Increase in gas prices fueling interest in electric vehicles, industry experts say

The increase in searches for electric vehicles come as gas prices soar during war in Ukraine

HOUSTON – The online car shopping site Edmunds says searches for electric vehicles have increased as people look for ways around rising gas prices.

Edmunds said shopper consideration of green vehicles (hybrid, plug-in hybrid, and battery electric) jumped 39% over the past month and increased 18% over the last week. Of the shoppers who visited Edmunds during the week ending March 6, 17.9% researched a green vehicle.

“I think people want to know what their options are, even if they’re not in the market to buy right at this minute,” said Jessica Caldwell, Edmunds’ executive director of insights.

The interest is being seen at Houston-area car dealerships, as well, according to the Houston Automobile Dealers Association.

“We’ve had some demand increase for it due to gas prices, but frankly, I think there’s still a cross-section of the market that is just not sold on being in an EV,” said Chris Poulos, chair of HADA.

Even modest demand, he says, is tough to meet these days due to microchip shortages and supply chain issues.

“The supply is very short. We are living on a one and two-day supply in most cases, and frankly, we don’t know when the vehicles are coming in. Most of the vehicles that are delivered to us are likely spoken for already,” Poulos said.

Kevin Douglass with the Houston Electric Auto Association said his members are traveling out of state to find EVs and paying higher prices.

“She had to buy it in Florida and she paid above sticker for the car,” he said, recalling one woman’s experience.

Still, he says, it’s worth it.

“Anytime the price of fuel goes up there’s a bigger interest in more economical vehicles and electric vehicles are much more economical,” Douglass said.

Current wait times for EVs depend on the make and model and range from one month to more than one year.

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