General

Buttigieg says electric vehicles are the ‘best’ solution to high gas prices, but are they affordable?

Buttigieg says electric vehicles are the 'best' solution to high gas prices, but are they affordable?
HAPPY PHOTO
Pete Buttigieg

By TOM GANTERT AND BRETT ROWLAND
THE CENTER SQUARE

(The Center Square) – Republicans are attacking US Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg for comments he made about electric vehicles on an MSNBC talk show.

Discussing the high cost of gas in the US on Aug. 4, Mr. Buttigieg said, “The best thing we can do for the medium and long term is to give Americans more options through better fuel economy and better access. to vehicles that require no gas at all, so Americans don’t have to worry about what’s happening in some Middle Eastern capital or some foreign war zone.”

But the question for US consumers is whether they can afford to buy an electric vehicle.

The median household income in the US was $64,994 from 2016-2020, according to the US Census.

Studies show that people who buy electric vehicles are wealthier than the average American household.

“The average EV owner is still male, ages 40-55 years old, with an annual household income of more than $100,000 (2019),” according to a 2021 Fuels Institute report. A BlastPoint report found that the annual income of a family “ready to buy an electric car” in 2021 was $150,000.

Some of the lowest priced electric vehicles are the 2022 Nissan Leaf with a starting price of $27,400. It has a range of 149 miles before it needs a recharge, 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 will sell for $75,990 in 2022, according to Kelley Blue Book.

The state government provides subsidies to people to buy electric vehicles. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, there were only eight states in the US that did not offer such grants.

“Electric vehicles” — including batteries, plug-in hybrids and cars with electric motors that support gasoline 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 — more than $64,000 according to Kelley Blue Book estimates — is well above the industry average and more in line with luxury prices than regular prices,” said Kelley Blue Book.