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Carmakers, White House aim to spark interest in electric vehicles

Washington — Automakers and the Obama administration are still working to prod Americans to give electric vehicles a chance as efforts are made to improve the nation’s charging infrastructure and consumer perceptions.

At the Electric Drive Transportation Association annual conference here Tuesday, automakers touted efforts to improve charging times, and the U.S. Department of Energy unveiled a Web tool to help consumers see the cost differences between electric and gas-powered vehicles.

The department said eGallon offers “a quick and simple way” for consumers to compare the costs of driving each.

Today’s national average eGallon price is about $1.14, meaning that a typical electric vehicle could travel as far on $1.14 worth of electricity as a similar vehicle could travel on a gallon of gasoline, the department said. In Michigan, the eGallon price is $1.39 compared to $3.84 a gallon for gasoline.

“Consumers can see gasoline prices posted at the corner gas station, but are left in the dark on the cost of fueling an electric vehicle. The eGallon will bring greater transparency to vehicle operating costs, and help drivers figure out how much they might save on fuel by choosing an electric vehicle. It also shows the low and steady price of fueling with electricity,” said Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz. “Not only can electric vehicles save consumers on fuel and reduce our dependence on oil, they also represent an opportunity for America to lead in a growing, global manufacturing industry.”

General Motors Co. praised the effort.

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