Fewer than half say next vehicle is EV: AP-NORC/EPIC poll

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Fewer than half say next vehicle is EV: AP-NORC/EPIC poll

WASHINGTON — Many Americans are not yet ready to switch to electric for their next car, a new study shows, with high prices and too few charging stations the main deterrents. About 4 in 10 U.S. adults are at least somewhat willing to switch, but the history-making shift from the country’s century-long love affair with gas-powered vehicles still has a ways to go.

The study by the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research and the Energy Policy Institute at the University of Chicago shows that the Biden administration’s plans to dramatically increase sales of electric vehicles in the United States may face resistance from consumers. Only 8% of US adults say they or someone in their household owns or leases an electric vehicle, and only 8% say their household owns a plug-in hybrid vehicle.

Even with tax credits of up to $7,500 toward the purchase of a new EV, it may be difficult to convince drivers to give up their gas-powered cars and trucks for vehicles with no tailpipe emissions.

But only 19 percent of U.S. adults say they are “very” or “extremely” likely to purchase an electric vehicle the next time they buy a car, according to the survey, and 22 percent say they are unlikely. About half – 47% – say they are unlikely to switch to electric.

Six in 10 said the high cost was the main reason they wouldn’t, and about a quarter cited it as a secondary reason. Only 16% said high cost would not be a factor in rejecting an EV.

But new rules proposed by the U.S. Treasury Department could lead to fewer electric vehicles qualifying for the full $7,500 federal tax credit later.

Many vehicles will only qualify for half of the full credit, $3,750, an amount that may not be enough to sway them away from cheaper gas-powered vehicles.

About three-quarters say too few charging stations are a reason they wouldn’t go electric, including half who cite it as the main reason. Two-thirds cite their preference for gasoline vehicles as a primary or secondary reason for not going electric.

“I’m an internal combustion engine guy,” said Robert Piasczyk, 65, a musician who lives in Westerville, Ohio, a suburb of Columbus. “I can’t imagine spending a premium to buy something I don’t like as much as the lower priced option.”

While he doesn’t mind EVs and would consider buying one as the technology improves and prices drop, Piascik said the shorter range, lack of charging spots and long charging times will make his commute difficult.

Biden has set a goal of 500,000 EV charging stations nationwide, and $5 billion from the 2021 infrastructure law has been set aside to install or upgrade chargers along 75,000 miles (120,000 kilometers) of highway from coast to coast .

Electric car giant Tesla will for the first time make some of its charging stations available for all electric vehicles in the US by the end of next year, under a plan announced in February by the White House. The plan to open the nation’s largest and most reliable charging network to all drivers is a potential game changer in encouraging EV use, experts say.

High prices and a lack of available chargers are cited by at least half of Democrats and Republicans as the main reasons for not buying electric cars, but there is a partisan divide in how Americans view electric vehicles. About half of Republicans, 54 percent, say a preference for gasoline vehicles is a major reason for not buying an electric car, while only 29 percent of Democrats say the same.

James Rogers of Sacramento, Calif., a Democrat who voted for Biden, calls climate change an urgent issue and supports Biden’s comprehensive approach. Still, he does not own an electric car and has no plans to buy one, saying the price needs to come down and charging infrastructure improved.

Even with a tax credit that could put the average price of a new EV near $50,000, “that’s too much” money, said Rogers, 62, a retired customer service representative. He’s willing to pay as much as $42,000 for an electric car and hopes the market will bring prices down soon, Rogers said.

In an encouraging finding for EV advocates, the survey shows that 55% of adults under 30 say they are at least somewhat likely to get an electric vehicle next time, as do 49% of adults between the ages of 30 and 44. compared to just 31% of those 45 and older.

And people in the US are seeing the benefits of EVs. Saving money on gas is the top factor cited by those looking to buy an EV, with about three-quarters of US adults citing it as a primary or secondary reason.

Making an impact on climate change is another big reason many would buy an electric car, with 35% saying reducing their personal impact on the climate is a primary reason and 31% saying it is a secondary reason. ___ Krisher reported from Detroit. ___ The AP-NORC survey of 5,408 adults was conducted from January 31 to February 15, using a combined sample of interviews from NORC’s probability-based AmeriSpeak Panel, which is designed to be representative of the U.S. population, and interviews from an online request panels. The margin of sampling error for all respondents is plus or minus 1.7 percentage points. The AmeriSpeak panel was randomly recruited using address-based sampling methods, and respondents were later interviewed online or by telephone.

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