Interest in electric cars rises in the Midwest along with gas prices

TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) – With gasoline prices on the rise, a recent study found that so is interest in alternative fuel vehicles – especially in the Midwest.

While sales of hybrid and electric vehicles have increased in recent years, iSeeCars — an online automotive search engine — said specific cities and states with growing demand for alternative fuel vehicles may be surprising to some, with most of them located in midwest

“You expect to see strong sales of hybrid and electric vehicles in states like California, Oregon and Washington, or in cities like San Francisco, Los Angeles or Seattle,” said iSeeCars executive analyst Karl Brauer. “While those areas have the highest share of alternative fuel vehicles, the areas with the largest increases in the share of hybrid and electric vehicles come from states and cities that few would expect.”

According to iSeeCars, interest in alternative fuel vehicles since 2014 has increased 240.9% in Mississippi, 116.5% in Hawaii, 97% in Utah, 84.3% in Maryland and 79.1% in Wyoming. Closer to home, he said interest in alternative fuel vehicles is up 65.3% in Nebraska and 75.6% in Colorado.

“It’s pretty amazing that California barely made the top 10 in terms of hybrid and electric vehicle growth since 2014, even with strong incentives encouraging their purchase,” Brauer said. “On the other hand, despite having no statewide incentives, electric vehicle adoption in Mississippi is growing faster than all other states and may continue to do so as Nissan has plans to manufacture EVs at its Mississippi plant in the coming years.”

Meanwhile, iSeeCars said interest in alternative fuel vehicles is down 11.3% in South Carolina, 2.8% in South Dakota and unchanged in Florida.

“Florida previously had an above-average adoption rate of electric vehicles, and our data suggests that demand has remained stable but not increased,” Brauer said. “Of course, Florida’s 0% growth rate is still ahead of South Dakota and South Carolina, which actually lost market share to alternative fuel vehicles between 2014 and 2022.”

When it comes to cities, iSeeCars said interest in alternative fuel vehicles increased 130.4% in Houston, 105.3% in Salt Lake City, 99.7% in Detroit, 98.8% in Sacramento and 98.5% in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. Closer to home, interest increased in Denver by 77.7%.

“Once again we see expected regions like Phoenix, Dallas and San Francisco sitting in the middle of places like Columbus, Grand Rapids and Minneapolis, suggesting that the transition from internal combustion engines to hybrid and electric vehicles is no longer happening alone in big cities,” he said. Brewer.

“Los Angeles, with a 70 percent growth rate in alternative fuel vehicle market share, does not make the top 15,” Brauer continued. “It was surpassed in this field by, among others, Birmingham, Alabama, which ranked seventh with an 88 percent growth rate.”

However, only five metro areas lost share in alternative fuel vehicles in the past 8 years. iSeeCars said interest was down 27.9% in the Greenville-Spartanburg, NC area, 1.5% in the Orland-Daytona Beach area, 1.5% in the Jacksonville area, 0.7% in the Albuquerque-Santa Fe area and 0.2% in the Tampa-St. Saint Petersburg area.

“The worst cities were essentially flat in terms of hybrid and electric vehicle market share, except for Greenville-Spartanburg, which lost more than 25 percent of alternative fuel vehicle market share over the 8 years last,” Brauer said. “South Carolina offers no incentives for hybrid or electric vehicles, and the state’s economic statistics suggest that the higher cost of hybrid and electric vehicles puts them out of reach for many residents.”

In Topeka, iSeeCars said the most popular hybrid and electric vehicles are as follows:

  • Toyota RAV4 Hybrid
  • Toyota Highlander Hybrid
  • Toyota Prius
  • Kia Niro
  • Toyota Avalon Hybrid

So the bottom line, said iSeeCars, is that the shift from traditional internal combustion engines to hybrids and pure electric vehicles has continued, and not just in big coastal cities. He said many automakers plan to end production of all internal combustion engines next decade. The move assumes that the American consumer will fully embrace alternative fuel vehicles in the next 10 years.

However, iSeeCars noted that the goal may be overly optimistic by both automakers and government regulators, but there is strong evidence of growing interest in the country.

To read the full study, click HERE.

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