With soaring gas prices, EVs and public transportation have never looked more attractive

Considering fuel costs, greener thinking makes a lot of financial sense

HOUSTON – The nationwide average price for a gallon of unleaded gas has reached record highs in 2022, according to GasBuddy.com.

A gallon of unleaded gasoline in recent weeks has averaged over $5 per gallon in many spots around the country.

Any way you slice it, gas is expensive, and it could make vehicles that do not require regular fill-ups even more attractive, said Bill Fulton, director of Rice University’s Kinder Institute for Urban Research.

“I think we are going to see more and more people switch to electric vehicles because of gas prices,” Fulton said.

But the cost to obtain an electric vehicle still remains out of reach for many Americans.

Before incentives, the cheapest new electric cars still hover around $30,000, and availability of those lowest-cost models is particularly scarce right now.

While the monumental shift toward electric will most likely accelerate, Fulton does not expect rapid mass adoption of electric vehicles because of the spike in fuel prices.

“Electric vehicles are still quite expensive, probably beyond their means, so if (people are) going to buy another car, it’s going to be gas-powered, even with the higher gas prices,” Fulton said.

OPTION B is even more affordable.

There are, of course, even lower-cost alternatives to paying more than $5 per gallon.

Public transportation is typically fairly robust in big cities, including Houston. For a little more than a $1 per way, and sometimes less, riders who live in urban areas can get to and from other urban and central suburban locations.

But there are obstacles for people pushed farther away from the city center, or otherwise not living close to a high-frequency bus stop.

“My son was having to take Ubers on the way home from work, because the buses stopped at night. It just got too expensive,” said Michelle Johnson, a RideMetro.org customer.

“Bus routes tend to end around between 8 p.m. and about 1 a.m. A bit depends where you are. And so if you’re a second- or third-shift worker, you might be able to take the bus to work. But it can be difficult to get home on the bus,” said Jonathan Brooks, Director of Policy and Planning for LinkHouston.org.

Brooks’ organization advocates for robust and equitable transportation, and they’ve created a way to solve a problem for Johnson’s son, Brandon.

In cooperation with RideMetro.org, Brandon and others can use their bus passes, to hail taxis from the Kashmere Transportation Center in Northeast Houston.

This essential last-mile delivery service fills a gap for workers who get home late.

“It’s a matter of identifying what the community would like to see change, and then getting the minimal resources necessary to really implement it,” Brooks said.

Edmunds.com has compiled a list of the cheapest new electric cars available in the U.S. They each hover near the $30,000 mark before tax incentives.

The 2022 Nissan Leaf holds the title of the cheapest MSRP at $28,375, and is eligible for a $7,500 tax credit.

Lately, lower-end electric vehicles have been hard to find with brisk sales and tight supply.

Are all EVs eligible for tax credits?

Tax credits with electric vehicles have become tougher to navigate in recent years because some manufacturers are no longer eligible to participate in the government program. Most notably, GM and Tesla can no longer offer attractive tax credit sweeteners because they’ve already sold so many electric vehicles.

Here’s a list of eligible tax credits if you’re looking to go electric.

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