(NEW YORK) -- While oil and gas prices have been pushed higher by unrest in the Middle East, consumers have not yet run to the newest electric vehicles on the market. President Obama has said he hopes to have a million electric vehicles on the road by 2015, in part to decrease American dependency on foreign oil.
An electric vehicle can allow consumers to purchase less gas and decrease our dependency on oil, but the cost savings vary both by consumer and by car.
Because both electric and hybrid vehicles are more expensive than most other vehicles, they may not give you any savings over a conventional car, said Eric Evarts, associate autos editor with Consumer Reports.
The Chevrolet Volt and Nissan LEAF, both released in December, are the most recent additions to the mainstream electric car market. Both have gasoline engines, but only to supplement their electric motors. Drivers plug them in to recharge their batteries while they're parked.
The Chevy Volt car has a base price of $40,280, while the Nissan LEAF can cost from $32,780 to $33,720, according to ConsumerReports.org. Chevrolet's website touts a $32,780 price after a maximum $7,500 federal tax credit. Similarly, Nissan says you'll pay $25,280 after those tax savings.
"They're not going to save money buying these cars," Evarts said about drivers who may purchase these two latest electric vehicles. "With gas and electricity expenses as they are, you're not going to pay them off any time soon."
General Motors, parent company of Chevrolet, announced this week that it sold just 281 Volt cars in February, down from 321 in January. Nissan sold 67 LEAF cars in February, down from 87 in January. In December, Nissan sold 19 LEAF vehicles while GM sold 326 Volts.
Evarts said one reason these electric cars are not flying out of showrooms just yet is that there are less expensive cars, similar in size to the Volt and LEAF, that have good fuel efficiency. He points to the Toyota Prius, a hybrid vehicle, as a possible fit for drivers with longer commutes.
"The Prius has more cargo, is likely more reliable with better mileage than the Volt on gas," said Everts, "and it costs half as much."
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