The White House has been pushing Americans to buy electric vehicles in response to record-high gas prices, but is that a realistic option for most people?
We crunched the numbers for President Biden.
WHAT THEY’RE SAYING
Biden’s ban on Russian oil and gas imports this week over the war in Ukraine has sent gas prices — which were already on the rise — soaring to all-time record highs.
- Amid criticism of his domestic energy policy, the president and his top aides have doubled down on their support for renewable energy and particularly electric vehicles, or EVs.
- “Clean transportation can bring significant cost savings for the American people as well,” Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said Monday. “
- “Last month, we announced a $5 billion investment to build out a nationwide electric vehicle charging network so the people from rural to suburban to urban communities can all benefit from the gas savings of driving an EV.”
HOW MUCH DO ELECTRIC CARS COST?
While EVs have come down in price in recent years, even the cheapest models cost more than most Americans earn in a year.
The average sale price of an EV in April of last year was $51,532 — $11,000 more than a full-size gas-powered car and $30,000 more than a compact vehicle, according to Kelley Blue Book.
- The standard Nissan Leaf, which is among the cheapest EVs in the U.S. market, has an effective base price of $20,875 once you factor in the government’s $7,500 federal tax credit.
- But the car is too small for many families and can only go 150 miles before it needs a charge.
- A recent study by AAA found that, on average, it costs $600 more a year to own an EV than a gas-powered counterpart despite saving on fuel and maintenance.
The annual median personal income in the U.S. is about $36,000.
Another hurdle to mass adoption of EVs in the U.S. is limited access to charging stations for many Americans.
U.S. gas stations outnumber EV charging stations by more than 3 to 1: 136,000 versus 44,000.
- EVs often take 45 minutes or longer to charge, compared to about 10 minutes to get a tank of gas.
- And icy temperature can cut EVs’ EPA-estimated range nearly in half, per AAA, raising concerns about drivers being stranded in a storm.
BIG PICTURE: Those who hope EVs will reduce U.S. dependence on foreign regimes may be disappointed.
- According to Fox Business, a “surge in demand for EVs would necessitate greater reliance on countries like Congo, Russia, and China which mine” raw materials like cobalt and lithium that are use in the cars’ batteries.