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Some 19% of Americans indicate that they are “extremely likely” or “very likely” to purchase an electric vehicle for their next car, even as multiple states attempt to transition toward 100% adoption of the vehicles for new car purchases within the next decade.
The plurality of respondents to a poll from the Associated Press and the National Opinion Research Center said they were “not too likely” or “not at all likely” to buy an electric vehicle, while another 22% indicated they were “somewhat likely” to buy electric and 12% said they “do not expect to purchase a vehicle.” Dominant reasons for hesitance toward electric cars were prohibitively high costs, a lack of charging stations, and personal preference for gas vehicles, as well as concerns with charging times and lack of confidence in current battery technology.
Those who were open to purchasing electric cars meanwhile cited savings on fuel, tax breaks, lessened climate impact, and reduced costs for vehicle maintenance. The poll was conducted between between Jan. 31-Feb. 15 and had 5,400 respondents. It had a 1.7% margin of error.
“While there is plenty of interest in purchasing an electric vehicle, the high upfront cost of owning one and concerns about the country’s charging infrastructure are barriers to more people driving them,” AP-NORC Center Deputy Director Jennifer Benz said in a statement. “Policies that alleviate these concerns will be a key component of building support.”
The concerns regarding electric vehicles could present obstacles to the multiple states which are attempting to encourage universal adoption of the nascent technology within the next several years. California Air Resources Board officials issued new rules last year requiring 35% of new vehicles to be zero-emission by 2026, a standard that will rise to a 68% benchmark by 2030 and a 100% benchmark by 2035. States such as Massachusetts, Washington, and Virginia have previously passed laws conforming their states to the standards.
Researchers have meanwhile noted that the power grids in California and other states are not presently equipped to handle the increased demand arising from widespread electric vehicle ownership. California officials indeed asked residents to refrain from charging their electric cars last summer amid a heat wave that threatened to overwhelm the grid.
Additional rules from the California Air Resources Board will require heavy duty truck manufacturers to enact increasingly strict standards aimed to promote electric vehicles such that 100% of new truck sales are zero-emission by 2045. The United States Environmental Protection Agency granted two waivers of federal standards last month so that the state can enforce the requirements.
“This is a big deal for climate action. Last year, California became one of the first jurisdictions in the world with a real plan to end tailpipe emissions for cars,” California Democratic Governor Gavin Newsom said in a statement. “Thanks to the Biden administration, we’re getting more zero-emission heavy duty trucks on the roads, expanding our world-leading efforts to cut air pollution and protect public health. We’re leading the charge to get dirty trucks and buses, the most polluting vehicles, off our streets, and other states and countries are lining up to follow our lead around the world.”
President Joe Biden has approved a number of laws encouraging a nationwide shift toward renewable power, thereby creating various incentives for electric vehicle ownership. Individuals who purchase certain electric cars can receive tax credits between $4,000 and $7,500 under the Inflation Reduction Act.