As gas prices continue to soar across the country, some Arkansans might consider switching to an electric vehicle.
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — You’ve probably noticed all the commercials for electric vehicles (EVs).
The EV community is something that takes shape here in its natural state.
For some, a Tesla is probably the car that comes to mind when you think of an electric vehicle, and that’s probably down to the environmental benefits.
Electric vehicles are known to be better for the environment, with the US Environmental Protection Agency stating that electric vehicles leave less of a carbon footprint.
In Arkansas, like many other states, there is a whole community of electric vehicle owners.
One such owner is Matthew Clanton, who shared more about the economic impacts the cars can have for many Arkansans.
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Believe it or not, Clanton hasn’t owned an electric vehicle in so long.
“I just turned about a year old just before Christmas. It went by so fast. I’ve already done over 20,000 miles with the car in just one year,” Clanton said.
He opted for a battery-powered vehicle largely because of the long-term financial impacts.
“I knew that filling a car with electricity, with electricity from Arkansas, is much cheaper than filling it with gasoline,” adds Clanton.
While most of us are feeling the impact of rising gas prices, that’s actually not the case for car owners like Clanton.
“I think it would have cost about $250 for the last month on gas and I spent about $65,” Clanton said.
That’s ultimately the biggest benefit he’s seen so far: the money he keeps in his wallet.
As a busy family man, one of the stops he makes each week is Franklin’s Charging in Little Rock.
Jeff Franklin is one of the leading members of the recharge company.
“We’ve probably had over 20 vehicles on site in the last 3 weeks,” Franklin said.
Its charging station is actually quite new – it’s not even 2 years old yet.
“We paved the way, December 11, 2020,” he said.
Franklin’s Charging is one of more than 200 locations across Arkansas, offering top-ups before drivers hit the road again.
However, this number should soon increase.
Earlier in February, President Joe Biden announced a $7.5 billion infrastructure plan that will fund electric vehicles across the country.
Arkansas will receive $54 million over the next 5 years to fund more charging stations.
But, for many people, there’s usually a big question when it comes to electric vehicles: how long does a recharge take compared to filling a tank of gas?
Well, it actually mostly depends on your vehicle’s battery.
Charging can take anywhere from 30 minutes to half a day, but definitely longer than the few minutes you might normally spend at the pump.
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“Until an electric vehicle gets to the point where it can charge as quickly as it takes a normal car to fill up at a gas station, there will always be this need and desire for a gasoline-powered vehicle,” Mike Preston, Secretary of Commerce said.
But, it goes beyond time, there is also money involved too.
Every time you stop to refuel, you pay Arkansas fuel tax.
This money is used to finance road infrastructure projects.
Electric vehicles don’t use gasoline, but Preston said they still help defray those costs, but in other ways.
“Obviously, [electric vehicles] use our roads and have the same wear and tear on the roads as a gas-powered vehicle, so the only way to offset that was through registration fees,” Preston said.
In Arkansas, all electric vehicle owners must pay a $200 annual registration fee, while hybrid vehicles pay $50.
This entry fee goes to state and department of highway funds.
Despite this, owners like Clanton think their EVs are still worth the extra cost.
“We always save a lot of money on fuel, which is great, but it’s a little frustrating that we’re overcharged for our road tax contribution,” Clanton said. “Convenience, quietness for an everyday car, I don’t think is anything like it.”
Clanton said he’s saved nearly $200 in the past month since avoiding the gas station.
Yet EV owners pay between $50 and $100 more in annual registration fees to make up for the money that is not being paid at the pump.
It’s something Clanton said he hopes state lawmakers change.
Unlike other states, Arkansas is among those that don’t offer incentives for electric vehicle owners.
Nationally, all electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles manufactured after 2010 may be eligible for federal income tax of up to $7,500.
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