BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Soaring gas prices take a bigger bite out of our budgets every day, but imagine never having to buy gas again.  Meet a man who cut his ties to gas with a cutting-edge car.

Derek Valcourt has more on the high-tech race to get off gas.

Skyrocketing fuel prices are evidence of the energy crisis drivers see every time they fill up.

“Ridiculous,” said one.

“It kills my budget,” said one driver.

“I think we’ll hit five dollars by the end of summer,” said another.

Americans burn twice as much oil as we produce, stuck importing nearly $12 million barrels each and every day.  The president’s solution?

“A decade from now, we will have cut that by one-third,” said President Barack Obama.

That’s exactly the same thing the last eight presidents promised, but none succeeded.  Now, thanks to breakthroughs in new technology, more people believe it’s possible to put electric cars on the road.

Chris Cook is already oil-free.  He’s driving an all-electric car, the Tesla Roadster.

It’s been months since he went to a gas station.

Manufacturers hope to have as many as a million electric cars on U.S. roads by the year 2015.  Vehicles like the new all-electric Nissan Leaf and the new electric hybrid Chevy Volt are already in hot demand, with thousands on long waiting lists to get them later this year.

Cook is way ahead of the curve.  He’s been all-electric for two years.

“If we open it up here, you’ll see it’s a funny looking three-pronged plug instead of a hole for where you put your fuel,” Cook said.

Add up the charging costs on Cook’s electricity bill and he’s paying the gasoline equivalent of about 70 cents per gallon.  And at just shy of 4,000 miles, he’s already saved 147 gallons of gas, or 7.7 barrels of oil.  At $4 a gallon, that’s close to $600.

“This car has a high smugness factor, so when you’re driving down the highway on just electricity and batteries, you can really feel smug about yourself,” Cook said.

More than two-thirds of the oil we use goes into transportation: trucks, planes and, of course, millions upon millions of gas-guzzling cars.  Energy experts believe those numbers can come down.

“The goal of reducing our foreign dependence is realistic and electric vehicles, I think, will be a big part of that solution,” said Malcolm Woolf, Maryland Energy Administration director.

“I drive by the gas stations and just feel sorry for the people there having to line up at the pump,” Cook said.

As gas prices soar, new surveys show 85 percent of Americans are willing to consider an electric car as the best road to less foreign oil.

Maryland is one of several states leading the push to drive electric, passing several tax incentives and installing the second highest number of electric car charging stations in the country.

Comments (20)
  1. Tony says:

    This car definitely has a smugness factor, at 100 grand of course it feels good to go by the pumps using no gas, most people still wouldnt have any money in their pockets. This is a great idea, to avoid 5 dollar gas we’ll all just whip out 100 grand on this tiny little car and take a road trip… Sorry, this aint a great solution…

    1. Seare says:

      The NIssan Leaf is all electric and its around 30 grand. Once more people buy them, the price will come down.

  2. aDCBeast says:

    Tony .. pull your head out of you $ss

    they wouldn’t cost 100k if more people bought them

  3. williejoe says:

    Even at fifty grand it’s a stretch & when you recharge the batteries, where do you think that electricty com,es from other than a coal or oil burning plant that consumes millions of barrels of oil daily. Nah, I don’t think so.

    1. Seare says:

      The NIssan Leaf is all electric and its around 30 grand. Once more people buy them, the price will come down. My house uses natural gas, something the US produces a lot off. MD also offers huge incentives to convert your house to geothermal power.

      1. williejoe says:

        When the price get’s to around 15k, come talk to me & only then when there is a viable solution to buying these Batteries that can run around 4k & last 100k mi. There are way to many roadblocks yet to convince me that this is the way. What about clean burning diesel cars like they have in Europe that get the equivalent of 60mpg vs our 35mpg & with little to no maintenance? This could be a good stop gap but the f…….k government has resisted. The Europeans have it all over our miserable a$$es when it comes to transportation.

  4. Steve says:

    Looking at the Tesla company, they also have a four door vehicle that costs around $50,000.00. Great spec’s on it, 300 miles to a charge, 0-60 in 5.6 seconds, nice design and options.

    aDC, Of course they wouldn’t cost 100k if more people bought them. Unfortunately, not many folks have the ability of financing 100k for a car. The general cost of the vehicle would still not reduce by such a staggering amount should more folks buy them. At best a reduction of a few thousand off the inital price, still making it unaffordable for the general consumer. Tony is correct, this is not a great solution, and seems to be a bit of a rich man’s toy.
    The other option from tesla, accounting for the reduction in ownership costs because of not needing to hit the gas station every few days, this would be roughly the equivelant of buying a 30,000.00 vehicle on a person’s budget. At 4.00 a gallon, the average cost of vehicle ownership increases by roughly 5-6% depending on the fuel efficiency of your vehicle. So there would be some balance to owning one.

    1. williejoe says:

      300 miles to a charge sucks. Can’t go anywhere but maybe the 7-eleven or mall. That blows.

      1. A says:

        300 miles to a charge is reasonable. my car has a 13 gallon tank and at 30 mpg i get over 300 miles to a tank. whats wrong with commuting from home/work/ store on a 300 mile charge?

      2. indago says:

        300 miles to a charge is the equivalent of a full tank of gas driving until empty.

  5. deltasweetiepi says:

    Well technology brings us to a point where you are either on board or you get rolled over one way or another.

  6. MD-Realist says:

    An all-electric vehicle has it’s niche, which at the moment is limited to commuting. This is do to the limitations of an electric charge and the lack of public charging stations. Beside the upfront expense of the car, you also have to have a dedicated outlet at your home to charge the vehicle. Like the earlier comment states, electricity comes at a price…coal and/or oil being burned to create it. It’s a not a win-win just a alternative. Plus, what about disposal of these batteries in the future…they have a limited life expectancy and eventually need to be replaced.

  7. tiedyelime says:

    “At $4 a gaoon, that’s close to $600.”

    Is a gaoon more or less than a gallon

  8. C.E. says:

    You big oil lackeys can fuss all you want but the inevitable is rapidly approaching. We’ve all been told for more than 10 years now that the curves for supply and demand (as calculated with existing sources as well as anticipated new sources), are becoming quite foreboding. The oil companies will tell you that there’s plenty of oil and to some extent they’re telling you the truth however, they’re not telling you the whole truth. The truth is that we’re now entering the falling edge of curves calculated on the known reserves, curves that even include anticipated new sources. Increasing demand wasn’t so much of a problem while we were continuing to find new sources but those are drying up quick and now with China and other emerging economies the demand has begun to skyrocket. Just how much longer do you think whats left will last? Even if we make major new discoveries the ever increasing demand will quickly gobble it up. Like it or not there is only one real solution. An all electric economy based upon nuclear power using new ultra efficient, low waist, French reactor technology. Electric has been a viable solution for many years but up against cheap oil it was never considered practical. The technology is older than gasoline (Thomas Edison built and promoted electric cars over 100 years ago). Modern 3-phase inductively coupled Electric motors convert the energy in their gas tanks (i.e. batteries), to mechanical torque at over 95% efficiency. Gasoline or Internal combustion engines, are lucky to achieve 25-30% at best. Electrics are clean and produce no by products when getting their electricity from green sources (wind, solar, hydro-electric, etc…). Electrics require near zero maintenance, no oil or oil filters to change, no antifreeze to change, no water pumps to replace, no fuel filters or fuel pumps to replace, no spark plugs, no ignition wires, never a need for a valve job, no valves to burn out, no head gaskets to blow, no manifold gaskets to wear out, no exhaust pipes to replace, no belts or pulleys to replace, no air filters to clog, no fuel injectors to clean or replace, no tune-ups required, no starter motors to wear out, no alternator bushings to wear out, no connecting rod bearings, crankshaft main bearings, or piston wrist pins to wear out, no pistons or piston rings to replace, no cam shaft drive belts to replace every 60K miles, no transmissions are necessary with electric drive (electric motors develop near constant torque and don’t require transmissions), no noise, no pollution, no anxiety related to automotive maintenance and upkeep.

    1. DB says:

      WInd, Solar, and Hyrdo are green?

  9. Mark Culpepper says:

    That Cook guy sure is smug…

  10. Ed Payne says:

    The real question is what is producing all of the extra electricity. Already the systems are overloaded, places like California and other states on the west coast go through rolling brown outs. Most of the electricity is generated by coal, but alot is also generated by oil. So the real question is, if we all go to an electric car, will the oil we don’t use for gasoline be needed to burn in power plants to generate the needed juice?

    1. Turd Ferguson says:

      Finally! Somebody else with common sense. If the government really wanted to go green, every house and car would have solar panels.

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