California Leads the Way in Electric Vehicle Sales

It seems the state of California’s generous electric vehicle incentives have paid off. According to a release issued by the U.S. Energy Information Administration, the golden state accounts for nearly half of all electric vehicle sales in the U.S.

The U.S. Energy Information Administration reported that electric vehicle sales are increasing in the U.S., but still only account for 0.7 percent of new vehicle sales in the nation. In 2013, there were 226 million registered vehicles in the U.S., but only 70,000 of these vehicles were battery electric vehicles and only 104,000 were plug-in hybrid electric vehicles. Even in California, where electric vehicle owners get significant rebates and are granted single-occupancy travel in car pool lanes, only five out of every 1,000 registered vehicles is electric.

Besides California, the only other state in the country that had more than three electric vehicles per 1,000 registered vehicles was Washington State. Other states with notable electric vehicle sales include Oregon, Georgia, and the District of Columbia, all of which have between two and three electric vehicles per 1,000 registered vehicles.

The U.S. Energy Information Administration’s data shows an obvious correlation between electric vehicle sales and economic incentives. California, for example, provides rebates of up to $2,500 for electric vehicles and $1,500 for plug-in hybrid electric vehicles. Georgia offers a tax credit of 20 percent of vehicle cost, up to $5,000, for zero emission vehicles powered by electricity or hydrogen fuel cells, and the District of Columbia offers a 50 percent tax credit of up to $19,000.

California is also a long-time leader in vehicle emission regulation and is the first state to adopt a zero emission vehicle mandate requiring automakers to meet a minimum sales requirement of zero emission vehicles. Within ten years, the mandate requires that 15 percent of all light-duty vehicles sold in California be electric or fuel-cell powered.

Nine other states have followed California’s lead and adopted a similar mandate, including Connecticut, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, and Vermont. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, these states account for almost 25 percent of all light-duty vehicle sales in the U.S.