You are using an outdated browser.
Please upgrade your browser
and improve your visit to our site.
Skip Navigation

Electric Cars Have Arrived! ...sort Of.

Why wait for the Chevy Volt? Some drivers, sick of high gas prices, are flocking to an electric car model already on the market:

Under pressure from rising fuel prices, towns across the United States are passing bylaws to permit the use of golf carts on their streets as an alternative to cars...

"You can definitely save on gas - my cart's electric, but even the ones that run on gas hardly use any of it," said Paul Heideman, mayor of Ashkum, a town in rural Illinois.

Numerous other towns in Illinois, Indiana and North Carolina have implemented similar regulations or are considering them. And in several places where the carts are an increasingly common sight, another benefit is becoming clear: with no windows or doors to separate drivers from each other, or from pedestrians, the texture of daily life is changing. "It leads to a friendlier atmosphere," Heideman said.

Sure, most carts top out at about 20 mph, and you can't exactly commute on the freeway, but for most short trips, why not? (Well, the other downsides are that the carts can cost $2,000 if you don't already own one and could easily get squashed by the average SUV.)

--Bradford Plumer