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Electric vehicles in high demand as Idaho gas prices reach $5

Electric cars avoid the gas pump and have minimal maintenance and repair costs, according to AAA Idaho. However, the overall cost comparison isn't entirely clear.

BOISE, Idaho — Sales representatives from Fairly Reliable Bob's Car Dealership, Lyle Peterson Auto Group, and Dennis Dillon automotive all told KTVB that customers are asking about electric vehicles (EV) at higher rates than normal.

At the same time, the average gallon of gas in the gem state costs more than $5, according to AAA Idaho.

AAA ran a study in 2021 to estimate the cost of a new vehicle over a 5-year span. The study factored in depreciation, financing, fuel, insurance, registration, and maintenance costs when comparing vehicle categories.

The study defined car costs on a 'cents-per-mile' scale.

  • Small Sedan: 48.20 cents
  • Subcompact SUV: 53.45 cents
  • Compact SUV: 56.63 cents
  • Hybrid: 60.06 cents
  • Electric: 61:96 cents
  • Medium Sedan: 62:44 cents
  • Medium SUV: 66.45
  • Mid-size Pickup: 62:77 cents
  • Half-Ton Pickup: 77.25 cents

However, gas prices have increased by 1.78 cents over the past year, according to AAA. In conjunction with minimal maintenance and repair costs, EV owners are convinced they're saving money over the entire lifetime of their cars.

"It was a good choice. The best choice. I would do it again in a heartbeat," Tesla owner Greg Ferguson said. "Gas didn't play a factor when I bought the car. (It's) certainly coming into play now."

For other EV owners, gas was the precise reason to make the change from the gas pump to the charging station.

Paul Goetter bought his 2013 Tesla in April 2021. Previously, he owned a Hummer. The gas guzzler cost him $700 a month in visits to the gas station, he said.

RELATED: Average gallon of gas now $5, GasBuddy finds

Today, Goetter charged 60% of his Tesla in a handful of minutes. The partial charge gave him roughly 160 miles and costs him less than $7.

"You're paying a mortgage in fuel. Why not put it into an electric vehicle while you can?" Goetter said. "I don't put gas in this car. I don't care about gas prices. I don't play that game anymore. I'm not involved. I'm completely removed. I'm immune."

Goetter and Furguson both admit they haven’t done the exact math. However, a $10 charge is the only selling point they need these days.

"I would never go back to a gasoline vehicle," Ferguson said.

EV owners must pay an extra $140 annually in car registration fees, according to Idaho law. Hybrid owners must pay extra too; their extra fee is a lesser $75.

The money goes into the state's Highway Distribution Account. This is because electric owners don't pay taxes on gas. It's a fee that offsets some potential savings from a switch to EV; however, some EV owners see it as a fair trade.

"The pothole on eagle road this year, they did get fixed. I know my money helped do that," Goetter said. "And who cares? It's like $100. Some people are paying more than that to fill their gas tank once."

RELATED: Idaho Democratic lawmakers propose 'gas tax holiday' to help relieve rising costs

AAA will release an updated study by the end of summer that reflects cost comparisons with current gas prices, AAA Idaho spokesperson, Matthew Conde said.

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