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Guest View: AAA survey reveals Americans’ interest in electric vehicles

AAA’s latest consumer survey reveals one-quarter of Americans say they would be likely to buy an electric vehicle for their next purchase, with millennials leading the way at 30%.

The common factor is a strong desire to save on fuel costs, with 77% citing this as a top reason. AAA believes with rising gas prices, Americans’ conversion to electric vehicles will continue to increase.

“Higher gas prices are certainly having an impact on Americans’ driving habits and pushing many, especially younger motorists, to consider going electric,” said Mike Hoshaw, vice president of automotive services, AAA East Central. “As automakers continue to incorporate the latest cutting-edge technology into electric vehicles, they’ll need to continue to consider the persistent concerns of potential consumers, such as range anxiety.”

As Americans continue to lean toward the idea of electric vehicles, AAA did find some hesitation, with top objections including:

• Higher purchase price: 60%

• Concern there are not enough places to charge: 60%

• Concern about running out of charge when driving: 58%

• Unsuitable for long-distance travel: 55%

• High cost of battery repair or replacement: 55%

• Unable to install a charging station where they live: 31%

Automakers have made strides in improving range, yet consumer anxiety remains a barrier to adoption.

Electric vehicles are more efficient in stop-and-go traffic because the car can recapture energy from braking to charge the battery when decelerating.

Most electric vehicles come with a 120-volt, Level 1 AC charger that plugs into a standard household electrical outlet. Level 1 charging provides between two and five miles of range per hour, which is adequate for a typical U.S. driver who averages about 30 miles daily.

For people living in dense cities or multifamily housing, public charging is the only option. The U.S. Department of Energy data suggests there are nearly 55,674 charging stations throughout the nation.

Educating consumers on the benefits of using an electric vehicle for shorter commutes while using a gas-powered vehicle for longer trips may go a long way.

AAA finds the top reasons for roadside assistance for electric vehicle owners include issues with tires or needing a tow, but rarely for running out of charge.

The survey was conducted Feb. 18-20, using a probability-based panel designed to represent the overall U.S. household population.

The panel provides sample coverage of approximately 97% of the U.S. household population. A total of 1,051 interviews were completed among U.S. adults, 18 years of age or older.


Editor’s Note: AAA East Central is a not-for-profit association with 72 local offices in Kentucky, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia serving 2.7 million members.