Push for electric car accessibility renewed after pipeline shutdown

Local News

ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — While many of us are looking forward to a vacation, that a road trip is getting more expensive as gas prices rise. The recent shutdown of an east coast pipeline, which has since reopened, triggered fears of a fuel shortage.

Some hope those fears will become a relic of the past as more drivers turn to electric vehicles. One woman we talked to says a lack of places to plug in convinced her to pass on an electric vehicle.

Local leaders say there are plans in motion to address some of her concerns.

“I recently bought a new car, and I was considering hybrid cars, but not a full electric,” said Kirsten Hedrick.

As gas prices continue to rise across the state, one local driver says she would be happy to make the move to an electric vehicle. For right now, she doesn’t think it’s a realistic option.

“I think if we had more infrastructure for electric cars, and they were offered at a more reasonable price point, I think myself and others would be more interested in getting an electric car,” said Hedrick.

“I only know of a couple charging stations. There’s one at the mall, and I don’t know of any other ones in the area,” she added.

Soon, the Stateline could take a step towards becoming more e-vehicle friendly. The Illinois Department of Transportation says later this summer new signs alerting drivers to nearby charging stations will be added along several interstates including I-90 and I-39.

“It’s just starting. Nationwide, and in our state, you’re seeing the earliest indications that these vehicles are coming,” said Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL).

Local leaders want to have 750k electric vehicles on the road by 2030. Sen. Durbin says this is a good early step towards reaching that goal. He believes local governments should also work to improve amenities for electric drivers.

“You’re going to start to see this growing, and opportunities coming along with it, and different communities are going to be able to tap into it. I think Rockford’s got a great opportunity here- it’s got a reputation in the aerospace industry for taking on some challenging issues, and I think it will be the same when it comes to electric vehicles.”

Rockford’s Region 1 planning council recently completed an electric vehicle readiness plan for the region. It will help city leaders determine which areas will most need charging stations over the next few years.

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