Is the U.S. prepared for a surge in electric vehicles?


(NewsNation) — California lawmakers have been pushing for the phaseout of gas-powered cars for years and the auto industry is steering toward electric vehicles, but it comes with concerns over the existing infrastructure, such as public charging stations.

The California Air Resources Board on Thursday voted to ban the sale of new gas-powered cars, and Gov. Gavin Newsom said the goal to ditch gas vehicles by 2035 will be a game-changer.

The end goal, however, has stirred debate about whether cities are prepared to keep up with a surge of electric vehicles. Already, Black and Hispanic communities are disproportionately impacted by the uneven distribution of charging stations, according to a 2021 Washington Post report.

Nationwide, California, New York and Florida boast the most public electric charging stations, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. Alaska has the fewest, followed by South Dakota, Wyoming and North Dakota.

Infrastructure expert Tony Dutzik, a senior policy analyst with Frontier Group, credits California for backing the 2035 goal with an ongoing electric vehicle infrastructure project, with hundreds of additional stations in the pipeline.

The new bi-partisan infrastructure bill is doling out $5 billion for a national electric vehicle charging network.

“There’s a lot of work to do between now and 2035,” Dutzik said.

California already has the nation’s highest number of electric vehicles on the road with well over a million.

To the north, Washington has an even more aggressive plan to end gas-powered vehicle sales by 2030, five years ahead of California.

The majority of American adults support incentives to drive up the use of electric or hybrid vehicles, according to a recent Pew Research Center survey.

They’re divided, however, over whether they would personally consider buying an electric vehicle the next time they’re shopping for a car. A majority oppose phasing out gas-powered vehicles in the years ahead, the Pew study found.

Although interest in electric vehicles is growing, the U.S. represents only about 17% of the world’s total stock of 10.2 million EVs, according to a separate June 2021 Pew report. China owns the most.

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