Electric vehicles (EVs) are becoming increasingly popular around the world. However, some places are more EV-friendly than others because of financial or convenience reasons. In this article, we’ll break down what factors make a place more or less suitable to own an EV, as well as call out some of the best states in the U.S. for electric car ownership.
Best states to own an EV
California, Vermont, Washington, and Colorado are all great states to own an EV in for a variety of reasons, from the cost of electricity to the availability of charging stations.
Importantly, this doesn’t mean that other states are bad for EV ownership; you can save money with an EV regardless of which state you live in. However, switching to an EV is especially financially attractive and convenient money in some areas of the country. As electric vehicles become more and more common and car manufacturers continue to release new options, performance and cost will only continue to improve.
Whether or not your state is a good place for an EV also depends on your goals – for some, financial incentives are a key driver of deciding to buy an EV, while others care most about the availability of nearby charging stations.
Below, we’ll break down the main factors for deciding how good a state is for owning an EV.
What factors make a state a good place to own an EV?
There are three main factors to consider when determining whether a state is a good market for an EV: electricity rates, number of charging stations, and availability of financial incentives.
Electricity rates: lower is better
Electric cars don’t use gas, so you won’t need to go to the gas station to fuel up. However, you’ll still need to buy “fuel,” or electricity, to charge your EV. Thus, charging an EV in states with low electricity rates allows you to maximize your fuel savings. According to the Energy Information Administration (EIA), states like Louisiana, Idaho, Washington, Tennessee, and Arkansas have some of the lowest electricity rates in the country, so charging your EV will cost less in these states relative to states with higher prices for electricity (e.g. most of the Northeast states.)
Some manufacturers and car comparison sites will use the term “eGallon” when talking about the cost of fueling an EV. An eGallon is representative of the amount of electricity your EV uses to travel the same distance as a standard car would use a gallon of gasoline for. States with lower local electricity prices will have a lower cost per eGallon – keep an eye out for this metric as you’re comparing the cost of charging an EV in one state versus another.
How many charging stations are around you?
Gas stations are everywhere, but electric vehicle chargers are still hard to come by in many places. According to the Alternative Fuels Data Center (AFDC), California, New York, Florida, Texas, and Washington have the most charging stations in the country (in that order). On a per-capita basis, other states like Vermont, Oregon, and Colorado rise to the top of the list, with more charging stations per person.
Perhaps more important for any individual car buyer is finding EV charging stations the stations near you. Fortunately, the AFDC also has a map resource displaying all of the actual locations of chargers around the country that you can explore.
Just like with solar panels, federal, state, and local financial incentives can be an important deciding factor in choosing to drive an electric car. States like Colorado, California, Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Maryland (and more!) have generous financial incentives that can save you thousands on the purchase of an EV. Check out the AFDC’s helpful webpage for state-by-state incentive listings for electric cars.
Electric car financial incentives can come in a few different forms. There are federal tax credits (such as the Qualified Plug-in Electric Drive Motor Vehicle Tax Credit), state tax credits, and state rebate programs. For example, in California, you can get a $2,500 rebate for buying or leasing an EV or plug-in hybrid vehicle, and in Colorado, you can get up to a $4,000 tax credit with the purchase of a new electric vehicle.
Pair solar panels with your electric car for even more savings
If you want to save as much money as possible with your EV, you should consider charging it with low-cost, renewable electricity from a home solar panel system. On the EnergySage Marketplace, you can compare up to seven solar installation options from qualified, local solar installers. If you plan on switching to an EV in the near future, simply note it in your account so that installers quote a solar panel system large enough to meet your charging needs. If you’d prefer to start with an instant estimate of your solar savings, try our Solar Calculator.