Interest in electric cars increases in Midwest along with gas prices

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

While hybrid and electric vehicle sales have increased in recent years, iSeeCars – an online automotive search engine – said specific cities and states with skyrocketing demand for alternative fuel vehicles could be surprising for some with most located in the midwest.

“You expect to see strong hybrid and electric vehicle sales 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 do have the highest percentage of alternative fuel vehicles, the areas with the greatest growth in hybrid and electric vehicle share come from states and cities 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, it said interest in alternative fuel vehicles has increased 65.3% in Nebraska and 75.6% in Colorado.

“It’s pretty amazing that California barely makes the top 10 in terms of hybrid and electric vehicle growth since 2014, even with strong incentives encouraging their purchase,” said Brauer. “Conversely, despite not having any statewide incentives, Mississippi’s EV adoption is growing faster than all other states, and could continue to do so as Nissan has plans to manufacture EVs in its Mississippi plant in the coming years.”

Meanwhile, iSeeCars said interest in alternative fuel vehicles has decreased by 11.3% in South Carolina, 2.8% in South Dakota and has not changed at all in Florida.

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

When it comes to cities, iSeeCars said interest in alternative fuel vehicles increased by 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 amidst places like Columbus, Grand Rapids, and Minneapolis, suggesting the shift from internal combustion engines to hybrid and electric vehicles is no longer located only in big cities,” she said. Brauer.

“Los Angeles, with a growth rate of 70 percent in alternative fuel vehicle market share, doesn’t make the top 15,” Brauer continued. “It’s outperformed in this area by, among others, Birmingham, Alabama, which ranked seventh at a growth rate of 88 percent.”

However, only five metro areas lost a share in alternative fuel vehicles in the past 8 years. iSeeCars said interest decreased by 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. 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 its alternative fuel vehicle market share over the past 8 years,” said Brauer. “South Carolina offers no hybrid or electric vehicle incentives, and the state’s economic statistics suggest the higher cost of hybrid and electric vehicles prices them out of reach for many residents.”

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

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

So the bottom line, iSeeCars said is that the shift from traditional internal combustion engines to hybrids and pure electric vehicles has continued and not just in large coastal cities. It said many automakers plan to end production of all internal combustion engines of the next decade. The move assumes the US consumer will completely 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 nation.

To read the full study, click HERE.

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