Nearly half in US support EV incentives, fewer to buy them

Public support for EV incentives and charging infrastructure is strong, but Americans aren’t necessarily buying EVs for themselves, according to a new poll.

Conducted by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research and the University of Chicago’s Energy Policy Institute (EPIC), the poll showed significant support for measures to increase EV adoption. Of U.S. adults surveyed, 49% said they supported EV incentives such as tax credits and cash rebates, while 46% supported increased federal funding for charging infrastructure.

Fewer respondents expressed interest in buying an EV, though. Just two in 10 said they are “very likely” to make an EV their next car, while four in 10 said they were at least somewhat likely to get an EV. More than eight in 10 survey respondents cited price as a reason, and almost as many cited concerns over a lack of charging stations.

2023 Chevrolet Bolt EUV Redline Edition

2023 Chevrolet Bolt EUV Redline Edition

While Republicans were less likely to consider an EV, cost was the main concern for both Republicans and Democrats. Other polls have found members of both parties to be somewhat aligned when it comes to EV policy. A previous poll from a policy and trade group found support from those of both parties for policies supporting EV adoption. Pew polls in 2021 found that Americans were quite closely aligned on renewable energy topics, despite the partisan divide.

Some policies also weren’t viewed as favorably as financial incentives and government-funded charging infrastructure. Just 35% of Americans surveyed supported stricter fuel-economy standards to encourage EV sales, and only 27% supported requiring all new car sales to be EVs or hybrids by 2035.

2023 Ford Mustang Mach-E

2023 Ford Mustang Mach-E

That hypothetical policy is similar to what California has adopted. The state aims to end sales of most passenger cars with internal-combustion engines by 2035, with an exception for very efficient plug-in hybrids. Opinions might be different in California than the rest of the country. Last fall a UC Berkeley poll found 55% backed the state’s ban of new non-plug-in gasoline models by 2035.

Poll results were released as the EPA was about to detail stricter new rules for light vehicles and heavy trucks. The proposal is expected to set emissions targets that would require up to 67% EV sales nationally by 2032.

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