CINCINNATI — High gas prices have some people opting for public transportation or canceling plans altogether. Others might be considering an electric car, or EV, for the first time.
EV use is becoming more common. In November, Kelly Blue Book found EV sales were 88% over 2020 numbers through the end of September.
While the savings on gas can be enticing, some people told WCPO they see too many barriers to owning an EV.
“New technology comes out, and it needs to have some of those wrinkles ironed out,” said Florence resident Kevin Stokley, who drives a Pontiac, adding, “But at the same time, if it's more efficient, and I'm all about being efficient, then you know, we should start looking at electric cars in a serious manner,” he said.
Stokley still has concerns, primarily about mileage.
“You're having to worry about doing the charging thing and the availability of chargers,” he said.
That is a roadblock a lot of agencies are working to clear. In February, the federal government announced new money for states to build a network of EV chargers, especially along highways. Nearly $5 billion will be available for states to add these chargers along designated Alternative Fuel Corridors over the next five years.
“Most of it will be competitive based, so we need to look at it through the lens of ‘How do we enable it for our residents and make sure that it's also equitably applied?’” said Cincinnati City Councilman Mark Jeffreys, who is vice chair of the council’s Climate, Environment & Infrastructure Committee.
Jeffreys said adding chargers in public spaces can help people who do not have access to them at home. The new Northside Transit Center, which opened in 2020, includes EV chargers.
He added another local goal was to add chargers Downtown, which could give highway drivers a reason to stop.
“That's an opportunity for us to capitalize on people who are going up to Michigan or Florida and stop in Cincinnati, charge and maybe go out and eat and see our city while their car is charging,” he said.
Jeffreys said that’s one way the chargers could help boost the local economy.
“We want to make sure that as a city, we're competitive with other cities, and we're providing the infrastructure needed to grow as this industry grows,” he said.
Stokley thinks there is still a way to go, but he does want to look forward.
“I’m definitely not against using gasoline. I think that people should have an option, but we definitely need to look ahead,” Stokley said. “My son's seven years old and I know how much the Earth has changed in the amount of time since I've been seven. I really think that we need to have a plan of action.”
One common concern about electric vehicles is the high price tag. In October, Kelly Blue Book found the average cost of an EV was more than $10,000 higher than the cost of the average new car.
Jeffreys said he thinks the price for electric vehicles will drop as more carmakers start selling them. Kelly Blue Book reports most shoppers do not know about many EV options.
You can learn more about tax credits for driving electric cars here.
You can find electric vehicle charging stations throughout the U.S. and Canada by using this map from the U.S. Department of Energy.