RIVERSIDE, Calif. (KABC) -- Skyrocketing gas prices have fueled an even greater demand for electric vehicles. Southern California dealers specializing in electric and hybrid cars say better fuel economy just isn't cutting it anymore.
At a Hyundai dealership in Riverside, zero-emission vehicle sales are taking off.
"People are scared of the pumps right now," Sales Manager Brian "Big B" Wilson said. "My electric cars, my hybrids and my plug-ins are selling like crazy,"
As fuel prices continue to soar to dizzying heights, more Americans aim to cut ties with their gas guzzling vehicles for good.
"I've always wanted to drive past a gas station without stopping and that is my goal," Norco resident Jerry Hydar said.
Hydar was at the Riverside dealership for a second day in a row to test drive the new 2022 Hyundia IONIQ 5 SE SUV. He is deciding between the IONIQ and another electric vehicle model.
According to data from the California Energy Commission, zero emission car sales in 2021 reached more than 124,000 in Southern California. That's almost 80% more than the average over the last three years.
Ivan Drury of Edmunds.com, an online car shopping resource, says there are a few things to consider if you are in the market for an EV.
"You want to know how far can you go, how often do you have to charge and can you charge at home," Drury said
Drury also explained the ongoing chip shortage and a disruption in the supply of parts from overseas has curtailed normal inventory, making finding an EV hard to come by in some places.
Still, its not stopping people from going the extra mile to ditch the pump for a plug-in.
"Folks are like, 'for the money I am going to spend, I need to get as much bang for my buck,'" Wilson said. "If you are planning to get a car and turn it over in two or three years, gas car would probably be a smarter way to go, but if you are going to keep your car, [an EV is] definitely the way to go."