Black And White

By Julia Price

August 7, 2019 3 min read

In most aspects of life, there are gray areas, meaning something can be more complicated than it may initially appear. However, when it comes to Americans and their taste in car colors, data consistently proves that it's very black and white. CarMax data shows that 22.25% of cars sold through their services from 2017-2018 were black, while 19.34% were white.

Black is so popular that Tesla is taking advantage of the high demand by charging $1,000 for a black paint job, which, according to TechCrunch, was previously offered as a free standard option. Classic? Yes. Sleek? Absolutely. But while black may entice those looking for a timeless exterior, there are several downsides to take into consideration, including the internal temperature of the car.

In a recent experiment conducted by employees at Autotrader, two identical cars of different colors -- the exact same model, make and year -- were compared. The cars were left for hours in the Georgia sunshine, and then tested to see their cabin temperatures. The inside of the white car was 113 degrees Fahrenheit while the black car was 130 degrees -- that's more than 15 degrees hotter! Taking the experiment one step further, they turned on the air conditioning and blasted it at full capacity to see which car would cool down faster. After 10 minutes of high air conditioning, the white car's temperature was 84 degrees while the black car only came down to 91 degrees. That disparity might not seem like much, but when you're looking for an escape from the scorching summer heat, those extra numbers will make a world of difference.

In addition to staying cooler, researchers are discovering that white, champagne, silver and other lighter-colored cars may be more fuel-efficient. A recent study conducted by Berkeley Lab's Environmental Energy Technologies Division concluded that "cooler colors like white and silver can reflect as much as 60 percent of the sun's rays, while darker colors like black only reflect around 5 percent." Therefore, as reported on Autoblog, if car manufacturers are considering ways to rise above their competition in the eco-friendly department, producing more reflective (lighter-colored) cars will give them an edge.

If you're part of the 40% of Americans who is willing to overlook brand loyalty to acquire your ideal car color, then you might find yourself feeling less open to changing your taste. Ultimately, when you're deciding which car you'd like to call your own, no gray areas here, safety comes first.

Once your clear your car is safe for you, consider the safety of the environment and the safety of your wallet. People are becoming increasingly aware of the ways in which they can leave less of a carbon footprint, which could result in them wanting to invest in a lighter-colored vehicle the next time they start car shopping.

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