Electric vehicle owners in Phoenix metro area are loving ‘passing gas stations’


PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) — Sam Caputo bought his all-electric car in 2018 and said he couldn’t be happier with his decision. “This is my Tesla Model S,” Caputo told On Your Side. “Looking back at it, it was the best choice I’ve ever made. I’m saving money hand over fist.” And he’s not the only one who’s thrilled. “A year ago in May is when we purchased it. Gas wasn’t quite as crazy as it is now,” Joan King told us. She loves her fully electric Ford Mustang Mach E, telling On Your Side that gas wasn’t really the reason she bought it, but she’s now glad she did. “I was more into it because it was really cute and that’s why I really wanted it. But now, in hindsight, it’s now definitely the gas deal for sure,” King said.

Both King and Caputo have seen gas prices nearly double in price since this time last year. But it’s an increase they say they don’t have to worry about. “My savings are probably $600 to $700 a month easily,” Caputo said, laughing.

It turns out Arizona ranks fifth in the nation for electric vehicles on the road. And the number of electric cars and trucks is expected to surge in the coming years as more electric vehicles are produced. “You still get those people looking at you like you’re driving something that they’ve never seen before,” King said when motorists pull up next to her. “I’m like, there are a lot of these on the road now.”

But critics say there are disadvantages to owning an electric vehicle. For example, EVs can travel less distance, meaning they have a shorter range than gas-powered cars. Their battery packs are extremely expensive to replace, sometimes half the vehicle’s value. And electric cars are more expensive to purchase, but advocates say the vehicles are much cheaper to operate. “I never have to pull into a gas station again,” Joan said, chuckling.

Still, with more consumers expecting to go electric, the state of Arizona recently announced it’s spending $75 million to install fast-charging stations all over the state. Naturally, electric vehicle enthusiasts welcome the news. “If you’re driving a lot, it totally makes sense to have an electric vehicle. I can take all my savings and put it toward the cost of the vehicle,” King said. “It actually offsets the cost of the vehicle and I’m saving money.

But how much money? “For the whole month of May I spent $28 in electricity costs and for that $28 I can travel 1,890 miles,” Caputo said. If it was a gas car, that $28 would have been $450. Both viewers say they don’t miss going to the gas station at all.

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