The Nissan Leaf is available in two versions, Leaf and the extended-range Leaf S Plus. (Photo courtesy: Nissan).

By Brittany Anas

The last time gas prices spiked in 2008, consumers were looking to trade in their gas-guzzling SUVs and switch to more efficient gas-fueled cars. But now as fuel prices are flirting with $5 a gallon, consumers have an even savvier option: Trading in their existing cars (there’s a huge demand for used vehicles right now) and making the switch to an electric vehicle, taking advantage of tax credits. In fact, Ed Olsen, general manager at Boulder Nissan, has been receiving a flurry of calls from those who are “feeling the pinch of gas prices,” which has piqued their interest in buying EVs.

Even before the recent fuel price surge, a 2021 Consumer Reports report revealed that the typical EV owner who does most of their fueling at home can expect to save an average of $800 to $1,000 a year on fueling costs over an equivalent gasoline-powered car. But models like the Nissan Leaf are all-electric, meaning its motor doesn’t require any gas at all and it gets all the energy it needs to drive from a lithium-ion battery mounted along the floor of the car, which can help consumers save big bucks by avoiding the pump.

While some may balk at the higher upfront purchase cost of electric vehicles, there are plenty of lower-cost models than, say, the Tesla, and multiple credits and rebates are available that can bring down the overall price of an EV.

Without credits, for example, the starting price of the Nissan Leaf – which is the automaker’s compact electric vehicle –is $28,895. But the price comes down significantly when you factor in a $7,500 federal credit, $2,500 state credit, and $1,000 Xcel customer credit, Olsen explains.

Due to the ongoing shortage of chips that’s affecting car inventory shortage, the dealership has a demo Leaf model that consumers can test drive. Those who are interested in purchasing one of the vehicles can put down a $1,000 non-refundable deposit. Boulder Nissan is selling about 40 Leafs a month.

Many of the employees at Boulder Nissan are Leaf owners, which allows them to answer customer questions by drawing from their own first-hand experiences. The car has some unique features, including instant acceleration and an e-pedal that allows the driver to launch, accelerate, decelerate, and stop the vehicle by using only the accelerator pedal – something that makes mountain driving a breeze.

“It’s a fun car to drive,” Olsen says. “People are loving them.”

The Nissan Leaf, 40 kWh battery, has a 149 mile EPA range and the Nissan Leaf S Plus, which has a 62 kWH battery, has a 226 mile EPA range.

Next up, Nissan will be debuting the ARIYA electric crossover SUV, which Olsen expects will be the all-wheel drive vehicle will be a big hit in the Boulder county market. Some models are expected to get up to an extended range of 300 miles. The ARIYA models are expected to show up to the dealer in September 2022, and so far Boulder Nissan has more than 80 reservations for the vehicle and is expecting a model of the vehicle at the dealership this summer.

Boulder Nissan, 2285 28th St., Boulder, 303.443.8110,