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Electric vehicles offer smoother ride around steep gasoline prices

Gasoline prices in Alabama are on the rise again, just as summer driving season is about to heat up.

According to AAA, gas prices in Alabama have jumped by 18 cents a gallon over the past week, with the national average price per gallon now well over $4.

But for a growing number of Alabamians who are turning to plug-in electric vehicles (EVs), the unfortunate confluence of rising gas prices and increased summer driving is less of a drag.

According to the federal online site energy.gov, EV drivers in Alabama are spending closer to $1 per “eGallon” to fuel their vehicles. Learn more about how an eGallon is calculated here.

While many Americans are spending more than $4 a gallon for gasoline, the growing number of electric vehicle drivers in Alabama are spending around $1 per eGallon. (contributed)

“As the cost of gasoline rises, electric vehicle owners are reaping substantial savings on fuel costs,” said Michael Staley, president of the Alabama Clean Fuels Coalition. He suggested the higher gas prices could spur more Alabamians to consider buying an EV.

“Most EVs can travel more than 200 miles on a single charge, and that’s far more miles than most Alabamians drive every day,” Staley said.

What’s more, the number of public locations to charge electric vehicles in the state continues to grow. According to the online site PlugShare, there are now more than 280 public charging locations in Alabama. That’s on top of the availability of home charging, where most Alabama EV drivers fuel up their vehicles each day, Staley said.

Some of those Alabama EV drivers will be proudly showing off their vehicles on Saturday, May 14, at Birmingham’s popular Pepper Place market during the Drive Electric Earth Day EVent. The event is coordinated by Drive Electric Alabama, a statewide coalition headed by the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs (ADECA) and other partners, including Alabama Power. The Drive Electric Alabama campaign is helping build awareness about EVs and their advantages, as well as their growing importance to Alabama’s economy and automotive industry.

Earlier this year, ADECA unveiled a comprehensive statewide EV infrastructure plan, which will guide the growth of EV charging stations and related infrastructure in the coming years. View the plan here.

Saving on gas isn’t the only benefit of driving an EV. According to Drive Electric Alabama, multiple studies show that EVs, with no combustion engine and fewer parts to fail, have lower maintenance costs over the life of the vehicle.

Alabama’s automotive industry is moving quickly to embrace electric vehicles. Last month, Hyundai announced it was adding hybrid and plug-in electric vehicles to its Alabama production line in Montgomery County. Meanwhile, Mercedes-Benz is now producing EVs at its sprawling plant in Tuscaloosa County. A few miles away in Bibb County, the company is producing batteries at a brand-new $1 billion facility as it prepares to scale up EV production.

Also last month, Westwater Resources and its subsidiary, Alabama Graphite Products LLC, began construction on a first-of-its-kind graphite processing plant in Coosa County to produce material for EV batteries.

In 2021, the University of Alabama, Alabama Power and Mercedes came together to create the Alabama Mobility and Power (AMP) Center, a research and development hub to support the burgeoning EV industry.

A longtime supporter of electric transportation and its development, Alabama Power offers a discount electric rate for both residential EV owners and commercial EV fleet operators. For residential owners, the discounted rate applies from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. to encourage customers to charge their vehicles at home during the overnight hours, when electric demand is lower. The discounted rate applies to EV owners’ entire electric usage during those hours, which provides even more savings.

To learn more about the company’s discounted EV rates, click here. Learn more about Alabama Power’s involvement in electric transportation here. Learn more about the Drive Electric Alabama campaign at driveelectricalabama.com.

(Courtesy of Alabama NewsCenter)