An electric vehicle is one way to save big as gas prices rise. These issues limit who can benefit

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With gas prices rising and no clear idea on when they may stabilize, many people in Northern California are searching for ways to save on commuting.

According to Dr. Joshua Rhodes, an energy researcher at the University of Texas in Austin, a gas-powered vehicle is currently five times more expensive to run than an EV.

That’s on a national scale. Calculations based on California gas and electricity prices show that EVs are about two to three times less expensive mile per mile.

Those numbers may be enough for someone who had been considering switching to an electric vehicle in the past to make that switch sooner rather than later.

KCRA 3’s digital team posted a survey on social media asking that very question. About 25% of people said “yes” they have or will consider switching from a gas-powered vehicle to an electric vehicle in the near future. (This should not be considered a scientific poll.)

But of course, that change involves a major up-front investment and there are other obstacles to owning and consistently running an EV. One of those challenges is having reliable access to fast charging systems. The KCRA 3 Investigates Team reported earlier this year that there are many places in Sacramento and Northern California that are considered EV charging station “dead zones.”

Installing a home charger is one option. But that incurs additional costs. Still, demand for home charging methods will eventually increase as California moves closer to its 2035 deadline for ending the sale of new gas-powered cars.

Enphase Energy, which operates a charging station production facility in Auburn, says that meeting this demand is going to take a collective approach.

“If me, my neighbor and my neighbor’s neighbor, we all get electric cars…and each one of us at some point, there’s gonna be two electric cars per home, we need to find a way to charge them with clean energy,” says Enphase Energy CPO Raghu Belur. “We need to be able to charge them whenever we choose to charge them, and we need to be able to do it economically.”

But of course, a lot of homes and apartment units simply can’t install a home charging unit. So if electric vehicles are going to be seen as a long-term solution to achieving energy independence, there is a lot of work that still needs to be done to make the technology affordable and accessible.

“This isn’t going to happen overnight,” Rhodes said. “It’s going to happen over time. and as that demand evolves so will the grid evolve with it.”

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