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As world events continue to impact the supply chain and create inflationary pressures on consumer goods, it’s leading many to rethink their spending habits. In fact, a new Leger poll suggests Canadians are looking for ways to cut back on spending as concerns rise about the cost-of-living rise alongside an increase in inflation and rising interest rates to combat it.

Not surprisingly, with gasoline prices hovering in the $2/litre mark, the cost of vehicle ownership is one expense consumers are closely looking at, and for many it’s led to increased interest in the purchase of clean energy vehicles as a less expensive alternative and a way to save on fuel costs, while also helping the environment. The Leger survey suggest almost one-third of those polled say they are looking at buying an electric vehicle (EV).

Over the past two years, interest in EV’s has been strong regardless of price at the pump, so it may be some time before we see whether there is a direct correlation between prices and people buying EVs beyond those who were heading down that purchasing path anyway.

The current situation may lead to increased use of public transit, biking or ride sharing, but for many people, the fact is that they need a vehicle to commute to and from work, or to move their children around for day-to-day activities. And while the purchase of a new electric or hybrid vehicle may seem like a pricey undertaking, in the long run, it will end up costing drivers less.

In BC, we are fortunate that government understands and supports rebates both for EVs and for charging stations. I recently had the opportunity to speak to dealer association executives from across North America about the roadmap to success that has positioned British Columbia as a leader in EV sales.

That’s not to suggest there aren’t challenges because there are, namely the shortage in semiconductors which is having a big impact on the manufacturing of new vehicles. In the current environment, consumers may have an extended waiting period or settle for something other than their preferred choice of vehicle features. But we also encourage consumers to do research. While some of the more popular models are hard to find, there are models available. Travelling a little further may also be required. A great source of information is your local new car dealer who is best positioned, given their network across the country, to help source a new or previously owned vehicle.

Buying a new car is an exciting time, but it’s important to recognize that the current situation is largely out of the control of dealers and customers – so collective patience will be required as we enter this spring season until we return to some level of normal.

Blair Qualey is President and CEO of the New Car Dealers Association of BC. You can email him at bqualey@newcardealers.ca