With Gas Prices Spiking, Is It More Affordable To Opt For An Electric Vehicle?

10 May 2022

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Gas prices are going up again, with the national average today at $4.33 per gallon. According to AAA, the average cost of a gallon of unleaded regular gasoline in Minnesota is just over $4 per gallon.

The rising cost of fuel started after Russia invaded Ukraine in February, but will the sustained high cost of driving cause consumers to look for more affordable fueling options? WCCO talked with an expert about the outlook for electric vehicles in Minnesota.

Elizabeth Harvey, who filled up her tank at Bobby and Steve’s in Eden Prairie Monday, says she’s reduced her driving habits as the cost of gas has risen.

“The cost of living has become really impossible,” Harvey said.

Minnesota Automobile Dealers Association President Scott Lambert says right now all electric vehicle sales are still under 3% of all vehicle sales, which matches the national average.

“The last time we saw gas price spikes, electric vehicles weren’t really a thing then. There really wasn’t much to choose from,” Lambert said.

He says a big factor that deters Minnesotans is range.

“In Minnesota, it gets cold. Vehicles can lose up to 40% of their battery capacity,” Lambert said.

You will save on fuel costs, but electric vehicles tend to cost more up front, and you still need to pay to charge them up. Kelly Bluebook says the average household would pay around $55 a month to charge an electric car.

Electric vehicles are also not immune to the chip shortage and are in short supply.

Lambert says it’s too early to say if gas prices will impact electrical vehicle sales, but he does think the all-electric and hybrid makers may create more options to entice consumers.

“We’ll just have to see what they want to do and if it fits their lifestyle,” he said.

The Twin Cities Auto Show will have 15 electric vehicles this year, compared to five last time. The show runs May 14-22 at the Minnesota State Fairgrounds.

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