the hesitation on plugging in that car.

Electric cars are the next big step in alternative fuel vehicles, behind hybrids. And there are tax rebates of up to $7,500 for people who purchase an electric vehicle. But is it enough to get them sold?

A recent article from USA Today discusses how US drivers are being slow to embrace electric vehicles. Most are afraid to be stranded somewhere without a charging station. And that's a legitimate concern. Charging stations aren't super common yet, and it's one of the first things I researched when I began looking at all the information on electric vehicles. What's the point of buying one if you can't charge it? Of course, I found that you can charge your vehicle at home, which eliminates a lot of worry for simple in-town driving.

However, just this week, news came that two electric vehicle charging companies are merging to create the largest American charging network, and bring stations to most shopping malls in the country.  

Nissan Leaf sales dropped 65% from June 2011 to June 2012. While sales for the Chevy Volt aren't high, they have tripled in the first half of 2012, from the first half of 2011.

And the US Department of Energy Secretary Steven Chu says that the US must make affordable electric cars. Another USA Today article states that "even the mass-market Nissan Leaf at $36,050 (not counting the $7,500 tax credit) has a payback period of seven years at $4 a gallon, according to The DOE estimates the extra cost of a Toyota Prius hybrid over a Camry is recouped in two years; a Ford Fusion hybrid needs 2.4 years to recoup."

Electric vehicles just can't compete with the lower cost of hybrids. Secretary Chu says that reducing the cost of batteries for the vehicles is the key, and the goal would be to reduce vehicle costs so there will be options between $20,000 and $30,000.

When I began doing this research, I was inspired by the electric vehicles and imagined (okay...still imagining) myself driving one in the next year or two. But the prices that stared back at me made me more hesitant. As much as I would fit driving an electric vehicle, I simply cannot afford a $40,000 car, even with a $7,500 tax break.

But again, these cars are still very new, and once even more research is done and technology is developed, they will become easier to produce, and the cost should come down. Just how long will it take? I will still dearly hold on to my current car, and I'd still love my next one to be electric. I just hope it can happen that way.

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