Bay Area drivers react to California's phasing out of gas-powered vehicles

Bay Area drivers, offered mixed reaction on Thursday to a move by state regulators to begin phasing out gas-fueled vehicles by 2035.

"I think we should have done that 30 years ago," said Thibeaut, a long-time Tesla owner who was charging his car in Richmond.

"I wanted to see if I wanted to buy one," said another Tesla driver, Jordan Arel. "I am actually renting it through Uber, so I’m driving it for Uber as well, and yeah it’s been really good. It saves a lot of money because of the gas." 

But while electric vehicles may save on gas for the moment, EV's don’t come cheap. The average price of an EV this summer, according to Kelley Blue Book, is $66,000. 

Industry analysts say the high prices are largely being driven by the cost of batteries. Lithium, nickel, and cobalt, all key ingredients of EV batteries, currently come from outside of North America, which drives up their prices. But experts say that sourcing of the materials is expected to become more efficient.

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"We expect to get on another downward trajectory on battery prices through this next decade, which in turn should make EV’s significantly more affordable by the end of the decade," Sam Abuelsamid, an EV industry principal analyst at Guidehouse.

More competition in the EV market is also expected to bring down prices. Tesla currently leads the way, but legacy automakers, including Volkswagen and GM, are beginning to chip away at their market share.

"I would consider anything that’s electric and anything that performs well, so looking at Chevy, Rivien," said Thibeaut.

Still, not all drivers say they are ready to make the change. 

Mike Cole, who was filling up in Richmond, says he’ll likely stick with a used gas powered car as long as he can, because it allows him to do his own repairs and save money.

"I’d rather work on it myself than have somebody else do it. At least I can get mad at myself and not them," said driver, Mike Cole.

"The people I see on a regular basis, most of my customers are in no danger of going out and buying an electric car," said Aidin Amiri, who owns a gas station in Richmond. "They’re not going out and buying any new cars. They’re doing the best they can to survive."

Overall, industry analysts say many gas stations are expected to make EV charging stations part of their business over the next decade.