Tuesday, May 8, 2018

U.S Gas Prices May be Fueling Renewed Interest in Electric Cars

Tesla publishes patents for ‘the advancement of electric vehicle technology’

Gas prices are up nearly 50 cents a gallon in the last year.   That may be fueling an increased interest in electric cars.

Michael Sperling took us for a spin in his new 2018 Mitsubishi Outlander. The SUV is his family's second electric vehicle. 

Reporter: "What excited you about electric?"

"The pure acceleration, that low-end torque," Sperling says. "It's just so smooth, so quiet and so fun to drive.

Michael pulled the plug on gas powered cars five years ago. He's part of a growing demand for electric.

According to a new AAA study, that interest is up 15 percent from last year.

"We found that one in five Americans are interested in an electric vehicle for their next purchase," says Greg Brannon, AAA's director of automotive engineering.

Brannon says the top reasons drivers give are: a concern for the environment (80%) and lower long term costs (67%). The cars don't need oil changes and have fewer moving parts so there's less to fix.

Even though electric and hybrid sales are on the rise they still make up just 3 percent of overall U.S sales. 

Brannon believes that number will only increase as more options become available and gas prices increase.

"As we look to the future, the future is electric."

Cars like the Nissan Leaf can get up to 150 miles on a single charge.

Michael's larger SUV only goes about 25 miles per charge. But is equipped with a gas-powered backup generator for longer trips.  

"I've only been to the gas station twice."

When asked how much money he's saved, Sperling says "I don't keep track, but I can tell you I don't know what the price of gas is."

And if electric is the future, Michael is happy to be along for the ride. 

The number of charging stations is also on the rise. AAA says there are more than 16,000 across the U.S

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