High gas prices have been enough to spike consumer interest in electric cars, but are they enough to maintain it? Trend reports show that for
car-buyers, the correlation between interest in
high gas pricesis consistent, as gas prices in the nation reach an average of $4.19 as of the beginning of May 2022.
What a survey revealed about people’s expectations about electric vehicles
According to a survey of 2,176 consumers reported by
CarGurus.com, at the end of February, 32% of people surveyed expected to own an electric car in the next five years while 51% expected to own an electric car sometime in their lifetime.
By April, those numbers increased to 40% expecting to own an electric car in the next five years and 60% expecting to own an electric car in their lifetime. Around this same time, gas prices had surpassed the $4/gallon marker with no sign of dipping any time soon.
Can this interest in EVs last or is it just a fad?
While an uptick in electric vehicle interest seems to be on the rise, some experts argue that this trend is only temporary. Supply chain shortages caused by the COVID-19 pandemic have also made cars more expensive and harder to come by across the board.
CarGurus director of industry analytics Kevin Roberts suggests that interest in electric cars is as temporary and fickle as is to be expected of the American consumer mindset.
“If gas prices go up they start looking toward alternatives, they may even purchase those alternatives, but if gas prices go down or moderate they're likely to revert to their norm rather quickly, like six months or so,” Roberts said.
Consumers also tend to be more reticent to change than even their responses might indicate. In last year’s survey, 56% of those surveyed reported that they’d consider going electric if gas prices reached $5.00/gallon. With that being the current reality in many parts of the country, there is still a lot of hesitancy surrounding EV adoption.
Infrastructure changes are key to the adoption of electric cars
Many Americans might consider an electric car in place of rising gas prices and cars being hard to come by, but owning one is another story.
Upfront, EVs are more expensive when compared on a dollar-for-dollar basis with their gas-powered counterparts, and many parts of the country are still lacking broader infrastructure such as convenient public charging stations that would support EV ownership.
Those considering an electric car cite increased driving range increased charging speed and having more charging stations in their area as potential factors that would cause them to make the switch.
While attitudes are changing and electric cars are becoming more mainstream, automakers and car-buyers alike shouldn’t expect the shift to happen overnight.
May is historically one of the bigger sales months of the year for new cars, but inventory constraints are unlikely to disappear any time soon, meaning the typical manufacturer discounts seen around Memorial Day weekend are also unlikely to happen.
In March of 2022, just 4.5% of all vehicles sold were EVs, but it's still a growing industry. Globally,
electric car salesare poised to surpass the 20 million mark by June, with predictions to reach 26 million by the end of the year.
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