Incentives for purchase of electric vehicles may lead to an increase in sales


With a recent increase in gas prices and environmental awareness, more people are looking toward fuel-efficient and alternative fuel vehicles.  To perhaps make that choice even easier, the Northern Indiana Public Service Company (NIPSCO) has developed a plan to provide incentives for those who buy electric vehicles. The company will provide $1,650 to 250 residential customers for installing 240-volt charging stations, and give those who install the stations free power for their cars for three years between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. These combined factors, according to business teacher Rob Holman, may lead to an increase in the purchase of alternative-fuel vehicles for students.

Mason Yao, Environmental Club  president and senior, said via email that gas prices and environmental causes were factors that affected his desire to want to buy a fully electric car.

“When I have enough money, I plan on buying an electric car,” Yao said. “But I am not planning on getting one as a student.”

Holman, however, said electric cars are an option for students who are able to purchase them and that the cars would be beneficial.

“I think it all comes down to price because people consider these kinds of cars for the price, but we have to see how affordable these cars are,” he said. “The more of these cars are available, the more the prices will go down. Students will choose these cars in order to save money on gasoline and help the environment.”

Yao said he agreed with Holman, that one of the reasons he wants to purchase an electric vehicle is because of gas prices. Along with this reason, he said that cars’ effects on the environment also affected his desire to purchase this type of car, and the incentives offered by NIPSCO do not hurt.

“In general, buying an electric car would probably help by promoting green consciousness and you can’t put a price on helping the environment, so buying an electric car seems like a good decision. The incentives for buying such vehicles definitely make it more enticing,” Yao said.

Holman agreed incentives for buying electric vehicles would increase sales.

“Electric cars are going to be more approachable with these incentives, and it’s going to be an attractive option if gas prices stay the way they are,” he said. “Whether its tax breaks or other things, incentives like these push people to make decisions. These incentives in general push people to do things that are better for the environment and conserve resources.”

Although he said the incentives are important factors in increasing sales of electric vehicles, Holman said gas prices are a factor.

“For students, it’s more important to save money on gas, and (electric cars) are cheaper to operate than other vehicles,” Holman said. “If you look at the numbers, in recent years bicycle sales have increased as people look at cheaper ways for transportation. I myself can remember when gas prices first hit a dollar. Back then it caused people to start carpooling more. You start seeing that now with kids looking at how much they put in their tanks. Kids are starting to carpool with one another and try to save money in various ways.”

Yao said he agrees with Holman but said he also said students would not be able to afford such vehicles.

“When you are a student, cheaper is better when it comes to cars. It’s hard to balance work and studying while you’re trying to buy a car. I myself will not buy (an electric car) as a student, but I’m going to get a job and money to buy one in the future,” Yao said.

Although Holman said he thinks the incentives may be helpful, he also said the purchase trends of electric cars may be uncertain.

“You have to weigh the cost of the car with how much you are going to save on gas,” he said. “Over time the cars may even become more expensive, and we have to see if the gas prices will stay high. It all depends on the change of the gas price. In the end students will buy these cars if they think that they will save money.”