Most People in Alabama Drive Alone, What Does This Mean for EV Adoption?

Alex Healey
· 4 min read
A recent study has found that
has the highest percentage of drivers who commute to work alone.
Considering ‘The Yellowhammer State’ is known for its friendly people and close-knit communities, why do Alabamans not carpool more often? Is this culture affecting EV adoption across the state?
Read on to find out, and if you are looking for
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Why don’t people in Alabama carpool more?

No carpooling in Alabama

A study by Jerry’s data team has found that 85.89% of Alabama commuters drive to work alone. This is the highest percentage of any state; almost 10% higher than the national average, and 33% higher than New York, which is our nation’s carpooling capital.
So what’s going on here? Alabama’s residents are notoriously friendly, and always willing to help a neighbor.
Well, first of all, many Alabaman’s live and work in rural areas, meaning colleagues are less likely to live close to one another than in other states.
Additionally, a high percentage of jobs are blue collar, with multiple small work sites, rather than hundreds of people all heading to the same office block every day. This is evidenced by the fact that pickup trucks account for over 20% of vehicle registrations in the state, which is way higher than the national average.
Finally, Alabama’s car insurance rates and gas prices are both lower than the national average, meaning driving is more affordable than places like New York. There is simply less incentive to save money by sharing a ride to and from work.
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Alabama’s car culture does not help EV sales

So what does Alabama’s car culture mean for the adoption of electric vehicles?
California and Massachusetts have announced that gas engines will be phased out by 2035, and many car makers, including General Motors, have committed to stop selling gas-powered cars before then.
It appears the electric revolution is well under way, and yet, according to
, Alabama has just a 0.7% share of America’s EV registrations.
Some of the reasons for this slow adoption are the same as those behind the low carpooling rates. Gas is relatively inexpensive here and in rural communities, range anxiety is causing Alabamans to shy away from the new technology.
These concerns are not without merit. The state is ranked 48th for the number of charging stations per 10,000 registered EVs.
Also, the state’s appetite for pickups cannot yet be sated by EVs, because the release of Tesla’s Cybertruck and the Ford F-150 Lightning have both been pushed back to 2022.

Ideological aversion to electric cars

On top of the practical reasons cited above, in deep red Alabama, many drivers have an ideological aversion to electric cars.
cites a CBS News poll which shows only 15% of Republican voters would buy an EV. Over half of Republican survey respondents would not even consider it.
This skepticism pervades politics too, with Alabama’s elected officials refusing to follow California’s lead as a Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV state), which seeks to achieve long-term emission reduction goals.
Alabama’s representatives also opposed Joe Biden’s $1.3 trillion infrastructure bill, which has reserved close to $80 million for EV stations across the state.
Still, following the passing of the bill, EV proponents are optimistic that attitudes will begin to shift in Alabama.
Some municipal leaders have expressed support for the EV market in recent months, hoping to persuade auto manufacturers to bring jobs to the region. EV ranges and infrastructure are continuing to improve, and the cars are becoming more affordable.
While it might be hard to imagine rural Alabamans plugging in a Tesla instead of filling up at a gas station, electric cars will overcome ideological barriers as soon as they are demonstrably cheaper, and more reliable, than their gas counterparts.
Other southern states have shown that attitudes can change. Texas, for example, has a lot of cultural similarities to Alabama, and yet it now has the second highest share of electric vehicles behind California.

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