Publication Detail

Understanding Variations in U.S. Plug-In Electric Vehicle Markets


Research Report

Sustainable Transportation Energy Pathways (STEPS), Electric Vehicle Research Center

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Suggested Citation:
Vergis, Sydney and Belinda S. Chen (2014) Understanding Variations in U.S. Plug-In Electric Vehicle Markets. Institute of Transportation Studies, University of California, Davis, Research Report UCD-ITS-RR-14-25

Plug-in electric vehicles (PEVs) offer the potential for several energy and environmental benefits including reduced emissions of greenhouse gases and integration with use of domestically produced clean and renewable electricity. Efforts to promote PEVs have thus been increasing in the United States, both nationally and at the state level. However, market penetration rates of PEVs between states have been highly variable. The objective of this study is to better understand the full range of social, economic, and/or policy factors that are influencing statewide PEV sales rates for the purpose of beginning to build a quantitative understanding of market relationships and help decision-makers create more informed policy. We collected a variety of data on these factors for all 50 states. Our regression model found that the number of publicly available charging stations, environmentalism, gasoline and electricity prices, education level, vehicle miles traveled per capita, HOV lane access, and the presence of purchase incentives to be significantly correlated with PEV market shares in U.S. states in 2013. Results suggest that a combination of social, economic, and policy factors are needed to support early PEV markets. While singular variables may not be enough to drive statewide PEV markets; policy approaches that combine options, such as HOV lane access and charging infrastructure investments, may have positive feedbacks on market shares. Prior to developing PEV-related policy, future research should include developing this analysis further into a time-series based study that differentiates between PEV vehicle types.