Amid continually increasing gas prices, White House officials have continually recommended that Americans feeling pain at the pump should switch to electric vehicles.
During a live streaming event this week, the Biden administration’s energy secretary, Jennifer Granholm, said a way to deal with $5 per gallon gas is to purchase an electric vehicle.
“If you filled up your EV [electric vehicle] and you filled up your gas tank with gasoline, you would save $60 per fill-up by going electric rather than using gasoline, but it’s a very compelling case,” she said in a clip circulated by Republicans on social media on June 14. “But again, we want to bring down the price at the point of purchase.”
Her comments received significant criticism from Republican lawmakers and conservatives on social media, who accused Granholm, a former Michigan governor, of being out of touch. Last year, Granholm sold millions of dollars in stock options from Proterra—a company that manufactures electric buses.
“If you drive an electric car, this would not be affecting you,” she said in May 2021 in reference to the elevated gas prices.
Several weeks ago, Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg touted electric vehicles to a House panel amid increasing gas prices and GOP concerns that motorists in rural areas won’t benefit from more federal spending on electric vehicles.
“It is actually rural drivers who would benefit the most,” Buttigieg said in May. “The more they drive, typically, the more of their income is going to gas, so the more money they are going to save if they can afford an electric vehicle, which allows them to fill up on electrons.”
Last year, Buttigieg drew criticism for telling families who are struggling with high gas prices to buy an electric vehicle, because if they do, they’ll “never have to worry about gas prices again.”
According to Kelly Blue Book’s late 2021 figures, the average price of a new electric vehicle hovered at roughly $56,000. In contrast, the average price of a new compact was about $25,000 at about the same time. The average price of a new, non-electric SUV was $34,000, while the electric version was nearly $45,000.
The 2022 Chevrolet Bolt EV starts at about $31,500, according to the website.
As of June 16, data from auto club AAA show that the average price for a gallon of regular gas fell by less than a penny to $5.009 across the United States. California, as usual, led the way with prices hitting $6.428, the figures show, while no other state had an average price of $6 per gallon.
President Joe Biden himself said in late May that the record gas prices will spur Americans to purchase electric vehicles. Earlier this year, Biden announced the release of 180 million barrels of oil from the U.S. Strategic Petroleum Reserve, which the White House said would cause gas prices to “come down fairly significantly.”
“[When] it comes to the gas prices, we’re going through an incredible transition that is taking place that, God willing, when it’s over, we’ll be stronger and the world will be stronger and less reliant on fossil fuels,” Biden said during a trip to Japan.