As the price of oil and gas reached record levels this summer, the nation cringed at the thought of pumping $4 a gallon into their oversized cars and SUVs. Americans everywhere are looking for relief from high gas prices. Many people are turning to alternative vehicles, such as hybrids and more fuel-efficient cars. Still, others are cutting back on their travel altogether, combining errands or taking public transportation. While many financially strapped Americans look for solutions, many people feel a viable solution already exists in the use of golf carts and neighborhood electric vehicles (NEVs).
For a better understanding of the benefits of golf carts and NEVs, look no further than many of the retirement communities across America. Many active adult and retirement communities make it legal for residents to travel the streets with golf carts. Golf carts are a great way for residents to run small errands to the grocery store, pharmacy, and fitness center.
No More Pain at the Pump
The benefit, of course, is that these small trips do not use up any gas and only require a few hours of charging. Many golf carts and NEVs can travel up to 40 miles and reach top speeds of 25 to 35 miles per hour. Some retirement community residents are even taking the trend a step further and buying golf carts that are miniature versions of their favorite automobiles such as Hummers, Cadillacs, and Mercedes.
Where You Live Matters
Some people argue that the vehicles do not meet the needs of the average American when trips to work or running errands can often be more than 30 miles roundtrip. While the vehicles might not make sense in rural or sparsely populated suburban settings, with the low cost, zero emissions and gas saving technology offered by golf carts and NEVs it would seem that more of these vehicles should be on the roads in America’s more densely populated areas.
Restrictions Still Apply
Slowly, more and more NEVs are taking to the roads. However, the challenge faced by many who wish to own a golf cart or NEV are the restrictions placed by towns and cities that prevent them from taking to the streets. In order to legally drive on the streets, golf carts must come equipped with headlights, tail lights, and turn signals, among other requirements. Even then, the city must make it legal for them to be used on the streets.
Fortunately, the recent spike in gas prices has encouraged more towns and cities across the country to legalize their use on the streets. While the use of golf carts in retirement communities was something that was often mocked by outsiders as a strange way to travel, golf cart owners now seem to be the ones laughing. The benefits of golf carts and NEVs on the road will likely pose a benefit to everyone. The smaller cars mean less congestion on the roads and easier parking. Their low costs will provide a benefit to financially strapped Americans. Municipalities will likely find a benefit from less wear and tear on the infrastructure. And, of course, the environment will benefit from the lack of pollution.