Debunking Myths About EVs and Incentives
Originally passed in 2008, and expanded in 2009, the federal EV tax credit is a consumer purchase incentive designed to stimulate the EV industry and deliver the benefits of emission-free cars to Americans. The credit offset up to $7,500 of the initial purchase of any new light-duty plug-in electric vehicle, phasing out once that manufacturer had sold 200,000 vehicles.
Since its creation, the EV tax credit has faced pushback from oil and gas companies and organizations such as the Koch Brothers, who are committed to preserving their market share and keeping EVs off the road. As Elliot Negin of the Union of Concerned Scientists recently wrote, the “oil and gas industry’s anti-EV tax credit campaign is a prime example of how fossil fuel interests construct a disinformation echo chamber to drown out government efforts to address the climate crisis.”
These myths are widespread but, given they have no basis in fact, are easily debunked. Here, we thoroughly debunk some of the greatest hits of the anti-EV campaign.
top EV Myths
MYTH: Americans are not interested in transitioning to EVs.
FACT: 77 percent of American voters have a positive opinion of electric cars, despite only about one in five saying they’ve heard “a lot” about them.
FACT: In 2018, the United States saw 81% growth in EV sales compared to 2017, and total U.S. EV sales surpassed a million. As of the end of 2018, an EV was the fifth best-selling passenger car in America.
FACT: Nearly three-quarters of American voters overall (and 71 percent of Republican voters) say a tax incentive makes them more likely to purchase an electric vehicle.
MYTH: EVs, and their associated incentives, are only utilized by the rich.
FACT: There are now nearly 40 EV models available for purchase at a variety of price points. The average new vehicle in the U.S. cost $36,000 in 2018, roughly the same price as a long-range EV such as the Chevy Bolt, Nissan Leaf Plus, and Tesla Model 3, all of which were introduced in the last two years. With incentives, more Americans than ever have access to these cars.
FACT: An oft-cited “study” that claims a majority of EVs are purchased by households with incomes over $100,000 cherry picks years-old data from 2014, when the EV market was still in its infancy and nearly none of the mid-range models that are available today had been introduced.
FACT: EVs cost significantly less to drive over time. The average cost of an EV “fill-up” is equivalent to roughly $1/gallon of gas.
FACT: Electric vehicle (EV) maintenance costs are estimated to be over 40% lower than that of typical vehicles powered by a combustion engine.
FACT: Leased vehicles make up more than half of the electric car market. The EV tax credit can reduce lease payments by up to $200 per month, effectively making electric cars affordable for many more drivers.
MYTH: Electric vehicles are worse for the environment than the average internal combustion vehicles.
FACT: This is a particularly ludicrous claim based on a study from a Koch-backed research group. In reality, EVs offer at least a 50% reduction of carbon emissions throughout their lifespan and they are no more demanding of resources in manufacturing than any other vehicle.
FACT: Putting more electric cars on the road is one of the most powerful ways to mitigate the effects of climate change, reducing the 15.6% of global carbon emissions that come from transportation.
FACT: Thanks to a rapidly decarbonizing power sector, EVs will actually get cleaner over time.
MYTH: EVs are harder to own and do less than traditional ICE vehicles.
FACT: Several different manufacturers have brought to market mainstream vehicles with a range of over 300 miles and it is reasonable to expect this trend to continue as battery prices continue to drop.
FACT: 48,000 charging stations have been deployed nationwide to date, with thousands more being deployed every month.
FACT: A study conducted by Applied Energy in 2018 to measure total cost of ownership across five countries showed that in a five-year analysis, fully electric vehicles are the least expensive to own and operate.
FACT: EVs and PHEVs can be charged overnight with access to a traditional outlet (AC Level 1 equipment), requiring no additional cost or installation, and meeting daily charge needs. If AC Level 2 equipment is desired, many state incentives currently exist that can help offset the cost of installation.
FACT: Driving on electricity is far cheaper (about $1 per gallon-equivalent), stable,and less subject to price spikes than gasoline. With lower maintenance costs as well, owing to fewer moving parts, even if initial prices are higher consumers are saving money quickly.