By GREG BISHOP
THE CENTER SQUARE
(The Center Square) – With the pain at the pump ongoing and no sign of it subsiding, some say the governor’s suggestion that more people buy electric vehicles is “tone deaf.”
Amid ongoing record inflation and record gas prices, Gov. J.B. Pritzker saw a silver lining this week.
“It might be that people will more likely choose when they’re going to buy a new car to go to electric, because it’s much, much less expensive over the long haul of ownership,” Gov. Pritzker said.
He wants Illinois to be a leader in electric vehicle production.
State Sen. Neil Anderson, R-Andalusia, said the governor is out of touch with what’s happening on the ground.
“Tone deaf is not a strong enough word for that statement,” Sen. Anderson said. “The single parent that has a 10, 20-year-old vehicle, that’s trying to scrape money together to get to work, talking about them buying, on the low end, a $60,000 electric vehicle is ridiculous.”
Kevin Johnson, owner of Johnson and Johnson Auto Service Center in Springfield, said people are already trying to repair older vehicles to make them last as long as possible as inflation continues to impact personal finances.
Increased EVs will mean increased costs for independent mechanics to get the tools and necessary training, something Mr. Johnson said will further increase costs on consumers.
“Some of those tuitions for that could be a couple thousand dollars for each employee,” Mr. Johnson told The Center Square. “That’s something out of my pocket that I have to pass on to the consumer to train these guys.”
For the building trades, Dean Graven with the Home Builders Association of Illinois said fuel is needed for everything from drying drywall to transporting and stacking trusses. He said going electric is unrealistic.
“We don’t have eclectic inloaders, we don’t have electric cranes, we don’t have those,” Mr. Graven told The Center Square. “The technology may be here in 50 years. It’s not here now so it’s just not something that’s going to be solved very quickly.”
According to AAA, gas prices across Illinois Friday ranged from $4.12 in White County near Indiana and Kentucky to $4.73 in Cook County. The average price of diesel in Illinois is $4.95.
A year ago, the average for regular gas in Illinois was $2.98. For diesel last year, the average was $3.08.