Disparities in EV charging persist in US neighborhoods


Illustration of a card in the form of a lightning bolt

Image: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Electric vehicle (EV) chargers are easier to find in whiter, more affluent neighborhoods nationwide, according to analysis by Axios.

Why it matters: Automakers and legislators are push electric vehicles as a cleaner alternative to conventional cars.

  • However, disparities in charging infrastructure threaten to limit who can enjoy the benefits of the generational shift away from internal combustion engines, such as cleaner air and lower long-term costs.
  • Charge access concerns are one of the reasons biggest raids which prevents more car buyers from switching to electric cars – along with high prices for electric vehicles.

Using the numbers: According to our analysis of the top 35 US cities, majority white counties are about 1.4 times as likely as majority nonwhite counties to have a charger, while counties with chargers are about 1.14 times as affluent as those without chargers of EV sales nationwide.

  • Racial disparities in charging access are particularly pronounced in certain cities and metropolitan areas.
  • In Philadelphia, for example, majority white counties are 3.9 times more likely to have a charging station. They are 2.8 times as likely in Chicago and 2.6 times as likely in New York.
  • In each of these cities, white majority counties are about as likely to have a gas station as nonwhite majority counties.

Yes but: Elsewhere, disparities in fees are less pronounced.

  • In San Francisco (a major hub for electric vehicle ownership), Dallas, and Portland, Oregon, for example, chargers are about as common in white-majority counties as in other boroughs.

Methodology: Our analysis relied on EV market share data from S&P Global Mobility and charger location information from the US Department of Energy.

Reality check: Charging is just one hurdle when it comes to electric car equity.

  • The price is also a major concern. According to the Kelley Blue Book, the average electric vehicle sold for $61,448 in December, putting them outside the budgets of many car buyers — although they’re generally cheaper to run over the long run and government incentives can lower ownership costs.
  • The used car market is growing but still limited.

Something to see: The federal government is seeking to curb some of these injustices under a program that is pumping $5 billion into a Nationwide charging network for electric vehicles and provides an additional $2.5 billion in grants for “community-based” charging infrastructure.

  • The Biden administration says 40% of the benefits of those investments should go to “disadvantaged communities” — by providing jobs, cleaner air and hopefully more chargers.



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