Electric vehicles (EVs) are considered to be the future of cars, but are the vehicles better for the environment, and what will it take to get every American on board?
- Around 816,154 hybrid and fully electric vehicles were sold in the U.S. in 2022, according to data from Argonne National Laboratory.
- Price is the main factor keeping Americans from switching to EVs as the cost remains significantly higher than gas-powered cars, but with the tax credit from the Inflation Reduction Act, it is beginning to lower the price tag.
- Many people remain skeptical about EVs being better for the environment, but studies have proven that EVs considerably reduce emissions compared to gas-powered vehicles.
Why it’s news
EVs are being marketed as the cars of the future, leaving gas-powered cars in the rearview as many companies are pushing EVs to limit emissions and work towards greener goals.
EVs’ popularity has been a slow buildup since they were very expensive when first put on the market. The first Tesla produced from 2008 to 2012, The Tesla Roadster, was priced from $98,950 to $128,500.
While EV prices have come down considerably, the vehicles are still much more expensive than the average gas-powered cars making the price point a main factor in why Americans aren’t making the step in switching to electric cars.
A Deloitte study shows more than 50% of Americans say affordability is their main concern for EVs, and 70% say they expect to pay less than $50,000 for their next car.
According to Kelley Blue Book, the average price of an electric vehicle in the U.S. for August 2022 was $66,000, which is $16,000 above what 70% of Americans are looking to pay, while the average price for a new gas-powered car in the U.S. for 2022 was high due to inflation but still considerably lower than EVs, sitting at $48,681.
The Inflation Reduction Act offers a tax credit of up to $7,500 for certain EV purchases to encourage Americans to switch to electric-powered cars giving an incentive for buyers to choose an EV over a traditional car.
Not all EVs qualify for the tax credit, and other rules also affect qualifications, including income, which has caused some carmakers like Tesla to lower vehicle prices to ensure its vehicles will be eligible for the credit.
Another large issue affecting the switch to EVs is not enough charging stations. In the U.S., there are more than 145,000 places to refuel a gas-powered car, but only around 11,600 points where any EV can charge, according to the research group Atlas Public Policy.
To eliminate the issue, the Biden administration has plans to build a network of EV chargers across the U.S. The plan is to have charging stations placed roughly every 50 miles.
“It used to be that to buy an electric car, you had to make all sorts of compromises, not today,” President Biden says, “Look, the great American road trip is going to be fully electrified, whether you’re driving coast to coast along I-10 or on I-75 in Michigan, charging stations will be up and easy to find as easy as they are now.”
As the country continues its goal of lowering emissions, EVs are being pushed, but many skeptics question whether EVs are better for the environment than the traditional gas-powered car.
Many argue that EVs are worse for the environment considering the amount of carbon given off by the manufacturing and disposal of EV batteries and the coal needed for the electricity to run the vehicles.
Organizations have conducted lifestyle analyses between gas-powered cars and EVs and have found that over the lifetime of the vehicle being driven, it cuts the emissions given off during manufacturing.
A study by the University of Michigan found that the pollution evens out between 1.4 to 1.5 years for sedans, 1.6 to 1.9 years for SUVs, and about 1.6 years for pickup trucks, based on the average number of vehicle miles traveled in the United States.
There are around 1.7 million EVs on the road in the U.S., and with the introduction of the EV tax credit, the addition of more charging stations, and the price lowering, it is expected that EV growth will continue to sweep across America.