DETROIT – Auto companies are hoping lower lease prices can put a charge into sluggish electric car sales.

Honda announced Thursday that it’s slashing the monthly lease cost of its tiny Fit EV by one-third, following similar moves by other automakers. Honda also is throwing in other goodies, such as a free home charging station and unlimited mileage.

Electric vehicles once were billed as the answer to high gas prices and dependence on foreign oil. But U.S. oil production is rising and gasoline supplies are abundant. Pump prices have remained relatively stable the past three years, while gas-powered cars have gotten more efficient, making consumers reluctant to give them up.

There’s also the worry that an electric car could run out of juice on longer trips.

As a result, electric car sales are only a tiny fraction of overall U.S. auto sales. Still, the cheap leases and a broader selection of models are giving electric vehicles a boost. Sales for the first four months of this year already are 80 percent of last year’s total sales of about 15,000.

With the Fit EV, Honda is offering a $259 per month lease, down $130 from the initial $389 per month offer when the car went on sale in July of last year. The reduced price starts June 1 and will apply to existing Fit EV leases, Honda said. The three-year lease requires no money down and comes with unlimited mileage, free routine maintenance, collision insurance coverage and a free 240-volt home charging station, the company said Thursday. The charging station normally costs $995. The car buyer must take care of installation.

Earlier this month, General Motors said that it would lease the subcompact Spark EV for $199 per month with $999 due at signing as it goes on sale in California and Oregon. Nissan is offering a $199-per-month lease on its Leaf electric car with $1,999 down. That’s down from a high of $369 per month back in 2011.