AUSTIN (KXAN) - As gas prices go, so too go the frustrations of drivers who have learned to live with the burden of filling their cars with $3 gasoline.
But that does not mean they would not welcome some kind of alternative.
In Austin, electric cars are being given the opportunity to become that alternative in the future.
"On a couple of occasions, I have gone months without purchasing a drop of gasoline," said Chevy Volt owner Tom Smith.
It is an emerging technology Austin Energy is buying.
The electric utility received approximately $650,000 in grant money last year to purchase the Charge Point stations that power electric cars.
The area was one of nine in the country to receive the grant.
"You can go to a meeting and recharge your car or go to lunch or go shopping," said Smith.
Austin Energy has also paid nearly $100,000 in rebates for the almost 85 car owners who have installed the stations at home in an effort to encourage usage of the technology.
Indications are it is becoming more and more popular. Usage of the charge stations has nearly doubled just since December 2011.
But while the idea of beating the high price of gas sounds like a winner, powering vehicles with electricity comes with its own concerns.
"Imagine a neighborhood where electric cars were in every garage," said Carlos Cordova, a spokesperson for Austin Energy.
"We want to study the impact the cars will have on the electric grid."
Conservation is a lesson that is already heavily preached by energy companies everywhere and ERCOT is quick to ask Texans to turn off the lights during the high usage days in the hot summer.
So what does that mean for the budding transportation technology of the future?
"Maybe when an air conditioner cycles off, that is when the car charge comes on," said Cordova. "It is all a part of the research."
Right now, there is only so much research that can be done.
There are 211 electric car owners on record in the Austin area and a little more than 600 owners of electric bikes, scooters, or motorcycles.
"I will not plug in during the hottest afternoons," said Smith who estimates it takes his vehicle about three hours to charge using the same amount of energy as a dryer left running.
He often charges his car at home overnight.
"It takes about 10 kilowatt hours of electricity or a cost of about a dollar,"
With a full charge, Smith can travel nearly 40 miles before either using gas or stopping to charge again.
That is if he can find a charge station. And it is likely his chances will improve in the future.
"Austin Energy is now looking at if we should install them in more locations, for instance, at apartment complexes," said Cordova.
The Mueller Development is also part of a program to examine the effects electric cars would have on the energy grid.
And Smith thinks the more electric cars on the road, the more businesses that could be willing to play along.
"When I go to Dallas, which I do several times, I stay at hotels with charging stations."
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