A survey from Consumer Reports shows interest in electric vehicles and low-carbon fuels continues to be strong, but help from policymakers and automakers is crucial.
“Automakers need to make more classes of electric vehicles. Not just sedans; we need a whole breadth because people have different needs,” said Quinta Warren, Consumer Reports’ sustainability policy team leader. “We need to make the process of using incentives easy and add more incentives. I can file my taxes and get money back maybe a year after I bought my car. But for some people, that’s not feasible.”
The survey found 71 percent of Americans expressed interest in buying or leasing an EV. But within that group, 14 percent said they would definitely buy or lease an EV — a 10-point increase from the 2020 survey.
The most significant barrier for those not interested in EVs is charging accessibility, said David Butler, Consumer Reports’ strategic communications senior director.
“Charging was definitely the primary concern. It’s interesting that charging was the first concern that we heard before people got into costs,” Butler said. “There are more charging stations today, but we need even more. We want to make sure that lower-income communities aren’t left out.”
The survey also found that people in low-income communities showed a high interest in EVs.
“In nonwhite communities, interest in electric vehicles was generally higher than in white communities. I think that’s important for automakers to know because they don’t necessarily tend to advertise in these communities,” Warren said. “People in Congress and the state level represent these communities, and we need them to understand that they’re being left behind, but they have such a high interest.”
The survey also found that just 25 percent of respondents had previously heard of low-carbon fuels. However, consumer choice in fuels will be necessary, Warren said.
“We want to minimize emissions, whether they’re greenhouse gas emissions or other types of air pollution. So that’s kind of how they go together; electricity is technically a low -carbon fuel,” Warren said. “As we’re transitioning from traditional fuels to cleaner transportation, we need all of these solutions to ease the transition. It’s all about choices.”
Consumer Reports plans to begin sharing the survey findings with stakeholders Thursday. The group will share the findings with automakers and federal officials next week.