Rising gas prices cause drivers to move to electric cars

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MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- If it feels like you're paying a lot more for gas this week, you're not wrong. Triple A reports the price at Wisconsin pumps has risen over ten cents a gallon just in the last week. The rising cost of fuel is leading more drivers to look at electric cars.

Chris Leberfing is shopping at this West Allis BMW, looking to lease an electric car.

"It's exciting. We love the car," said Chris Leberfing who drives an electric car.

Leberfing and his wife are trading in this one. It is also fully electric.

"She hasn't been at a gas station in three years, nine years (laughs)" said Leberfing.

"About half of our customers that are just walking into the showroom without doing too much research are asking to see the electric vehicles," said Jake Unora, International BMW Salesman.

Jake Unora let us test drive the IX. He says BMW all-electrics can get up to 300 miles on a fully charged battery. That is cutting down on range anxiety, and this is too.

"A lot of convenience stores are starting to add charging stations. Big brands like Meijer are putting them in their parking lots," said Unora.

Charging stations are found in the Milwaukee area, but they are more common in Madison and Chicago.

"The ride has gotten smoother, but really you can just go further than you ever used to be able to," said Leberfing.

Gas prices have gone up a lot in the last seven days all over.

"So gas prices around the country have gone up about 10 cents in the last week. In the Milwaukee market they've gone up about 17 cents," said Nick Jarmusz, AAA Director of Public Affairs.

Triple A says there is a reason for it.

"Typically we see demand start to go up at this time of year and then we also see a transition, in certain markets a summer blend that's required by the EPA that burns cleaner and doesn't produce as much ozone," said Jarmusz.

Triple A says if you're trying to save on gas, don't be so heavy on the brake. Try to coast into the stop lights.

"Simply by slowing down and driving more smoothly and less aggressively you can increase your vehicle's fuel efficiency by 25 to 35 percent," said Jarmusz.

For anyone interested in electric vehicles, or even hybrids, officials say more charging stations are on the way. Right now, in New Jersey, a federal grant is helping that state install more. Drivers can use the Greenspot App to find charging stations.

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