NEW PORT RICHEY — Thousands of people across the country have chosen to skip the gas station and power up their cars, literally, with electricity instead.
National Drive Electric Week was celebrated Sept. 8-16 in over 250 events across America, with one being held in Downtown New Port Richey.
On Sept. 8, an Electric Tailgate Party was held in the city’s Gloria Swanson Parking Lot, across from Sims Park.
About 40 electric vehicles, owned by locals, were parked in the lot, allowing both current and future electric car owners to discuss the benefits of plugging in vehicles instead of pumping them up with gas. Even electric golf carts joined the party.
The idea came from Mayor Rob Marlowe, who has been driving his son’s plug-in Toyota Prius hybrid for two years while he is on deployment in Japan.
“I wanted people to see what was available with electric vehicles, I knew that we had quite a few electric vehicles owners in West Pasco,” said Marlowe. “It would just be something new and different to try out.”
Electric and plug-in hybrid cars were both present at the event. While electric cars use solely electric power, hybrids still use power from a conventional gasoline engine as well as electric outlets.
Marlowe, who has been in the tech industry for more than 30 years and these days is chief financial officer of Gulf Coast Networking, said that in the two years that he has been driving the hybrid, he rarely uses the gasoline engine.
“I’ve gone as many as two months without going to a gas station,” he proudly said.
Chevrolet, Honda, Nissan and Chrysler brought out their electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles to display and RVC had multiple used electric cars that people can take for test-drives.
The cost of the displayed cars starts at $8,000 and can go up to $45,000.
“These are all cars that are very affordable, and they give people an opportunity to save an enormous amount on gasoline. Running electricity works, in round numbers, about a dollar a gallon. You can’t buy gasoline for a dollar a gallon,” said Marlowe.
Matthew Shields drove his all-electric 2017 Chevy Bolt to the tailgate party. His favorite part about driving electric is how easy it is to take care of e-vehicles.
“I love the lack of maintenance,” Shields said. “There are never any oil changes or transmission flushes.”
On a full charge, his car can go about 240 miles.
“Overall, it’s been a great experience,” he said. “Road trips are fairly easy in it.”
Shields confidently said he would never go back to a gasoline-fueled vehicle.
KC Quaretti, the city’s marketing and community outreach coordinator, liked how the event served as a meet-up for like-minded people that had the same opinions about gas versus electric vehicles.
New Port Richey has multiple stations for electric and hybrids cars to charge up, including Morton Plant North Bay Hospital, the Quality Inn and the New Port Richey Recreation and Aquatic Center.