‘We run out of product’: As gas prices rise, electric vehicle sales on Vancouver Island soar

'We run out of product': As gas prices rise, electric vehicle sales on Vancouver Island soar

WATCH: With prices at the pump reaching near-record levels, more consumers are contemplating making the switch to electric. April Lawrence reports.

There have been grimaces and groans as drivers on southern Vancouver Island fill up their gas tanks. Prices at the pumps are up for the third time in as many months.

It’s due in part to an increase in the carbon tax in B.C., the cost of regular gas is more than $1.50 per litre at many locations on the south island, jumping well over 10 cents overnight. Some stations on Wednesday though remained around $1.45.

The price hike has some seriously reconsidering what they drive.

Comox Valley residents Colleen and Tim Crowder were in Victoria Wednesday testing out a Nissan Leaf electric vehicle (EV).

The couple says rising gas prices and the environment have them ready to make the jump from gas to electric.

“Feeling a bit guilty about our carbon footprint so we’re seriously considering it,” said Colleen.

And so are a lot of others — Campus Nissan sells 30 to 60 Nissan Leaf vehicles per month and it now makes up a good portion of their business.

Demand is so high the new models are sold out.

“We’re talking about taking orders now and delivering cars in June, July and August,” said Campus Nissan salesman Peter Luke.

And even though it may only cost you a few extra dollars per fill up, business analysts say gas price spikes do drive consumer behaviour.

“Psychologically when people start to say it’s costing me $80 to $120 to fill up my SUV each week they’re starting to think maybe I can be using that money in a better way,” said Brock Smith, a professor at UVic’s Gustavson School of Business.

But what are the savings?

As a comparison, a 2007 gas-powered Mazda 5 commuting 80 kilometres from Sooke to Victoria round trip at today’s gas prices would cost roughly $11.55 for the trip. The same trip in a 2019 Nissan Leaf would cost about $1.33 in hydro.

While the fuel savings are significant, the cost to buy an electric vehicle is higher than a gas vehicle.

But the dealership says when gas prices spike, they do see EV sales rise the following weekend.

April LawrenceApril Lawrence

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