High gas prices leave some drivers considering electric, hybrid cars

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Gas prices remain high across the Mid-South and it’s hitting the wallet of Mid-Southerners hard. This has a lot of people considering switching to an electric or hybrid car to save some money. Before going through with a decision that big though, car experts tell FOX13 buyers need to research different cars, the cost, and then also evaluate where they are in their life right then and there and look at their needs.

Many drivers told FOX13, the high gas prices have them paying nearly double what they used to pay to fill up their cars.

“Before the prices, maybe 40 dollars. Now, 80 dollars to fill my car up,” Audrey Phifer told FOX13.

Even Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland says the high prices could have an impact on the city’s budget.

“Police, fire, city vehicles use a lot of gas and I don’t know if it’s going negatively impact our budget. I’m sure it will,” said Strickland.

Gas prices starting climbing last year as mote people hit the roads as pandemic restrictions loosened. The main reason prices reached record highs though, is because of the war between Russia and Ukraine tightening the global supply of oil. There isn’t an end in sight for the war and it’s unclear how much longer gas prices will remain high. FOX13 spoke to Matt Degen with Kelley Blue Book, a company that researches the auto industry and also helps value cars. Degen tells FOX13 to consider a few things.

“It all depends on a person’s needs, their budget, etc,” said Degen.

If you’re currently in the market for a new car, Degen does suggest that you choose either an electric or a hybrid car. If you’re choosing to switch though solely because of the high gas prices, Degen says you need to pause and do some research.

“Is your family going to be growing? Will you maybe have a longer commute? Will gas prices go up to 5 or 10 dollars a gallon?” said Degen. “Don’t just buy the car for today, look down the road. Look 5 years down the road, maybe even 10 years down the road if you’re wanting to keep your car that long.”

Degen also mentioned that demand for these cars seem to be going up which is driving up the cost. Add on supply chain issues and you may be paying more than you expected for a new electric or hybrid car.

“It’s been challenging for many months now; it’s probably going to be challenging for many months to come and that all goes back to that supply chain crisis,” said Degen.

FOX13 also asked what you thought about the subject on Facebook. Reactions were mixed with one viewer commenting “I have a hybrid now and I love it. I’ve gone 11 days without having to fill up.” Another said they’ve always liked the idea, but they were expensive. One viewer didn’t like the idea saying “Some people can’t afford to buy new vehicles especially when they have a perfectly good one that runs on gas. They are making life impossible for the middle class and creating more of a class divide....” Finally, another viewer commented saying they like the idea of electric cars, but the infrastructure has to be there. Their comment reads His comment reads “I think it’s good for the environment, but they would have to put up a lot of charging stations around the city. Can you imagine the backup.”

Degen also mentioned to FOX13 that with demand starting to go up, you may have to make some sacrifices.

“You might not get the exact color you want, you might not get the exact features you want.”

On the plus side, Degen says the value of used cars is skyrocketing, so if you’re trading in a car, you could get a good amount that you can put towards a new car. You just have to do the research and plan ahead. Degen also said to prepare to set aside between $1,000-$2,000 for a charging port alone if you plan to go the all-electric route and make sure you have researched how many charging stations are available wherever you live.