With gas prices shooting up, resorting to public transit was a no-brainer for Ben Lawson.
He's been driving to school and work for six years, but he recently started taking the train to work.
With the price of gas running at $1.95 per litre this week, filling up the tank of his Honda Civic would cost him about $400 per month — more than double the price of a monthly train pass, he says.
"I just couldn't justify doubling my transit," said Lawson, who lives near the Vaudreuil train station and works close to the Vendôme Metro station.
"I'm lucky enough that this isn't going to seriously impact my finances. I have this option, and I'm seriously concerned for people who don't."
Since the price of gasoline reached record highs in Canada, more Quebecers are changing their driving habits or giving up on using their car altogether.
Lise Chartrand lives on the outskirts of the town of Gaspé, in eastern Quebec, where a regular litre of gas sells for $1.98 this week. She says she was already trying to limit her driving because of her carbon footprint. The high cost of gas has forced her to think twice about how often she'll use her car.
"People like to go to the mountains in the Chic-Chocs to ski … [or] just to have a nice drive to see the mountains," she said. "But this is something that my friend and I haven't done yet because of the prices that all the time go up."
"We have a feeling that it will go higher in a few days and in a few weeks, so we're very careful with this."
Electric cars are out of stock
Simon Rioux, president and founder of the Quebec Electric Vehicle Association, says these days getting your hands on an electric car is "pretty much impossible."
"Unfortunately, there are a lot of waiting lists right now," he said. "All the cars that are being sent to dealerships right now are already pre-sold."
Interest in electric cars has doubled since last year, he says.
"People are calling us, sending us emails trying to figure out what's going on, where they can buy the cars," he said. "We were already aware that [if] gas prices go up, interest goes up. Gas prices go down, people's interest goes down. But people need to look at the long term."
Financial incentives of up to $13,000 for the purchase of a new fully electric vehicle, Rioux says, are another reason to make a deposit on an electric car, even if you face a long wait to get it. Quebec is set to ban the sale of new gas-powered vehicles by 2035.
Rioux advises anyone on the hunt for an electric vehicle to consider buying a higher-end model of the vehicle they're looking for, and visit dealerships off-island to increase the chance of tracking down the vehicle they want.
"If you shop around, you might find something in Sept-Îles or Trois-Rivières," he said. Montreal would normally have a big selection of cars for sale, he said, but these days, the dealerships in the city aren't able to keep up with demand.
As for Ben Lawson, until he can trade in the Honda Civic for an electric car, he says he'll stick to enjoying podcasts during his train commute from Vaudreuil to Notre-Dame-de-Grâce.
"I don't feel confident buying a gas-powered vehicle going forward."
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