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Electric Vehicle Sales Booming On Long Island, As State And Utility Offer Big Incentives

DIX HILLS, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) -- Sales of electric cars, SUVs and pickup trucks are booming. Long Island leads New York with a third of the sales.

While the sticker prices of electric vehicles, or EVs, may be higher than gas-run cars, the state and utilities are offering buyers big incentives, CBS2's Carolyn Gusoff reported Monday.

Electric vehicles are in and gas is out on one block in Dix Hills.

John Li, a converted sports car lover, says his electric vehicle is his favorite now. And it's contagious.

"There are a lot. Our next door neighbor has one, the neighbor across the street from him has one," Li said.

electric car charger
Sales of electric cars, SUVs and pickup trucks are booming. Long Island leads New York with a third of the sales. (CBS2)

New York and PSEG Long Island want all neighborhoods to look like this one, and they're making it more convenient and affordable.

PSEG offers a $500 credit on a smart charger, which enables the utility to measure and discount electric use.

"It allows the driver to set the time of charging, which pays customers 5 cents per kilowatt-hour cashback when they charge between 11 p.m. and 6 a.m.," said Michelle Somers, EV support manager as PSEG Long Island.

"Especially now with where the gas prices are... I haven't been to a gas station in, I mean, months," said Alberto Fiofini. "I probably save 35, 40%."

Li used to gas up his SUV for $50 a week. His charging costs are now one-fourth of that.

"Lower cost to operate, lower costs to maintain and good for the environment. So, it's really good all around for the customer and also for us as a utility," said Michael Voltz, PSEG Long Island's director of energy efficiency and renewables. "It's a great user of electricity because it's used off-peak."

New York has an ambitious goal: 800,000 electric vehicles in four years. That's 10x the number now. It's meant to combat the number one source of emissions in the state and nationwide.

New York offers a $2,000 rebate on top of a $7,500 federal tax credit.

Any discussion of electric vehicles can prompt questions about just how clean they actually are, since the power that charges them comes from fossil fuel plants. But PSEG says that's quickly changing.

"They are much cleaner than gasoline or diesel vehicles, much better for the environment, and more and more, as utility companies procure electricity from offshore wind and solar, it will become even cleaner yet," said Voltz.

Li and his neighbors said they're never going back, since they now wake up with the equivalent of a full tank of gas.

"I'm absolutely sold," Li said. "This is what technology is tomorrow, today."

This quiet neighborhood is making a loud statement.

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