And about those electric cars: The Tesla, with its carbon composite body and a direct drive electric motor that will take it from zero to 60 mph in under 4 seconds, is one of a 2,500 limited edition production from the startup California car company founded by Internet billionaire Elon Musk.

While Hegman acknowledges that the Tesla’s north-of-$100,000 price tag makes the idea of fuel savings moot, “It is an amazing piece of technology, and it’s a great promotional tool for American ingenuity and alternative energy.

“In addition to never buying gasoline, there are no oil/filter changes, no transmission or fuel pump, no exhaust/muffler system, none of the many parts and systems associated with gasoline engines. And the power of the electric motor is phenomenal; acceleration from a standing start is right there with a Corvette or Ferrari — and it’s instantaneous, no lag whatever.”

All the car’s systems can be monitored remotely via a smart phone app, and operational data are transmitted to Tesla for analysis.

Tesla is now building an all-electric sedan, cranking out about 600 per week at its California assembly plant, and the company is in the process of building a nationwide network of solar charging stations where owners can “fill up” for free.

Hegman’s Tesla roadster has a range of 200-plus miles, depending on speed and other factors. But for his everyday commute from home to office, he uses the Nissan Leaf, which is only about one-fourth the price of the Tesla.

Though not nearly so powerful, “It’s a great vehicle,” he says. “And it’s so satisfying to never have to stop at a gas pump.”