Pain at the pump changes driver behavior – The Suffolk News-Herald

When the Bureau of Labor Statistics released its Consumer Price Index in June, its data confirmed what many Americans are going through.

The index, which measures the prices of a basket of essential goods, rose 9.1% from a year earlier, the biggest such increase in 40 years.

High gasoline prices are a contributing factor to the current inflation rate. With the average price per gallon in Suffolk hovering around $4.26, according to the American Automobile Association, motorists are looking for ways to save fuel.

AAA Tips

AAA offers drivers tips on how to increase their fuel economy.

The auto club recommends keeping a vehicle in good working order and driving safely as its two main fuel-saving tactics. The organization’s “How to Maximize Fuel Economy” page outlines fuel-saving habits. These include avoiding quick stops and starts, staying within speed limits, avoiding idling, and consolidating errands into one trip.

Plus, well-maintained vehicles are more fuel-efficient, according to AAA. Tires should be properly inflated, air filters should be cleaned regularly, and drivers should purchase quality oil when changing.

Finally, drivers should be careful not to carry unnecessary weight in their vehicle. AAA states that “100 extra pounds can reduce fuel economy by up to 1%”.

Electric vehicles

Unlike internal combustion engines, electric vehicles do not require gas and are instead powered by a rechargeable battery.

Despite eliminating the need to refuel at the pump, electric vehicles have a high initial start-up cost and variable charging costs, depending on the method used. These are all factors that drivers need to consider when weighing the pros and cons of buying an electric vehicle.

According to US News & World Report, purchase prices for electric vehicles range from $27,400 for a 2022 Nissan Leaf, $46,900 for a Tesla Model 3, to well over $100,000 for luxury vehicles produced by automobile manufacturers such as Mercedes-Benz.

The federal government offers incentives for certain electric vehicles, namely the Electric Vehicle Tax Credit.

The incentive, in the form of a $7,500 deduction from the buyer’s year-end tax liability, comes with certain stipulations. Among them, the vehicle must contain a battery that provides a minimum of 4 kilowatt hours of power, weigh less than 14,000 pounds, and must be rechargeable from an external source, according to US News & World Report.

In addition to the purchase price, range is an important factor for car buyers when deciding whether to buy electricity or gas.

Unlike gas-powered vehicles, where you can just fill up and keep driving, electric vehicles have limited range and need to be recharged to recharge their battery. Depending on the car model and the method used, charging times can range from a few minutes to more than a day.

Tesla, one of the world’s leading electric vehicle manufacturers, offers four different models of passenger cars. Its most popular vehicle, the Model 3, offers a range of 358 miles per fully charged battery cycle, according to Tesla’s website.

The company also has a network of 35,000 “superchargers”, placed in strategic locations across the United States. According to Tesla’s “supercharger” page, drivers can charge up to 80% of their battery, or about 200 miles of range in 15 minutes.

Other EV models, such as the Nissan Leaf and Chevrolet Bolt, do not have their own supercharger network, but are instead compatible with charging stations operated by private companies.

One of the largest such providers, EVgo, has 850 charging stations in 30 states and is compatible with the aforementioned vehicles, according to its website. The service charges drivers based on “regional utility costs” and offers both individual payments and subscriptions for frequent users, according to EVgo’s “about” page.

With fuel prices high, electric vehicles may seem like an attractive alternative. However, drivers should consider both the purchase price and the ancillary costs associated with owning an electric vehicle when making their decision.

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