By TOM GANTERT AND BRETT ROWLAND
THE CENTER SQUARE
(The Center Square) — Republicans are attacking U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg for comments he made about electric vehicles on an MSNBC talk show.
Mr. Buttigieg was discussing the high cost of gas in the U.S. on Aug. 4 when he said, “The best thing we can do for the medium and long term is make sure Americans have more options through greater fuel efficiency and greater access to vehicles that don’t require gasoline at all so that Americans don’t have to worry about what is happening in some middle eastern capital or foreign war zone.”
But the question for American consumers is can they afford to buy an electric vehicle.
The median household income in the U.S. was $64,994 from 2016-2020, according to the U.S. Census.
Studies show people who buy electric vehicles are more affluent than the median U.S. household.
“The average EV owner continues to be male, aged 40-55 years old, with an annual household income of more than $100,000 (2019),” according to a Fuels Institute 2021 report. A BlastPoint report found that the annual income of a family “ready to buy an EV” was $150,000 in 2021.
Some of the lowest-priced electric vehicles are the 2022 Nissan Leaf with a starting price $27,400. It has a range of 149 miles before it needs to be recharged, according to Edmunds. The 2022 Mini Cooper SE sells for $29,900 with a range of 114 miles.
The Tesla Model Y was the best-selling electric car of 2021, according to Car and Driver. That car sells for $75,990 in 2022, according to Kelley Blue Book.
State government is providing subsidies for people to buy electric vehicles. There were just eight states in the U.S. that didn’t offer such subsidies, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
“Electrified vehicles” – which includes battery, plug-in hybrid and cars with electric motors that assist gas-powered engines – accounted for 12.6% of new vehicle sales in the second quarter of 2022, according to Cox Automotive.
“The average price for a new electric vehicle – over $64,000 according to Kelley Blue Book estimates – is well above the industry average and more aligned with luxury prices than mainstream prices,” according to Kelley Blue Book.