AAA: Gas prices are leading more Americans to electric vehicles

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Some are hesitant to make the switch, citing lingering concerns relating to range, price and availability of public charging options.

One in four American consumers plan to go fully electric for their next vehicle, according to a new national survey by AAA.

Why the switch? The most common factor for those interested in buying an electric vehicle (77%) is to save on fuel costs. But, AAA notes that there are still those who are hesitant to make the switch, citing lingering concerns relating to range, price and availability of public charging options.

“Consumers who are fed up with the wild price swings at the pump, may be more willing than ever to make the switch to an electric vehicle,” Mark Jenkins, AAA spokesman, said in a statement. “Record-high gas prices have brought the cost of owning an EV more in line with a standard gasoline-powered vehicle. Although it may cost more money up front, EVs cost less to charge, maintain, and are more efficient.”

EV sales are continuing to steadily rise in the U.S. In 2021 alone (through October), almost 450,000 EVs were sold – an 88% increase year over year. Despite rapid growth, EVs account for less than 1% of cars and trucks in operation today. But, industry analysts forecast the share of EVs on the road will reach 15% by 2030, and 50% by 2050.

As for costs, which can vary depending on vehicle size, type and gas prices, AAA found the cost of charging an EV is 2-4 times less than fueling a gasoline-powered vehicle.

When comparing two popular EV sedans against popular gasoline-powered vehicles, AAA found that EVs charged at home, based on the current national average rate, spent around $10 per full charge, and those charged in public around $20 per full charge.

Gas-powered vehicles, based on a national average price of $4.66 per gallon, cost about about $70 for a full tank — nearly twice as expensive as charging an EV at a public station and about four times more than charging an EV at home.

In addition to fuel savings, electric vehicles cost less to maintain, because they don’t have spark plugs, need oil changes or air-filter replacements. However, upon the conclusion of a federally-mandated 100,000 mile vehicle warranty, EV owners may need to cover the cost of a new battery, which ranges in price from $2,500 to over $10,000.

Even as more Americans lean into electric options, AAA found lingering consumer hesitation surrounding price, range, and accessibility to charging.

The top EV concerns consumers cited included the higher purchase price (60%), worry of charging accessibility (60%), long-distance travel (55%), high cost of battery repair or replacement (55%) and inability to install a charging station where they live (31%).

AAA finds that consumers have a reasonably accurate understanding of current electric vehicle range. Six in ten (60%) Americans think electric vehicles can travel between 100 to 350 miles before running out of charge. This aligns with today’s electric vehicle capabilities. These findings suggest that while automakers have made great strides to improve range, consumer anxiety over it remains a barrier to adoption.

“The anxiety surrounding range for consumers is often more of a perceived issue, until they learn more about it,” Jenkins said. “Many EV owners cite range as one of the things that concerned them before purchasing the vehicle. Yet those concerns disappeared as they learned to integrate their electric vehicle into their lives.”

“Simply improving the range of electric vehicles will not be enough to calm consumer anxiety and encourage them to give these vehicles a chance,” said Jenkins. “However, with continuous education on electric vehicle ownership, coupled with more consumers seeing their neighbors convert, the popularity surrounding electric vehicles will grow.”

The survey was conducted from Feb. 18-20, using a probability-based panel designed to represent the U.S. household population overall. The panel provides sample coverage of approximately 97% of the U.S. household population. A total of 1,051 interviews were completed among U.S. adults. The margin of error for the study overall is +/- 4% at the 95% confidence level.

Kelly Hayes

Kelly Hayes studied journalism and political science at the University of Florida. Kelly was born and raised in Tampa Bay. A recent graduate, she enjoys government and legal reporting. She has experience covering the Florida Legislature as well as local government, and is a proud Alligator alum. You can reach Kelly at [email protected]


7 comments

  • Yeah

    July 16, 2022 at 1:18 pm

    High prices might be the a game sitting in traffic for 2 hours might tell a different probability alongside heat

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  • Joe Corsin

    July 16, 2022 at 1:40 pm

    Vote RED for wealth and income inequality the likes of which the world has never seen.

    Vote RED for a culture of greed, racism, incivility, and politicized religion.

    Vote RED for never ending low wage exploitation and capitalist scams.

    Vote RED for get out of jail free for the rich and prison for the poor

    Vote RED for domestic terrorism to eliminate government so that the hogs can grift Americans into slavery.

    Vote RED for ancient Roman plutocracy in the name of Christ.

    Vote RED for government hands off the market…booms and busts for the rest of American history.

    • Impeach Biden

      July 16, 2022 at 8:37 pm

      Vote “Blue” if you like high fuel prices.
      Vote “Blue” if you like forty year high inflation.
      Vote “Blue” if you like high crime.
      Vote “Blue” if you want to defund police.
      Vote “Blue” if you support no cash bail.
      Vote “Blue” if you support open borders.

      • Joe Corsin

        July 16, 2022 at 9:11 pm

        Victim of far right propaganda and Republican lies. As usual, Dems can’t clean up GOP messes fast enough and get blamed for the capitalist grift. Pure nonsense…

  • Jerry

    July 16, 2022 at 8:21 pm

    It’s leading to WEALTHY Americans to buy electric cars. The poor and middle class who can’t afford $60,000 cars with $10,000 batteries and will be stuck with high gas prices forever now thanks to the Democrats. Go to rich areas of a town and you see Teslas all over the place. It’s a status symbol now. Go to where most people live and you won’t see any. And you pretty much have to own a house to have an EV. If you live in an apartment complex, you’ll be forced to charge only at public stations. That will negate a lot of the fuel savings and it’s a big inconvenience.

    Not to mention engineers have warned our electric grid cannot handle the load if everyone changed to EVs today. The grid needs many billions of dollars of upgrades and we will need new power plants too. And no…solar and wind are not going to do it. They tried that in Germany and ended up having to buy a ton of energy from Russia. Now the Germans are quietly building more coal and nuclear plants. They have to. They don’t have enough energy now that they had to cut off Russian energy. Same thing is going to happen in America because these stupid liberals we have running our country don’t have a brain cell in their heads!

  • Joe Corsin

    July 16, 2022 at 9:11 pm

    Vote RED for domestic terrorists shilling for grifters and the rich

    Vote RED for neo nazi propaganda and horrible far right culture

    Vote RED for neo slavery and wealth and income inequality the likes of which the world has never seen

Comments are closed.


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