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Are rising gas prices pushing Chicagoans to EVs?

Whether you’re environmentally conscience or searching for better economic choices, Electric Vehicles (EVs) present benefits across the board, especially in cities with rising gas prices, like Chicago.

An EV solar-charging station at a Phillips Chevrolet in south suburban Chicago

A spokesman for AAA said earlier this month that Chicago’s average gas price was $3.46 a gallon, a 35 percent increase from last year. When consumers see spikes like that, it sparks greater interest in what an EV could mean for their wallets.

While many drivers may automatically assume EVs are too pricey to even consider, the demand and technology is allowing manufacturers to cut the cost of batteries, while also upping their capacity. When those prices start to compare with standard fueled vehicles, the appeal goes up.

Tax credits are a big motivator, too. A 2011 Nissan Leaf had a range of just 74 miles on a charge, and cost $35,000, while a similar hatchback cost upwards of $20,000. The Leaf now has a 151-mile range and starts around $30,000–actually $22,500 after the $7,500 federal tax credit (via Omaha.com).

The prospect of saving money on his transportation costs and helping the environment, prompted CUB’s David Kolata, our executive director, to replace his 14-year old Subaru with a Chevy Bolt this past May. (He also likes the Bolt’s performance–it’s fast if he needs it to be.)

CUB’s Executive Director Dave Kolata alongside his new Chevy Bolt EV

For more information on EVs, check out CUB’s fact sheet on electric vehicle incentives.