes from the top down, so take a tip from serious mountain climbers and carry your bottle upside down. This way, ice will form at the bottom of the bottle rather than the top.
2. Overestimating your abilities
Walking in the snow, both on foot and on snowshoes, is more challenging than walking on land. Allow more time for a winter hike than you would for a summer excursion of the same distance.
Also, remember that the days are short in winter, so plan accordingly to be back before sunset.
3. Wearing cotton
Cotton absorbs moisture and takes a long time to dry, leaving you at risk of losing your body heat fast. Instead, opt for clothes made from synthetic materials, merino wool or silk.
4. Not layering properly
The weather can change quickly in winter, especially when climbing, so it’s important to dress in layers that you can shed as needed.
Wear a moisture-wicking base layer next to your skin, a polar fleece middle layer and a wind- and water-proof shell and pants on top. Finally, for your outermost layer, put on a down jacket and pants. Be sure to also bring extra warm clothes as well as a spare hat and mittens.
In addition, be sure to remember to fuel up as you go. It’s easy forget to eat while hiking in the cold, so don’t neglect to carry and munch on snacks throughout the day.
Tips for choosing the perfect wedding lingerie
Most people won’t see it, but wearing the right lingerie is imperative to looking your best on your wedding day. Here are some tips to help you find the perfect undergarments.
• Consider the gown. Make sure the undergarments you wear are discreet enough that they won’t be seen. Similarly, if the dress is made of a sheer or silky material, you may want to choose a slip or body suit to be sure everything is smooth and invisible.
• Think about color. White lingerie may be traditional but could be noticeable under a white dress. Instead, wear lingerie that matches your skin tone.
• Make sure it fits perfectly. There’s nothing worse than undergarments that don’t fit well. Finding the exact right size will ensure that you’re comfortable throughout the day.
• Change for the evening. If your gown calls for something more demure, why not change into a spicier getup for your wedding night? A lacy baby-doll or a risqué black teddy are sure to drive your new spouse wild.
No matter what style of lingerie you decide to wear on your wedding day, be sure to bring it with you to your dress fitting. This will allow you to make certain it works well with your gown.