November 4, 2022
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 91.5 percent of U.S. households own at least one car, meaning that higher gas prices have affected everyone, across all income levels and socio-economic classifications. This past March, the price of gas reached its highest level in American history, sending shock waves through the economy. With California passing a law prohibiting the sales of new gasoline-powered cars by 2035, and gas prices still higher than usual, there has been a renewed push toward electric cars. America lags behind other countries when it comes to EV adoption, but there are three things the U.S. can increase its use of EVs and do its part to slow the pace of climate change.
The number of electric cars on the road in the U.S. grew from 16K to 2 million in 10 years, pointing to a slow and steady trend toward more environmentally sound vehicles but the numbers are not ticking up fast enough to meet the challenge. The car owner information gap around electric vehicles is partly to blame for keeping the American car-buying audience on the sidelines when it comes to whether or not to buy an electric vehicle. One concern that those who might be considering purchasing an EV have is whether it would be more expensive than a gasoline-only car. A recent survey found that 53 percent of American car owners would not be willing to pay even $500 more for an electric vehicle. The truth is that as with any car, the true cost of ownership comes from everything associated with maintaining the vehicle and fuel costs, not the actual purchase price. A targeted campaign by the federal and state governments to educate the public about electric cars could highlight the fact that EVs cost about 40 percent less to maintain than traditional, gas-powered vehicles.
Establish a Nationwide Network of Charging Stations
One of the challenges that immediately faces the U.S. push for EV adoption is the details surrounding how and where car owners can charge their vehicles. 61 percent of American car owners surveyed in a recent Consumer Reports study stated that the major obstacle keeping them from making the leap to EVs is the logistics around charging them. Many electric vehicle owners are able to charge their cars at home, but there are currently more than 45,000 charging stations around the country, with more than 500K coming across the nation, thanks to a new set of standards recently announced by the Biden administration. More than enough for a strong head start and to help alleviate the worries of the traditional car owners who still need to be convinced to switch to an electric car.
Cash Incentives for Purchasing an EV
As mentioned earlier, cost remains a primary concern for prospective EV buyers. The Consumer Reports survey found that among the respondents who stated that they were not planning to buy an electric vehicle, 52 percent of them listed costs as the reason that was most front of mind. Offering car owners cash towards a new EV could be highly motivating. Other countries, especially those in Europe, have had success with offering subsidies for both the purchase of a new electric vehicle and for the installation of at-home charging stations. In fact, European countries represent seven out of the ten countries in the world with the highest percentage of EVs on the road. In the U.S., making electric vehicles more accessible to traditional car owners can be done by expanding the federal tax credit, currently at $7,500, through the Inflation Reduction Act.
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