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Any parent who has had to watch the Disney/Pixar classic animated film Cars can tell you exactly what happened to small town America.  You can almost see evidence of the desertion when you take a road trip of any length through Louisiana.  Town after town with rich history basically getting bypassed by the traffic on massive interstate highways just outside of town.  Travelers really have no reason to stop, explore, and - most importantly, spend money when they can hit a quick exit to gas up and be back on their way.

A recent report from the car nuts at Fast Company delved into the changing landscape of road travel in America as it relates to the widescale introduction and adoption of electrically powered vehicles. It uncovered a most-likely ignored or overlooked benefit of switching from gas-power to battery-power - the potential revitalization of small towns across this nation.

While driving an electric car in your own town is not likely to change your driving habits other than where you "fuel" up, it will drastically change for road-trippers.  For gasoline and diesel drivers, the typical fill up time is 10-15 minutes.  Electric drivers will have to wait twice as long - even with the new breed of advanced fast-charging stations popping up along major highway corridors.

So what are those out-of-towners supposed to do while they wait around 30 minutes for a full charge?  Explore the town!  The concept is simple: As gas stations start to disappear, they could be replaced by charging stations located a little closer (within walking distance) to local attractions, restaurants, and more!  Properly executed, this could be a vital shot in the arm for main streets all across Louisiana!

With states like California jumping headfirst into the electric vehicle game by making laws that would basically outlaw gas-powered vehicles by 2035 - an all electric reality could be coming to the Sportsman's Paradise sooner than you think!  In fact, energy giants SWEPCO and CLECO are already laying the groundwork with clean fuels advocates Louisiana Clean Fuels to line Interstates 20, 49, 10, 12, 55, and 59 with charging stations every 50 miles!

Electric Cars Charging
Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images

Obviously electrics aren't the Holy Grail of transportation, they've got plenty of problems too.  But if we can use this incoming (and most likely, unstoppable) wave of change to bring life back to the heart of our cities, I'll take it.  Especially if will keep me from crying when James Taylor sings "Our Town" on my 734th viewing of Cars.

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LOOK: See how much gasoline cost the year you started driving

To find out more about how has the price of gas changed throughout the years, Stacker ran the numbers on the cost of a gallon of gasoline for each of the last 84 years. Using data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (released in April 2020), we analyzed the average price for a gallon of unleaded regular gasoline from 1976 to 2020 along with the Consumer Price Index (CPI) for unleaded regular gasoline from 1937 to 1976, including the absolute and inflation-adjusted prices for each year.

Read on to explore the cost of gas over time and rediscover just how much a gallon was when you first started driving.

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