Going Electric: State Policies Can Have an Enormous Effect on the Popularity of Plug-in Vehicles

Imagine an America where the electric car is more popular and practical than the gas guzzler. Actually, you don’t have to imagine it—you just have to read some history. In the 1890s electric carriages outnumbered gas-powered vehicles by 10-to-1 in the United States. During their heyday in 1912, production peaked, and at least 38,000 electric vehicles were registered in the nation. Now, advanced motor and battery technologies, higher gas prices and environmental concerns have spawned a resurgence in electric vehicles. Higher prices at the pump may be the biggest driver. The U.S. Department of Energy expects this year will be the first time U.S. drivers see average gasoline prices above $3 per gallon for the entire year. The department forecasts even higher prices in 2012. This year, two mass-produced plug-in electric vehicles have been released: the hybrid Chevy Volt and the all-electric Nissan Leaf. Many other auto manufacturers—BMW, Ford, Honda, Toyota and Volvo—plan to release plug-ins in the next two years. The number of plug-in electric vehicles on the road is expected to reach 841,000 by 2015, divided between plug-in hybrids and purely electric vehicles, according to Pike Research. How popular these vehicles become will be affected in large measure by state policies. States that offer rebates, tax and infrastructure incentives are likely to see the most people buying the new crop of electric cars. Since electric cars cost more, state and federal incentives make them more affordable compared with gasoline-powered cars.


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  • Media Type: Web
  • Features: Illustrations;
  • Pagination: 4p

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  • Accession Number: 01349607
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Aug 8 2011 2:53PM