California Has the Most Electric Cars, but It Might Not Be the Best Place to Own One

Hannah DeWitt
· 4 min read
is dominating the
electric vehicle
(EV) market as the state with the highest amount of registered EVs by far. But you may be surprised to hear that California isn’t the best state for owning an EV.
According to
, a study showed that another west coast state actually takes that title, despite California’s electric car infrastructure.
California is currently the state with the most registered EVs.

Why do people believe California is the best state for EVs?

It’s a popular opinion that, since so many people in California own an EV, it would be the best state to have one. However,
is actually the number one state for owning an EV, though not because of its infrastructure.
In terms of state EV infrastructure, California is way ahead. There are many other aspects of EV ownership, though, and Washington is excelling in them enough to overtake California.
study looked at 10 metrics surrounding the purchase and ownership of EVs. Half were financial aspects, while the other half were infrastructure related. 
Each state was rated according to the amount of tax incentives and rebates they had for EV owners, average gas prices, charging costs, average commute times, and the average cost of a gas-powered car compared to an EV in the state.
The states were also rated based on how many new charging stations have been added since 2017, the number of charging stations per 100,000 people, EV charging ports per 100 charging stations, EV ports per 100 registered vehicles, and the percentage of EV registrations.
Washington and California rank highly overall, but the states in the top spots have varying ratings across the categories.
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Which states are the best for owning an EV?

Overall, the top five states to own an EV are Washington,
, Colorado, Massachusetts, and California, with Washington in first place. In the last five spots are Alaska, Alabama, South Carolina, Mississippi, and South Dakota, with Alaska being the worst state to be an EV owner.
Washington greatly surpasses other states in financial incentives offered to EV owners. Illinois is the second-best state for EV incentives. However, Washington is not in the top five for EV infrastructure, which is a crucial factor for EV owners.
In terms of the number of EV owners, California leads the pack by a mile with 425,300 registered EVs. This represents 41.7% of the nation's registered EVs, with the second-highest percentage being Florida's 5.7%. Washington follows Florida with 5% of the nation’s EVs.
Even so, California’s electric cars only make up 1.36% of the state’s registered vehicles, meaning the U.S. is still far from a full transition to EVs.

How does the U.S. compare to other countries transitioning to EVs?

Though the U.S. is making progress, it's slow, and well behind efforts in countries like Norway and Iceland with EVs making up over 40% of registered vehicles. Infrastructure growth will be a necessary component for making EVs a more enticing investment.
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