CINCINNATI — Cincinnati area gas prices are surging to $3.59 a gallon this week, their highest level since 2014. Gas is getting close to the $4 a gallon it touched in 2008 during The Great Recession.
We found stations from Norwood, Mason and West Chester raising changing their signs from $3.35 - the average for the past week - up to $3.56 and $3.59.
The reason: The Russian invasion of Ukraine has forced crude oil prices to over $100 a barrel. The price is double what it was a year ago.
And with spring driving season about to start, along with increased demand, analysts predict prices will continue to soar this spring.
Taking a second look at electric
Rising gas prices have many people considering something they wouldn't have looked twice at a year ago: An electric car or SUV.
Kevin Kushman said buying a Tesla 3 years ago was one of the best things he ever did.
"I love it," he said. "I have no complaints."
But for 2022, electric means much more than Tesla.
As we saw in all those Super Bowl ads, mainstream carmakers are going all-in on electric and plug-in hybrids, even the top-selling Ford F-150 pickup, now coming out as the F-150 Lightning.
Car shopper Pam Taylor never considered an electric vehicle before, but was looking at the Mustang Mach-E at the recent Cincinnati Auto Expo.
"I do like the savings as far as gas mileage," Taylor said. "But I do have to find out more about them."
Herman Davis said the electric Mustang is "really nice, with a lot of features in it."
Buying electric may finally make sense
With gas prices well over $3 a gallon (it's $5 in California, if you're planning on a drive), a hybrid or electric vehicle can mean real savings, as opposed to two years ago when gas was selling for just $2 a gallon.
Even better: The government wants to help you buy one.
Thanks to last year's infrastructure bill, tax credits that had expired have been renewed for most hybrid and electric vehicles.
If you check the site Fuel Economy.gov you'll see you can get:
- A $7,500 credit on a Jeep Plug in hybrid, Hyundai Ioniq, Mustang Mach-E, and Nissan Leaf, among others.
- A $4,500 on a Prius plug-in hybrid.
The credits, however, end once an automaker sells too many cars, which means you may not get a rebate for buying a Tesla or original Prius.
"You have a tax credit based on which type of vehicle you buy," Kevin Kushman explained. "Some have run out, for instance, the Teslas have run out because they were oversubscribed. But all the new models have the opportunity to generate a personal tax incentive.
Tesla owner Kushman is so bullish on electric vehicles he recently joined the industry. He now builds and sells charging stations that are installed in shopping centers and city parking lots in the Cincinnati area through a company called Electrada.
And with more charging stations, and renewed credits, car buyers like Justin Drew are ready to buy.
"They used to be only for the rich, but now everyday Americans can get one too," he said.
And that way you don't waste your money.
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