ALEXANDRIA, Va.—Consumers hoping to find relief from record-high gas prices by purchasing an electric vehicle (EV) or a more fuel-efficient internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicle may be out of luck. CNBC reports that supply chain snarls, demand and low inventory levels have many new vehicles, including EVs, difficult to obtain.
The majority of EVs are already reserved before they hit dealer lots.
“Even for people who want to switch to electric, they have nowhere to go,” Jessica Caldwell, executive director of insights at Edmunds.com, told CNBC. “Anything you’re looking to buy, you’re on a waitlist … or even if you’re looking to downsize your purchase, you’re paying top dollar. It just doesn’t make sense to make a move right now.”
The current national average for a gallon of gas is $4.33, according to AAA. At press time, Brent crude is trading at $109.88 a barrel, while West Texas Intermediate crude oil is trading at $110.
Consumers looking to switch from an ICE vehicle to an EV could wait months, if not years, reports CNBC. Inventory for vehicles in the U.S. is down about 60% from a year ago and 70% from 2020 to roughly 1.1 million vehicles, according to Cox Automotive. EVs and hybrids only represent about 25,100 units, or 2.4% of that total supply, as of Feb. 21, according to the company.
Patrick Manzi, chief economist of the National Automobile Dealers Association, said in a recent Convenience Matters podcast episode that it’s going to be 2024 before all market conditions normalize in the auto industry.
The most readily available vehicles are the Ram 1500 and Chevy Silverado pickups, Jeep Grand Cherokee L and Mazda CX-5 SUVs and Ford Escape crossovers, according to Cox. The least available are the Kia Telluride and Subaru Forester SUVs, as well as the Honda Civic and Toyota Corolla sedans.
Despite difficulties purchasing an EV, President Biden is pushing to electrify the vehicle fleet. During his announcement on Russian oil imports, he said that “this crisis is a stark reminder to protect our economy. Over the long term we need to become energy independent. It should motivate us to accelerate a transition to clean energy.”
Biden spoke similar words during the SOTU, referencing once again the administration’s 500,000 electric vehicle (EV) charger goal and a call to lower prices of EV vehicles so people can save on charging.
NACS submitted a letter for the record for a House Committee on Energy and Commerce’s hearing on EVs. NACS believes that certain policy and market obstacles need to be removed so that there is a “meaningful, systemic injection of private capital toward fast, reliable EV charging stations at the places consumers want them the most.”
“With the right alignment of policy incentives, the private sector is best equipped to facilitate a faster, more widespread and cost-effective transition to alternatives—including electricity—in the coming years,” writes NACS.
NACS recently joined the Charge Ahead Partnership, a coalition of businesses, associations and individuals who share the same goal of creating a competitive EV charging market nationwide. The Charge Ahead Partnership is free to join. By joining, members will be kept informed about this issue and will learn how they can help the cause.