ANNAPOLIS—Sitting in your electric car, sipping organic tea from a biodegradable cup, you pull up to your bank's drive-through window quite proud of your environmental awareness and saved dollars.
Then you see the silver Litespeed brand bicycle of the 58-year-old customer in front of you.
Whether they bike more, buy a more fuel efficient vehicle, convert their gas engine to electric, or simply ride more public transit, Marylanders are looking for ways to cope with pump prices.
Since 2008, according to the Maryland Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Council, Marylanders have hit the roads with 52,000 more hybrid cars. They've also added 289 electric vehicles since 2010, and at least one more bicycle.
And Metrorail ridership is up four percentage points through the first quarter of the year, according to the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority.
"Gas is nuts," said Georgia Glashauser, president of the Baltimore Bicycling Club, and a frequent cyclist at the M&T Bank drive-through eight miles from her Westminster house. "I'm surprised we don't have a revolt," she said with a laugh.
Even though AAA reported prices are 13 cents lower than a month ago, they are still within 31 cents of the all-time high of $4.11 per gallon set in July 2008.
Glashauser commuted an hour or more to her engineering job until five years ago, when she found a Westminster job that paid less but was just an eight-mile bike ride from home.
Her commute could still take an hour, but it wouldn't be because of traffic, distance or stopping for gas.
"It depends," Glashauser said, "on how much energy I have that morning."
Even some businesses are rethinking the energy they put into their cars.
Advanced Technology & Research Corporation is an engineering firm involved in, among other things, solar energy.
The corporation's vice president of automation systems, Rob Lundahl, said his company purchased an electric Chevy Volt as a corporate car.
"We do sales calls in it and run around. We've had it a little less than a month. We've got about 750 miles on it and have used less than six gallons of gas," Lundahl said, standing just outside Win Kelly Chevrolet in Clarksville.
The president of the dealership, Kevin Bell, said the advantage of the Volt is that it has an EPA estimated range of 35 miles on electricity alone. After that, the gas engine kicks in and increases the range an additional 300 miles.
According to data from the 2010 census, about 73 percent of Marylanders commute alone to work, and that commute takes an estimated 31 minutes, likely within a Volt's 35-mile range.
At Bell's dealership, Lundahl's corporation installed a solar car charger with sun tracking technology. Lundahl was there charging up.
The solar charger, which is styled like a light pole, has panels that track the sun using GPS technology, allowing for more efficient absorption.
"Electric cars are happening," Bell said. "The interest is growing week to week and I think you're going to see a very significant piece of the market over the next five years go electric."
Bell said a spike in gas prices and an increase in awareness helped sales that were sluggish early.