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More people consider going electric amid rising gas prices

While gas is less expensive than the national average in Minnesota, rising prices could start changing what types of cars and trucks people decide to buy.

HOPKINS, Minn. — The price of gas has hit an all-time high in the U.S. at $4.25 a gallon, according to AAA.

While it's lower than that here in Minnesota, higher prices could start changing what types of cars and trucks people decide to buy.

“I've seen a surge of calls and emails about electric cars,” GS Motors owner Pavel Ihnatovich says.

At GS Motors in Hopkins, they sell used electric cars.

Ihnatovich says usually saving the environment is the big reason why customers come calling.

"I'd say it's 80% environment, and then 20%, it’s all about saving money,” Ihnatovich says.

But these days it’s pretty much the opposite.

"Yeah, now it's different,” Ihnatovich laughs.

He says he's seen a lot of new customers who've never even considered electric vehicles — until now.

"I'd say 50% to 60% more calls and emails right now,” Ihnatovich said.

Because suddenly there's even more money to save buying electric, right?

Ihnatovich says unfortunately that's not the case, as the cars are harder to find. Normally he has 20 to 30 cars in his inventory, now, it's five.

"Harder to get them; gotta pay more to get them,” Ihnatovich says.

He says prices have been going up for about a year now and they went up again the moment gas prices went up.

Jukka Kukkonen with the electric car advocacy group Shift-2-Electric agrees there is a lot of interest in electric vehicles right now.

He recently had a booth at the Minneapolis Home and Garden Show and says a lot of people had gas prices on their mind.

"We spoke with hundreds of people and a lot of people were asking about electric vehicles,” Kukkonen says.

In the past, when gas prices have gone up, a lot of people moved to smaller cars to get more miles per gallon of gas, but now Kukkonen says downsizing won’t be as easy for most people.

"If you look at the new vehicles, there aren't many small vehicles available on the market anymore,” Kukkonen explains. “Like 45% of the vehicles that are made are crossovers, and then you have the trucks and the SUV’s. Very few actual cars are being made right now.”

Ihnatovich says you're better off buying a vehicle that matches ALL your needs, not just something that will help you out at the gas pump.

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