Gasoline prices are on the rise again and this comes as no surprise to American motorists who, until recently, have only been able to select from several electric vehicle models to reduces their gasoline dependence and forget about wildly fluctuating prices at the pump.

As you being to think about the next vehicle you may purchase, give some consideration to one of the more than 50 battery electric (BEV) or plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) models currently available. This number is expected to double by the end of 2022 and options will include full-sized pick-up trucks and SUVs.

Concerns about electric vehicle cost, range and long-term maintenance – including the long-term life of the battery – are diminishing. Manufacturers are addressing these concerns head-on by offering generous warranties. Prices for many models start in the $20,000 range, especially for a buyer who takes advantage of the federal tax credit, which can be up to $7,500.

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Electric vehicles require no oil changes and owners don’t have to worry about a transmission, valves, starter, clutch or catalytic converter needing replacement down the road because these parts don’t exist on an electric vehicle.

Public electric vehicle charging capacity is also on the rise. Currently, there are approximately 426 EV charging outlets at 169 different public charging stations in Alabama. Last summer, Gov. Kay Ivey announced the Alabama Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Plan, which the Alabama Clean Fuels Coalition and the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs developed to set short- and long-range strategies to guide expansion of electric vehicle charging stations throughout the state.

All-electric vehicles also feature the most environmentally-friendly feature of all – no tailpipe emissions – and they emit significantly less CO2, even when taking into account emissions from electricity needed to charge EVs.

EV drivers also rave about the newest electric models’ high torque, even at low speeds, which translates into instant accelerator response. They’re simply fun to drive.

Anyone wanting to learn more about EVs can visit The Market at Pepper Place in Birmingham on Saturday, April 24, for a Drive Electric Earth Day event. Electric car owners will be on hand from 8 a.m. until noon, to discuss EVs’ affordability while also promoting electric vehicle awareness. The event includes several health and safety guidelines, including masks required for all participants, to guard against COVID-19.

Here’s the bottom line: Electric vehicles are cheaper to drive and maintain than their gas-powered competitors, provide high-paying jobs for Alabamians and help the environment by giving off zero emissions.

Come see for yourself at the Drive Electric Earth Day on Saturday.

Michael Staley has served as president of the Alabama Clean Fuels Coalition since 2020.