National Center for Sustainable Transportation
Muehlegger, Erich and David Rapson (2018) NCST Research Report: Understanding the Distributional Impacts of Vehicle Policy: Who Buys New and Used Alternative Vehicles?. Institute of Transportation Studies, University of California, Davis, Research Report UCD-ITS-RR-18-10
Understanding who is buying electric vehicles, how much they are being driven, and to what extent policies are benefiting lowâ€income households is central to the sustainability of alternative vehicle policies. This research project explored the plug-in electric vehicle (PEV) market, including both Battery Electric Vehicles (BEVs) and Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles (PHEVs), and the sociodemographic characteristics of purchasing households. The results confirm that low-income households exhibit a lower share of PEV purchases than they do for conventional, internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles. This result raises questions about barriers to PEV adoption among low-income and minority ethnic populations. By comparing outcomes in the ICE, hybrid, and PEV markets across income and ethnic groups, the researchers tested whether price discrimination and barriers to market access are higher in PEV markets for low-income and minority ethnic groups. They found that, overall, they are not, although there are mixed results for the used PEV market.