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ASBURY PARK, N.J. — A wave of new electric vehicle charging stations across the country is coming as interest in alternatives to gasoline-powered vehicles is on the rise, though most of the plans were in the works before recent gasoline price spikes.
From coast to coast, cities big and small are adding charging stations for electric vehicles.
Strong demand is forecast for the vehicles, despite their higher prices and limited availability, meaning even more communities will feel pressure to add charging stations or risk having motorists pass them by in favor of plug-in-friendly places.
The charging stations aim to help drivers switch to electric vehicles from gasoline-powered ones, and public funding began several years ago before the current spike in gas prices.
But the investments come as gasoline prices in most of the country are above $4 a gallon and significantly more in some spots.
On March 21, New Jersey officials awarded $1 million in grants to install electric vehicle charging stations in 24 tourist areas around the state. The idea was to help spur tourism by reassuring visitors who own electric vehicles that they can come to a vacation spot in New Jersey and not run out of power to get back home.
Fiordaliso (left) and Asbury Park Mayor John Moor speak in front of a new electric vehicle charging station. (Wayne Parry/Associated Press)
“Don’t worry about it,” said Joseph Fiordaliso, president of the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities. “We have the equipment here so that you don’t have to have range anxiety.”
Spots getting money for new charging stations include Asbury Park, Atlantic City, Ocean City and several state parks and forests.
The money comes from the state budget. On March 22, NJ Transit, the state’s public transportation agency, will unveil electric charging stations at a bus depot in Camden, outside Philadelphia.
There are now about 625 vehicle charging stations in New Jersey.
On the federal side, the city of Hoboken, just outside New York City, is getting up to six new charging stations in a deal also announced March 21. Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) said the money from a federal spending bill “will help ease our transition to electric vehicles, reduce emissions and create a cleaner environment for our children.”
Governments across the country are doing likewise. Bellingham, Wash., will add 90 charging stations over the next two years. Portland, Maine, recently entered into a 10-year agreement with a company that will install, operate and maintain more than 40 electric vehicle charging stations on publicly owned property.
Charleston, W.Va., just added two charging stations at a public parking garage. Charlotte, N.C., Cleveland and Saginaw, Mich., are among cities adding charging stations.
It’s happening in other countries, too. Glasgow, Scotland, is adding 164 new stations this year.
Almost half a million electric vehicles were sold in the U.S. last year, according to Kelly Blue Book.
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