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Post oil: Boom in electric car sales fuel gas-free dreams (VIDEO)

More than a dozen new plug-in electric car models will hit the market by 2012, offering drivers a true post oil experience.

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Austin, Texas resident and Nissan Leaf owner Dale Bulla(r.) poses for a photo with his wife, Pat.

Mark Clayton/The Christian Science Monitor

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With about 1 billion cars and light trucks on the road worldwide – and more than a quarter of them in the United States – more oil is consumed by internal-combustion engines used in transportation than in any other human activity. The private car itself is the most significant source of rising energy consumption for transportation.

However, some drivers are making a break from the pack. They want their private cars, but not the gasoline-gulping internal-combustion engine. They're plug-in electric vehicle owners, pioneers of an emerging, nearly gas-free dream. They've gone "post-oil," even while experts continue to debate when petroleum reserves will run dry (the extremes range from two decades to never).

"It's a different mind-set altogether," says Dale Bulla, a retired teacher in Austin, Texas, who has not bought a drop of gasoline since he purchased his Nissan Leaf in April. "[A] big weight is off me. I just don't have to think very much at all about oil or gasoline anymore. It feels good."

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