EV Market Slows in U.S.

Thirty-nine percent of U.S. adults surveyed say they are considering an EV for their next car.

June 09, 2021

Electric Vehicle Charging

WASHINGTON—The growth of electric vehicles has slowed in the United States, while continuing to increase in Europe and China, the Pew Research Center reports. According to a recent Pew Research Center survey, 7% of U.S. adults indicated they currently drive an EV or hybrid vehicle. Thirty-nine percent said they were very or somewhat likely to purchase an EV for their next car.

Outside of a handful of U.S. metropolitan areas, EVs aren’t very common. Despite rapid growth in absolute terms recently, electric vehicles still form a very small percentage of vehicles in the United States. By 2020, close to 1.8 million EVs were registered, a three-fold jump from 2016, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA).

The IEA also reported that the U.S. only has around 17% of the world’s EV stock of 10.2 million vehicles. China has the most EVs with 44%, or more than 4.5 million, while Europe has about 31% at close to 3.2 million. In terms of EV sales percentages, Norway and Iceland led the way last year with nearly three-fourths of all cars sold in Norway and more than half of all cars purchased in Iceland being EVs.

At the same time, sales have declined in the United States, mostly because of the falling popularity of plug-in hybrids and the disappearance of federal tax credits for popular EV models. The IEA found that in 2020, about 64,300 plug-in hybrids were sold in the U.S., around half as many as in 2018. About 231,000 all-electric vehicles were bought in 2020, a 3.2% drop from 2018. The lion’s share of EVs are in California, followed by Hawaii.

Listen to Convenience Matters Episode No. 268, “Outlook for 2021 Travel Patterns,” for a discussion of EVs in the U.S.

The Fuels Institute has prepared an evaluation of the electric vehicle market from the consumer perspective, including total cost of ownership, recharging infrastructure requirements, anticipated consumer recharging behavior and the relationship of EVs to competing technology in terms of consumer adoption. Visit “Electric Vehicle Adoption: Focus on Charging” to learn more. In addition, the Institute’s Electric Vehicle Council is providing guidance for companies to evaluate how, when and why to enter the market. The Fuels Institute’s “EV Market Regulatory Report” guides retailers looking to offer EV charging in the decision-making and strategic planning process by exploring regulations that could affect installation of electric vehicle service equipment (EVSE). The report also helps policymakers identify and implement appropriate regulatory provisions. Download the EV Market Regulatory Report.