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This is a tough time to pay at the pump for most people. Extreme prices have people struggling to afford to fill their vehicles and pay for other necessities. Kentucky gas prices have reached record highs, and record gas prices are also appearing around the United States. Electric vehicles and hybrids are one solution for buyers looking to avoid or reduce spending on fuel.

High gas prices cause drivers suffering

Gas prices at an Exon station exceeding $4 a gallon.
Gas station | Getty Images

The soaring price of gas is making drivers dig deep in their pockets to fill up their vehicles. “I’m traveling up north to take care of my mother up in Michigan. It’s a long haul,” driver Barry Bertollini told WKYT in Lexington, Kentucky. “And yeah, it’s hard when it’s this expensive.”

Rising gas prices have also been accompanied by rising prices in other sectors, including rent, groceries, and clothing. According to CNBC, inflation this spring has been around 8.3%. The cost of gas has led people to cut back on spending in other areas.

An economist source told CNBC that if gas prices keep going up to $5.50 or $6, then the U.S. should expect a recession. While drivers today are better positioned, with a strong job market and rising wages, to handle rising gas prices than in 2008, when consumers last saw a big jump, general inflation still makes these prices difficult.

Kentucky continues to set record-high gas prices

As of June 1, 2022, regular unleaded gas prices reached a new high for Lexington, for Kentucky, and for the U.S., reported WKYT. On that date, average gas prices peaked at $4.40 per gallon in Lexington and $4.42 in Kentucky. The average gas price nationally on June 1 was $4.67, according to AAA.

These records have since been broken. As of June 12, 2022, the national average gas price was $5.010, according to AAA. That’s up from $3.077 a year ago and a new record. In Kentucky, the June 12 price averaged $4.796, although counties in the eastern part of the state were as high as $5.008. The highest average price for Kentucky was set on June 11 at $4.798. Lexington set its current record on June 10 at $4.785. While prices are up in Kentucky, they are even higher in other states. California has the highest average gas price, with the current record of $6.434 on June 12.

Wgile gas prices are setting records, they are not as high as in 2008 once viewed on a wage-adjusted basis. To reach 2008 prices, gas prices would need to jump to $6.41, said CNBC. Current prices are expected to peak around $5.25, although JPMorgan analysts say it could stop at $6.20, reported CNBC.

EVs and hybrids are a way to combat gas expenses

One big difference between 2008 and now is that drivers have more fuel-efficient vehicles, including hybrid or electric vehicles (EVs). There will be more than 50 EV models available by the end of 2022, said NBC News. Drivers save on fuel and energy costs compared to gas-powered vehicles, but EVs often cost 10% to 15% more to purchase than gas models.

NBC News compared the Volkswagen ID.4 SUV with the Volkswagen Tiguan SUV. While the ID.4 has a starting price of about $40,000, it costs about $11 to fully charge the battery at about 14 cents per kilowatt. The Tiguan, which starts at around $26,000, costs about $38 to fill the tank with gas at $4 per gallon. The ID.4 gets about 250 miles per charge, and the Tiguan gets 26 mpg. Assuming the two SUVs drive 12,000 miles per year, it would cost about $550 to charge the ID.4 and about $1,900 to fuel the Tiguan.

There are additional costs between $500 and $700 to get an EV charger plus more to wire it into the house. However, public chargers can cost twice as much to use as charging at home. Gas-powered vehicles cost more in oil changes and engine servicing than electric vehicles. While EVs have higher insurance costs, many models are eligible for federal tax credits and some state ones too. Hybrids also help owners save on fuel costs, and many hybrid and EV owners can make up the price difference and enjoy a lower cost of ownership, when compared with a similar gas model, in just a few years.

After being hit with rising gas prices, drivers in the market for a new vehicle in Kentucky and other states may want to consider a hybrid or EV. Despite higher upfront costs, these vehicles will start saving owners money quickly. EV owners can skip those pricey pumps entirely.