High gas prices have electric cars catching on with Americans. A new study taking place in Mississippi could mean an expanded role of green transportation in the state.

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Mississippi Universities and Entergy Looking to Expand Electric Car Usage

By Daniel Cherry | Published 10 Oct 2011 07:04pm | comments

Mississippi is making moves to adapt to big changes when it comes to transportation. MPB's Daniel Cherry reports how the first charging stations for electric cars are being installed in the state.

Electric cars are growing in popularity across the nation, and Mississippi is getting on board. Entergy Mississippi is installing 3 charging stations as part of a research project to learn more about the technology. Napoleon Johnson is the Vice President of Customer Operations for Entergy. He's at Jackson State University for the unveiling of the first station and says they're trying to get ahead of a changing market.

"Think about 5 or 10 years ago there were a select few who carried cell phones, but now you can barely touch a person on the street who doesn't have a cell phone in their pocket. I think the Nissan Leaf and other electric vehicles fall into that same category. I think just give us a few years down the road, and we'll see these on the road more readily."

Two more stations will be placed on the campuses of Mississippi State University, and the University of Mississippi Medical Center. Feng Wang teaches transportation at Jackson State and there's one question he asks his students.

"What if the gas prices go as high as $7 or $8 per gallon? Are you ready? Or what will happen for people to change their behavior to accommodate this change?"

Electric cars don't use any gas and provide about 20 to 30 percent more efficiency than traditional combustion engines. The cars haven't caught on in Mississippi as much as other areas in the country, but more research could help the market grow. The charging station is free for students. ??? is a student at Jackson State and he sees that as an incentive.

"It's really more of an incentive because I don't have to pay for gas anymore. I can come with my car to the school and charge it up. I'm really hoping I can afford it if I get enough money to pay for a car like that."

Mississippi continues to look for more efficient energy through biofules, clean coal, nuclear energy, and now...electric vehicles.

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