Number of U.S. EV Charging Ports will Soon Surpass Gas Stations

Ben Guess
Updated on Jun 27, 2022 · 6 min read
Key Insights
  • Today there are approximately 108,000 public EV charging ports in the U.S., compared to an estimated 110,000-150,000 gas stations. 
  • Nationally, there are 21 EVs per public charging port, while there are 2,500 gas-powered cars per gas station.
  • With a projected 35 million EVs on the road by 2030, the U.S. will need to install about 478 charging ports every day for the next eight years to build the necessary infrastructure to support them.
  • The three states with the best ratios of charging ports to EVs (meaning EV drivers in these states have more available ports for charging) are North Dakota (1:1.6), Wyoming (1:1.9), and West Virginia (1:2.2). The three states with the worst ratios are New Jersey (1:17.9), Hawaii (1:13.9), and Arizona (1:13.3). EV drivers in these states may need to wait to charge as there are fewer available ports per EV.

There is Nearly One Public Charging Port for Every Gas Station in the U.S.

There are over 2 million vehicles (EVs) registered in the U.S., and charging station builders are working hard to keep up with increasing demand. New research from Jerry finds that in 2021, there were about 108,000 public charging ports in the U.S. — nearly one port for every gas station in the U.S., of which there is an estimated 111,000-150,000. The number of gas stations has been steadily declining for the last 20 years (though experts cite different rates of decline), and the number of charging ports increases daily with companies like 7-Eleven promising to build 500 charging ports in 2022 and the Biden Infrastructure Bill targeting 500,000 stations by 2030. It’s clear that the number of EV charging ports will soon surpass the number of gas stations.
According to a report from the U.S. Department of Energy, the ideal ratio of EVs to charging stations is 40 Level 2 charging ports and 3.4 DC fast chargers (DCFC) per 1,000 EVs. (A DCFC charger usually has 3 ports.) Currently, there are 41 Level 2 charging ports and 5.7 DCFC charging ports per 1,000 EVs, respectively, or about 21 EVs for every charging port.
Conversely, there are 2,514 internal combustion engine (ICE) cars per gas station.
There is no ideal ratio of ICE cars to gas stations, but the worse ratio of cars to fuel stations still works as ICE cars have a wider range than EVs. An average EV can go about 259 miles on a fully-charged battery, but an average mid-size passenger ICE car can go 360 miles on a full tank. This is 30% further without worrying about fueling or charging. But this is changing–  newer EV models like the Tesla Model S can go as high as 405 miles on a full battery, and earlier this year, Mercedes unveiled an all-electric Vision EQXX car at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) that gets a 648-mile range per charge. Detroit battery maker Our Next Energy’s Gemini batter even powered a Tesla Model S 752 miles on a single charge. 
EVs also take significantly longer to charge than an ICE vehicle occupies a gas pump. While an ICE car can be filled up in a few minutes, charging an EV battery can take anywhere from 30 minutes to 40 hours. The ratio of ICE vehicles to gas stations is much higher than that of EVs to chargers, but the time spent charging or refueling either vehicle can be a difference of hours or even days. 

The Number of Public Charging Ports Won’t be Sufficient if EV Sales Increase as Projected

EV sales are climbing rapidly every year, and the number of EVs on the road is projected to reach 35 million by 2030. In order to support this influx of EVs, the U.S. will need to build a combined total of nearly 1.5 million new charging ports. To reach this number of ports by 2030, about 478 charging stations will need to be built every day for the next eight years.
But many EV owners do have at-home chargers that supplement public charging infrastructure. The department of energy estimates 4,500 private charging stations, but the actual number may be much higher. Still, increasing the number of charging stations is a public and private effort. 

In States with More EVs, Public Charging Availability Drops

The number of available EV charging ports varies state by state. The three states with the best ratios of charging ports to EVs are North Dakota (1:1.6), Wyoming (1:1.9), and West Virginia (1:2.2), which means there are more charging ports available to EV drivers in these states. The three states with the worst ratios are New Jersey (1:17.9), Hawaii (1:13.9), and Arizona (1:13.3), indicating that EV drivers in these states may have a difficult time finding an available port to charge and may either need to wait or rely heavily on private home chargers.
North Dakota and Wyoming have the lowest numbers of registered EVs, and therefore have a better ratio of charging ports to EVs. In states with wide expanses of rural areas, drivers may feel more range anxiety — anxiety about running out of battery in an EV — and be less likely to purchase one.
New Jersey and Arizona, on the other hand, both have high numbers of registered EVs. Hawaii falls closer to the middle in terms of registered EVs, but has the second-worst ratio of charging ports to EVs. One reason for this may be that people in these states are purchasing EVs faster than supporting infrastructure can be built. As the number of registered EVs increases, it remains to be seen whether or not the charging infrastructure can keep up with EV demand.

Conclusion

As EV sales increase, public charging port infrastructure must keep up. However, in addition to federal funding, several corporations are planning to increase their counts of charging stations as well. 7-11 has already promised to install 500 charging ports by the end of 2022, and BP plans to increase its number of charging points from 11,000 to 70,000 by 2030. Some convenience stores have already begun including chargers alongside traditional fuel pumps, and may adapt to further suit the needs of EV drivers who need to wait for a charge. 
Automakers are changing, too. General Motors and Volvo are both committed to fully electric futures, and more will likely follow suit. As the number of EVs manufactured increases, the U.S. charging infrastructure needs to change and adapt at increasingly higher rates to keep up with the new electric future.

Methodology

Jerry analyzed the U.S. Department of Energy data in the Alternative Fuels Data Center. Public EVSE ports were used as a count of public charging ports. It is important to note that this study uses public charging ports and not public charging stations, which may contain multiple charging ports.

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