A huge spike in gas prices changes the zero emission vehicle calculation. (Black Press file)

A huge spike in gas prices changes the zero emission vehicle calculation. (Black Press file)

Editorial: Gas price spike an electric argument

There was a time when drivers could not have imagined gas prices would exceed $1 per litre

The spike in gas prices is certainly an excellent argument to go electric or hybrid.

This most recent hike we’re seeing at the pumps has been caused by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, but it’s hardly the first time we’ve seen our fuel prices go up. We have now seen gas go over $2 per litre, and we expect prices will not ever significantly go down again.

Oh sure, the price will remain volatile, but on the whole the trend in gas prices is up, up, up. The only significant decrease we’ve seen in recent years was when prices dropped briefly at the beginning of the pandemic, and that was the lowest low we’d seen in half a decade. But that didn’t last. Decreases never do. There was a time when drivers could not have imagined gas prices would exceed $1 per litre. Then that psychological threshold became $1.50. Now look where we are.

Coupled with the cost of electric and hybrid vehicles coming down to be roughly equivalent to a new gas model, we don’t think people will be forgetting this latest price spike when they next head to a car dealership. We’re sure there’s a lot of envy right now when folks see the neighbour down the street plug in their car at night instead of having to hit up a gas station. It’s starting to make not just environmental sense, but incredible economic sense to get yourself a green vehicle.

Further, more companies have gotten into the electric and hybrid game so there is more choice available, and different kinds of vehicles, too, from sedans to SUVs. Provincial rebates for purchasing a zero emission vehicle are up to $3,000. Charging stations are available even in most small communities now, and the range of electric vehicles has significantly improved over the years to where it is more than adequate for most people who are not driving long distances. By 2035 the B.C. government will require all new passenger vehicles sold in the province to be zero emission, a date that isn’t very far in the future.

Which brings us to the one area where the way still needs to be paved, so to speak.

No matter the incentives, be it spiking gas prices or rebates, lower income people have fewer choices.

It is expensive to be poor. There are still not a large number of electric or hybrid vehicles available second hand, and one would have to make sure any such model didn’t need a pricey fix, such as a new battery. Our governments have done well to offer rebates to persuade people to get into zero emission vehicles, but they need to do more to make it realistic for lower income people to share in those benefits.

Editorials