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“Hey Siri, what is an electric car?”
News from across the pond has been pretty bleak in recent weeks, with gas shortages plaguing the U.K. As a result, many British gas stations have been forced to close their doors, while others have seen mile-long line-ups and frustrated drivers fighting at the pumps.
However, one unexpected consequence appears to be an increased interest in electric vehicles. EV registrations were already trending upwards, but despite the government announcing a ban on new gas cars from 2030, and legislation to improve the charging infrastructure, adoption has been slower than anticipated.
Well, if internet search volume is anything to go by, the gas shortage appears to be convincing many Brits that it’s time to make the switch. After all, finding an electrical outlet is easier than calculating how far you can drive with an empty tank (or fist-fighting your neighbor for his last jerry can).
What’s behind the gas shortage in Britain?
Electrek explains that the main issue is not a lack of gas, but a lack of truck drivers.
For the last few years, British truckers have been retiring in large numbers and not enough young drivers are coming forward to fill the void.
Brexit has exacerbated the problem. Thousands of foreign drivers left the U.K. when Britain voted to leave the EU, citing excessive bureaucracy and lengthy delays at customs.
The media has played its part too. Frenzied coverage about the potential for gas shortages has led to panic buying, cleaning out gas stations who would otherwise have had enough in reserve.
The British government has sought to reassure the public that the nation has plenty of gas and the situation will stabilize soon. But in the meantime, it has called on military tanker drivers to help get more gas to the pumps.
Electric cars are benefitting from gas shortages
Electrek reports that British google searches for electric cars increased by 1,600% when gas shortages became a widespread problem.
Google isn’t the only platform seeing an explosion in interest. One popular used car site reported that searches for electric cars had increased by 16X the average, and Carwow saw a 94% surge in Brits researching EV ownership.
It remains to be seen if this surge in interest will translate to increased electric car sales, but experts are confident it will. The U.K. government will be hoping its electrical grid proves more robust than its gas and oil supply chain.