Are EVs about to take off in America?
When it comes to electrification, the gas-guzzling US still lags much of the developed world.
One of the aims of President Joe Biden’s landmark Inflation Reduction Act, with its $369bn worth of cleantech tax breaks and subsidies, was to push American motorists into buying electric vehicles. Tax credits of up to $7,500 included in the legislation are supposed to make EV purchases cheap enough for the mass market.
So is it a game-changer for EV uptake? Not really, according to a climate attitudes survey released today by the University of Chicago’s Energy Policy Institute and the AP-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research.
Even with the IRA subsidies, just two in every 10 Americans are “very likely” to buy an EV as their next car. Among Republicans the number is just one in 10.
The reason? Cost and charger availability.
More than eight in every 10 people surveyed said the price remained a reason not to buy an EV. Almost as many cited worries over the number of charging stations.
On the other side of the equation, saving money on gasoline was the leading reason people said they would consider buying an EV — with three-quarters pointing to this as a motivating factor.
The IRA tax break was a much less significant driver. Six in 10 cited it — with only a third of those saying it would be a “major reason” to buy an EV.
In a nutshell, economics still trumps ideology. For Democrats and Republican alike, cost is the biggest barrier to — and driver of — EV uptake.
The findings come as Washington doubles down on its EV push. The Environmental Protection Agency is set to announce tough new vehicle emissions standards as soon as this week that it hopes will turbocharge the shift away from combustion engines.
But if the Biden administration really wants half of all new car sales to be electric by the time the decade is out, it still needs to be cheaper to go green. (Myles McCormick)