On National Golf Cart Day (seriously), here’s 10 ways they beat cars


Golf carts are no longer just for cruising the country club. In fact, these days, they’re more commonly found zipping through neighborhood streets or joy-riding around beach communities. These smaller, more efficient alternatives to traditional cars might just be a good choice for your ‘second car’, believe it or not.

Thanks to US golf cart maker E-Z-GO, which partnered with National Calendar Day to help establish National Golf Cart Day in celebration of the brand’s 70th anniversary, we can now all celebrate these pint-sized car replacements with their own holiday.

Once powered by polluting combustion engines, these days, most golf carts use quiet and emissions-free electric motors, charging up their batteries for mere pennies and offering plenty of around-the-town range. Several manufacturers have also created street-legal versions of their golf carts, usually signified with “LSV” in the name (for the Low-Speed Vehicle designation), which can be legally driven on most public roads posted with speed limits of 35 mph (56 m/h) or lower.

Here are 10 compelling reasons why golf carts might just be the better choice for your local transportation needs.

1. Eco-friendly transportation

Electric golf carts produce zero emissions during use, making them an environmentally friendly option. They also use less materials, produce less tire particulates, and generally score higher on just about every environmental metric, even compared to electric vehicles. Ultimately though, these ARE electric vehicles, they just aren’t $50,000 Teslas.

And with many golf carts available for a small fraction of the cost of a new electric car, this is one of the most cost-effective ways to get into a four-wheeled electric vehicle. This is especially true for those who choose not to ride an e-bike or must carry several children or other passengers.

2. Cost-effective operation

Golf carts are significantly cheaper to operate than cars. The cost of electricity for charging an electric golf cart is much lower than the price of gasoline. A typical 5-7 kWh golf cart battery can be charged for less than one dollar in most states.

Additionally, golf carts require significantly less maintenance, which translates into major savings on repairs and upkeep.

While most golf carts aren’t cheap, usually between US $8,000 to $12,000 depending on luxury features, they’re still much more affordable than a new car. Buying used can help lower costs, but there are also interesting new additions to the market such as the Kandi Mini golf cart, priced at just US $3,999. I’m currently testing that model, seen below towing my kayak to the lake.

3. Ease of parking

One of the biggest advantages of golf carts is their compact size, which makes parking a breeze. You can easily maneuver and park golf carts in tight spaces, avoiding the frustration of finding a large parking spot for a car.

My parents live just a few miles from a golf cart-friendly community (we’re talking about homes with an extra half-sized garage door so people can park their golf carts in the garage too). When I visit them, I regularly see golf carts from the nearby community at the local stores, often parked in areas where cars wouldn’t be able to fit, or sharing parking spaces with each other.

4. Ideal for short distances

Golf carts are perfect for short-distance travel, such as going to the local market, visiting friends in the neighborhood, or commuting within a residential area. They usually have battery ranges of dozens of miles, not hundreds, meaning they would be plenty for around-the-town trips, but the smaller batteries than traditional electric cars help save significant costs.

Their design is also optimized for low-speed travel, ensuring safe and comfortable rides for short trips. The low speed might put a limit on which roads they can take, but of course no one wants to take a golf cart on high-speed roads anyway due to the open-body design.

Another trend I’m seeing more often in the US is parents waiting in their cars at school bus stops. These parents often idle their engines while they wait to pick up their child and then drive them two minutes through the neighborhood back home. If you’re going to be a helicopter parent, or are overly worried about Timmy getting snatched in their own neighborhood, at least you could do it while driving a smaller and more fuel-efficient vehicle like a golf cart.

5. Lower speed, higher safety (seriously)

I know, I know. Most people will inherently assume that golf carts are “less safe.” But that’s not the case. Sure, they aren’t going to do as well as a Model 3 in a front crash test. But they also likely won’t be in a position where they need to perform like a Model 3.

With lower maximum speeds, golf carts are inherently safer for local travel on smaller roads where they’ll be mixing it up with less traffic. The reduced speed limits the risk of serious accidents, making them a safer option for transporting children and elderly passengers.

In fact, many studies have shown that all cars would be safer if speed limits were simply reduced in cities. Speed is the real killer. So while I wouldn’t want to go into a head-on collision with a semi while driving a golf cart, I’m also not likely ever going to be in a position where that would happen.

6. Quiet operation

Golf carts operate quietly compared to the louder engines of cars. This is particularly beneficial in residential areas where noise pollution can be a concern. The quiet operation of golf carts ensures a peaceful environment for you and your neighbors. Even the smaller wheels and tires result in less noise than a full-sized electric car’s tire roar.

This is another reason why they are so popular in beach towns and island communities. In addition to avoiding traditional forms of pollution, they also reduce the sound pollution of larger vehicular traffic.

7. Reduced insurance costs

Insurance for golf carts is typically much cheaper than for cars. Since they are primarily used for low-speed, local travel, the risk associated with golf carts is lower, leading to more affordable insurance premiums.

Theft premiums are also usually lower. If a golf cart ever has damage, the cost to repair is usually much lower than for “real” cars.

8. Convenience and accessibility

Golf carts are easy to get in and out of, making them highly accessible for people of all ages, including those with mobility issues. The open design and lower step-in height make them convenient for everyday use.

Whether it’s kids hopping on to get to practice or elderly riders using them to navigate a retirement community, golf carts are easier for everyone!

9. Customizable and fun!

Golf carts can be highly customized to suit your personal style and needs. From adding storage compartments and custom paint jobs to installing comfortable seating and advanced tech features, the possibilities are endless.

Customizing your golf cart can make local transportation not only practical but also fun. It may get fairly pricey when you look into packages for lifted suspension and major lighting accessories, but the same can be said for the entire automotive industry.

10. Community and lifestyle integration

Using golf carts fosters a sense of community. As more neighbors adopt golf carts, local travel becomes more social and interactive. The slower pace and open design of golf carts encourage friendly interactions and help build stronger neighborhood ties.

I see this often in golf cart-friendly communities, where folks tend to interact more, stop and chat on paths, and generally spend more time socializing with their community members

While cars are essential for long-distance travel and certain tasks, golf carts present a versatile and efficient alternative for local transportation. No one expects golf carts to completely replace cars, but they sure can replace many car trips, and potentially replace the need for a second full-size car.

Their environmental benefits, cost-effectiveness, ease of use, and safety make them an attractive choice for short trips around the neighborhood. By embracing golf carts, you can enjoy a simpler, greener, and more connected way of getting around. So next time you need to run a quick errand or visit a nearby friend, consider hopping in a golf cart – you might just find it’s the perfect fit for your local transportation needs.

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