Hybrid and electric vehicle (EV) demand is gaining traction in rural areas of the United States, where EV adoption has historically been limited due to shortcomings in charging infrastructure, a lack of incentives and high sticker prices.
Mississippi, Hawaii and Utah logged the largest growth in alternative fuel vehicle share in 2022 compared with 2014, according to a study conducted by iSeeCars, an online automotive search engine and research website. The study compared more than 16.3 million, 1-to-5-year-old, used cars sold in 2014 with vehicles sold between May 2021 and April 2022, and analyzed the share of hybrid and EVs for every U.S. state and the country’s top 50 metropolitan areas.
Mississippi’s alternative fuel vehicle share increased 240.9% to a 3.1% share in 2022, up from 0.9% in 2014., The national share average is 3.4%, according to the study. Back in 2014, the national average of EV market share was 2.2%.
EV adoption has widely gained momentum in urban areas, where charging station infrastructure is robust. Mississippi, meanwhile, had just 172 charging stations as of July 2019, ranking 43rd in the U.S., according to data released by the Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy. By comparison, the U.S. has 68,809 charging stations across the country, with California housing 32.8% of those stations.
Still, people in Mississippi are becoming more aware of the benefits of either hybrid or electric vehicles and are willing to give them a try, iSeeCars Executive Analyst Karl Brauer told Auto Finance News.
“In spite of the lack of population density, the lack of infrastructure and the lack of state incentives, there are people willing to try [electric and hybrid] vehicles,” Brauer said.
California, Washington state and Hawaii round out the top three states by alternative fuel vehicle share in 2022, according to the study. California’s alternative fuel vehicle share stood at 8.3% in 2022, up 75.2% compared with 2014, while Washington’s share increased 65.9% to 6.3%. Hawaii’s share reached 5.2%, up 116.5% from 2014.
South Carolina and South Dakota are the only states that saw a drop in alternative fuel vehicle share in 2022 compared with 2014, largely due to high EV prices that are impeding consumer adoption, Brauer said. South Carolina’s alternative fuel vehicle share dropped to 1.9% — a 11.3% decline — and South Dakota’s share dropped 2.8% to 1.3%.
“The price of these vehicles restricts their access to certain markets and certain income levels, where you see the market share dropping,” Brauer said. “In the future, the way OEMs are going to have to solve this is in the cost of producing the vehicles.”
Overall, alternative fuel vehicle share still remains low due to lack of dealer incentives and EV infrastructure, he said.
EV and hybrid vehicle share will likely become more consistent across the country down the road, with California expected to maintain its spot among the fastest-growing states for alternative fuel vehicle share, Brauer said.
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