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Skyrocketing Gas Prices Increase Demand for Electric and Hybrid Vehicles

SAN JOSE (KPIX) -- Record-breaking gas prices are accelerating the transition to electric vehicles in California, with demand far outpacing the current supply of cars.

"There could be waiting. There could be paying a little bit more. Those are both possibilities depending on what car they want," said David Shapiro, CEO of Cartelligent, a car brokerage company based in Marin.

Shapiro says it's not uncommon for buyers to wait weeks if not months for electric cars and hybrids to become available.

But even while cars are short supply, there's no shortage of people willing to consider a switch from gas to electric, especially in the face of sky-high gas prices.

"It makes electric a lot more appetizing and appealing." said Roy Que-Heath at San Jose's Stevens Creek Toyota dealership.

Roy says gas prices and the volatility of the oil and gas industry is steering his family towards an electric or hybrid with their next car purchase.

"You never know from week to week or month to month what gas prices will look like. Or what justifies those gas prices from time to time," he said.

Industry analysts say the electric vehicle market may have reached a tipping point. Sales are up and accelerating -- a trend fueled in large part by high gas prices.

"We're seeing this perfect storm come together. There's this big push to electrify, but at the same time the fossil fuel market is being squeezed," said Billy Riggs, a USF professor and electric vehicle industry expert.

For other drivers, it's concern for the environment that driving interest in an electric.

"For me, it's about the environment. I think we need to move away from fossil fuels. I prefer a bike to a car anytime," said Roy Ayers.

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