A nationwide surge in prices at the pump is leading more Americans to consider buying electric cars — a move favored by the Biden administration.
According to a report from Cars.com — a company that gives car buyers “data, resources and digital tools needed to make informed buying decisions” — the number of searches about electric vehicles on their platform has “nearly doubled since last year,” and “increased 173% from Feb. 24 to March 25.”
“The war in Ukraine, proposed infrastructure legislation, rising gas prices and supply-chain issues are just a few drivers of market volatility that have spurred consumer interest in EVs,” explained the site. “Perceived as a purchase that hedges against market swings, especially gas prices, EVs are gaining awareness and popularity, but actual purchases still lag due to extremely limited supply and several barriers to entry, with EVs constituting less than 1% of vehicles on the road.”
Cars.com added that “55% of non-EV owners indicate they are considering an EV for their next purchase, and more than two-thirds would consider switching to electric if gas prices keep rising.” However, 52% of Americans consider cost to be a salient obstacle to buying an electric vehicle.
“Recent macro events including historic inflation, rapidly rising gas prices, and debate over oil production and supply have transformed consumers’ mere curiosity about EVs to an unprecedented level of interest,” Cars.com editor-in-chief Jenni Newman said. “Automakers need to ramp up production, but until the supply-chain shortages level out, the extreme lack of available EVs can’t keep up with the growing demand in the current market.”
Key White House officials have frequently called for American families to buy electric cars in reaction to rising gas prices — a trend that has marked the first year of President Joe Biden’s tenure.
In November, Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg claimed that Americans who buy electric vehicles “never have to worry about gas prices again.”
“The people who stand to benefit most from owning an EV are often rural residents who have the most distances to drive, who burn the most gas, and underserved urban residents in areas where there are higher gas prices and lower income,” Buttigieg said in comments made during an MSNBC interview. “They would gain the most by having that vehicle. These are the very residents who have not always been connected to electric vehicles that are viewed as kind of a luxury item.”
“If we can make the electric vehicle less expensive for everybody, more people can take advantage, and we’ll be selling more American-made EVs, which means in time they’ll become less expensive to make and to buy for everybody,” he added.
According to AAA, the average national price of regular gasoline has reached $4.225 per gallon, while the price of diesel has reached $5.117 as of this reporting.