AAA: 1 in 5 drivers eyeing electric vehicles for next purchase


More Americans are considering getting behind the wheel of an electric car when they buy their next vehicle, according to a new study from AAA.

That report revealed one in five drivers in the United States, or 20 percent, are looking to choose an electric vehicle. That sums up to 50 million drivers, leaving 200 million drivers sticking with gasoline.

“Today, electric vehicles have mainstream appeal,” AAA’s director of Automotive Engineering, Greg Brannon, said in a statement. “While concern for the environment is still a major motivator, AAA found U.S. drivers are also attracted to the lower long-term costs and advanced technology features that many of these vehicles offer.”

The head of Plug-In Texas, a Central Texas group formed to raise awareness about alternative sources of energy to power cars, said he was excited about the upward trend in electric vehicle use nationwide.

“As the price of batteries drops you’re going to see the cars become more affordable too,” Plug-In Texas President Russ Keene said.

AAA Automotive Research Center manager Megan McKernan said it was “great to see the changing technology, and the more variety of choices that consumers have.”

Meanwhile, in Texas, fossil fuels are king. Some car dealers said they receive occasional requests for electric vehicles or hybrids, but those requests are rare.

“Not a huge influx here yet,” Cars America salesman Stephen Wood said. “There are other places with the rise in gas prices it is going to be a huge market for them, just it’s going to be a little bit slower here in Texas.”

Keene said Texas lawmakers have taken notice of the advances in technology that comes with electric vehicles, and emissions that come with traditional vehicles. He said one challenge is long distance travel. Those who trek across the state in electric vehicles have to make a stop to recharge. That works more successfully when more regions install charging stations.

“I think most Texans could use an electric vehicle as their daily driver in the not too distant future,” Keene added.

A driver takes a Tesla model for a test drive. Courtesy: AAA
An electric vehicle charging station in Austin on May 8, 2018. (Nexstar Photo/Wes Rapaport)

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