With EV sales surging, and the majority of consumers indicating that they’d consider buying an EV such as the award-winning Hyundai Ioniq 5 and blockbuster Ford F-150 Lightning, it’s wise to check incentives for EV ownership, availability of charging stations, and more.
Simply, some parts of the USA are more EV-friendly than others.
Yes, that’s me, ecoXplorer Evelyn Kanter, perched aboard the bed of the EV truck that’s breaking sales records, on a photo stop during a recent test drive.
Here are the top states for EV ownership, according to one of my go-to sources for reliable information, Policy Genius, verified by information from Consumer Reports and elsewhere.
Best states to own an EV
Even with cold winters that may cause EV batteries to drain faster, Vermont earned the fifth spot for its low cost of car insurance. It’s just $1,790 a year, on average, to insure an EV in Vermont, compared to the U.S. average of $2,431, and there’s a relatively high ratio of electric vehicles to total registered vehicles.
The Bay State may be relatively small, but with nearly 2,000 electric vehicle charging stations, it has a high number of chargers per square mile.
Since about one out of every hundred cars on the road is an EV, EV drivers in Massachusetts have lots of company. That means there may be enough EV-friendly mechanics and dealerships offering EVs to go around.
That said, one drawback to EV ownership in Massachusetts is that average cost of electricity is higher than in many other states.
Oregon is another state with a relatively low average cost of car insurance and a high percentage of registered electric vehicles.
It also scored high for laws and incentives to promote electric vehicle ownership: Low- and medium-income Oregonians can get a rebate of up to $5,000 to purchase or lease a plug-in EV.
Like its neighbor to the south, Washington scored well, boosted by a low average cost of electricity and a high percentage of electric vehicles out of the total number of registered cars.
There are more than 50,000 electric vehicles in Washington state – nearly 2% of all cars on the road – so new EV owners will be in good company.
It should be no surprise that California, birthplace of Tesla, Inc., tops the list of best states to own an electric vehicle.
While the average costs of electricity and car insurance are relatively high, California residents have registered more than 425,000 electric vehicles. That means nearly 3% of all cars on the road in California are EVs. And California boasts robust state laws and incentives promoting electric vehicle ownership.
Worst states to own an EV
Arkansas scored at the fifth-worst state in the U.S. for owning an electric vehicle thanks in part to the low percentage of electric cars on the roads — just 0.15% of registered vehicles are electric.
The cost of insuring an electric vehicle in Arkansas was also high, at $2,833 per year, on average (for comparison, the overall average cost of car insurance in Arkansas is just $1,772 a year).
One of the reasons for Kentucky’s poor score is the high cost of insuring an electric vehicle.
Vehicle insurance costs are already higher than average in Kentucky, but the cost of insuring an electric car came out to a whopping $3,115 a year, making it the fourth-most expensive state for insuring an electric car. That cost might help explain why only 0.16% of cars on the road in Kentucky are electric.
3. North Dakota
North Dakota ranked lowest on our list for the ratio of electric vehicles to total registered cars, and it also scored poorly for access to charging stations. The state has only about 60 charging stations in over 70,000 square miles.
Another state with a relative handful of charging stations for its residents, Mississippi has fewer than 800 electric vehicles on the roads. It also lags behind in incentives and laws encouraging EV ownership and alternative fuels.
1. South Dakota
Thus is the absolute least-EV-friendly state on the list. South Dakota scored poorly for its high average cost of car insurance, low access to charging stations, and only a few hundred electric cars on the roads already.
South Dakota also has no incentives on the books that specifically encourage EV ownership — but it does have an annual fee of $50 that plug-in electric vehicle owners must pay each year in addition to registration fees.