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Poll: Many Americans still shying away from EVs despite presidential push

Jun 4

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Electric vehicles (EVs) might be the transportation of the future — but not necessarily the near future. A newly released AP-NORC/EPIC poll shows many Americans still are not sold on the idea of going electric, even with the Biden administration offering incentives to ditch fossil fuel-reliant vehicles. 

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About 4 in 10 U.S. adults say they would be at least somewhat likely to buy an EV the next time they buy a car, according to the poll. However, 46% say they are not too likely or not at all likely to buy one. 

The results show President Joe Biden’s election-year plan to dramatically raise EV sales is running into resistance from American drivers. Only 13% of U.S. adults say they or someone in their household already owns or leases a gas-hybrid car. Just 9% of drivers own or lease an electric vehicle. 

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This latest poll is not an anomaly, either. In October 2023, a poll conducted by Yahoo Finance and Ipsos found 57% of respondents said they were unlikely to buy an EV. Furthermore, Jerry’s 2024 State of the American Driver Report found only 41% of respondents were interested in buying or leasing an EV as their next vehicle, down from 49% in 2023. 

EVs are a key part of the Biden administration’s climate agenda. A new rule from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) requires that about 56% of all new vehicle sales be electric by 2032, along with at least 13% plug-in hybrids or other partially electric cars. 

Auto companies are investing billions in factories and battery technology to speed up the switch to EVs to meet the deadline. 

So, what is holding Americans back from buying electric? 

The AP-NORC/EPIC poll shows range anxiety is a big factor. That’s the concern that EVs cannot go far enough on a single charge and may leave a driver stranded. 

According to the poll, about half of U.S. adults cite worries about range as a major reason not to buy an EV. About 4 in 10 say a major strike against EVs is that they take too long to charge or they don’t know of any public charging stations nearby. 

Another concern is the cost. As of February 2024, the average price for a new EV was $52,314, according to Kelley Blue Book. While that’s down 12.8% from 2023, it’s still higher than the average price for all new vehicles, around $47,244.

However, on Monday, June 3, The New York Times published a report about electric vehicles quickly becoming more affordable. The Times cites increased competition, lower raw-material costs and more efficient manufacturing as reasons for the price drop. 

The report also says federal tax credits of up to $7,500 for new electric cars are often augmented by thousands of dollars in state incentives. The incentives should, in turn, help push prices even lower. 

Still, even with the cost of electric vehicles on the decline, polling indicates it’ll be a while before most Americans are ready to make the change. 

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[JACK AYLMER]

ELECTRIC VEHICLES MIGHT BE THE TRANSPORTATION OF THE FUTURE—BUT NOT NECESSARILY THE NEAR FUTURE. A NEWLY RELEASED AP-NORC/EPIC POLL SHOWS MANY AMERICANS STILL AREN’T SOLD ON THE IDEA OF GOING ELECTRIC, EVEN WITH THE BIDEN ADMINISTRATION OFFERING INCENTIVES TO DITCH FOSSIL FUEL-RELIANT VEHICLES. 

ABOUT 4 IN 10 U.S. ADULTS SAY THEY WOULD BE AT LEAST SOMEWHAT LIKELY TO BUY AN EV THE NEXT TIME THEY BUY A CAR, ACCORDING TO THAT POLL BY THE ASSOCIATED PRESS-NORC CENTER FOR PUBLIC AFFAIRS RESEARCH AND THE ENERGY POLICY INSTITUTE AT THE UNIVERSITY OF CHICAGO. HOWEVER, 46% SAY THEY ARE NOT TOO LIKELY OR NOT AT ALL LIKELY TO BUY ONE. 

THE RESULTS SHOW PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN’S ELECTION-YEAR PLAN TO DRAMATICALLY RAISE EV SALES IS RUNNING INTO RESISTANCE FROM AMERICAN DRIVERS. ONLY 13% OF U.S. ADULTS SAY THEY OR SOMEONE IN THEIR HOUSEHOLD ALREADY OWNS OR LEASES A GAS-HYBRID CAR, AND JUST 9% OWN OR LEASE AN ELECTRIC VEHICLE. 

THIS LATEST POLL ISN’T AN ANOMALY, EITHER. IN OCTOBER, A POLL CONDUCTED BY YAHOO FINANCE AND IPSOS FOUND 57% OF RESPONDENTS SAID THEY WERE UNLIKELY TO BUY AN ELECTRIC VEHICLE. AND JERRY’S 2024 STATE OF THE AMERICAN DRIVER REPORT FOUND ONLY 41% OF RESPONDENTS WERE INTERESTED IN BUYING OR LEASING AN EV AS THEIR NEXT VEHICLE–DOWN FROM 49% A YEAR EARLIER. 

EVS ARE A KEY PART OF PRESIDENT BIDEN’S CLIMATE AGENDA. A NEW RULE FROM THE ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY REQUIRES THAT ABOUT 56% OF ALL NEW VEHICLE SALES BE ELECTRIC BY 2032, ALONG WITH AT LEAST 13% PLUG-IN HYBRIDS OR OTHER PARTIALLY ELECTRIC CARS. 

RIGHT NOW, AUTO COMPANIES ARE INVESTING BILLIONS IN FACTORIES AND BATTERY TECHNOLOGY TO SPEED UP THE SWITCH TO EVS TO MEET THE DEADLINE. 

SO, WHAT’S HOLDING AMERICANS BACK FROM BUYING ELECTRIC? 

THE AP-NORC/EPIC POLL SHOWS RANGE ANXIETY IS A BIG FACTOR. THAT’S THE CONCERN THAT EVS CANNOT GO FAR ENOUGH ON A SINGLE CHARGE AND MAY LEAVE A DRIVER STRANDED. 

ACCORDING TO THE POLL, ABOUT HALF OF U.S. ADULTS CITE WORRIES ABOUT RANGE AS A MAJOR REASON NOT TO BUY AN EV. ABOUT 4 IN 10 SAY A MAJOR STRIKE AGAINST EVS IS THAT THEY TAKE TOO LONG TO CHARGE OR THEY DON’T KNOW OF ANY PUBLIC CHARGING STATIONS NEARBY. 

A BIGGER CONCERN, THOUGH, IS THE COST. AS OF FEBRUARY, THE AVERAGE PRICE FOR A NEW EV WAS $52,314, ACCORDING TO KELLEY BLUE BOOK. WHILE THAT’S DOWN 12.8% FROM A YEAR EARLIER, IT’S STILL HIGHER THAN THE AVERAGE PRICE FOR ALL NEW VEHICLES OF $47,244, THE REPORT SAID. 

HOWEVER, ON MONDAY, JUNE 3, THE NEW YORK TIMES PUBLISHED A REPORT ABOUT ELECTRIC VEHICLES QUICKLY BECOMING MORE AFFORDABLE. THE TIMES CITES INCREASED COMPETITION, LOWER RAW-MATERIAL COSTS, AND MORE EFFICIENT MANUFACTURING AS REASONS FOR THE PRICE DROP. 

THEY ALSO SAY FEDERAL TAX CREDITS OF UP TO $7,500 FOR NEW ELECTRIC CARS ARE OFTEN AUGMENTED BY THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS IN STATE INCENTIVES, WHICH HELPS PUSH PRICES EVEN LOWER. 

STILL, EVEN WITH THE COST OF ELECTRIC VEHICLES ON THE DECLINE, POLLING INDICATES IT’LL BE A WHILE BEFORE MOST AMERICANS ARE READY TO MAKE THE CHANGE. 

WE WANT TO HEAR FROM YOU: DO YOU PLAN ON BUYING AN ELECTRIC VEHICLE IN THE NEXT YEAR? TAKE PART IN OUR POLL TO HAVE YOUR VOICE HEARD: