Most Americans Still Don’t Want an Electric Car — and Many Go Back to Gas

  • Most Americans don’t intend to buy an electric car in the near future, according to a new study. 
  • People who do spring for an EV often buy a gas car as their next purchase, per another study. 
  • Still, EV sales are climbing fast and are on track to surpass 1 million units in the US this year. 

Even as electric vehicles dominate headlines and hot new models hit the market, most Americans aren’t interested in giving up gasoline.

In a recent poll conducted by Yahoo Finance and Ipsos, 57% of respondents said they were not likely to choose an EV when they buy their next car. (For the purposes of the study, EVs included fully electric cars and plug-in hybrids, which have a larger battery and more electric range than traditional hybrids.)

Of that majority, 36% said they were “not at all likely” to go electric, while 21% said they were “not too likely.” Thirty-one percent of those surveyed said they were likely to buy an EV.

The biggest factors turning potential buyers off from EVs are the same worries that consistently pop up in these kinds of surveys: High vehicle cost, limited driving range, and insufficient charging infrastructure. The study also highlights a striking political divide among the EV-curious; 41% of Democrats said they’d buy an EV, compared to only 17% of Republicans.

Once a person takes the electric plunge, they’re not always instant converts.

A recent analysis from S&P Global Mobility found that many EV-owning households buy a gas-fueled car next. In the mainstream market, 52.1% of EV households (excluding Tesla’s industry-leading loyalty numbers) buy an EV as their next vehicle, meaning almost half do not.

That next vehicle could be either a replacement or an additional car. Owning both an EV and an internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicle makes sense if consumers want an EV for short daily trips and another car that’s better for long-haul journeys.

Automakers “are spending huge amounts of money to develop EVs,” Tom Libby, associate director for loyalty solutions and industry analysis at S&P Global Mobility, said in a statement. “So the last thing they want is for an EV owner to go back to ICE.”

Tesla households, which most EV households are, buy another EV a whopping 76.7% of the time, lifting the average for the luxury EV segment as a whole to 72.6%. Some other brands don’t fare as well; Porsche and BMW had EV loyalty rates of 36.8% and 45.9%, respectively.

Despite the headwinds, EVs continue to take off. US EV sales have increased for 13 straight quarters, according to Cox Automotive. And the US is on pace to notch its first year with more than 1 million EVs sold.

Are you never giving up gasoline? Did you switch from an EV to an ICE car? Do you love your EV? We want to hear from you! Contact this reporter at [email protected]

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