Like many nations, the United States is charging towards a greener future, which has led to the widespread adoption of electric vehicles (EVs). Certain states are pioneering the way more than others.
The shift towards more sustainable driving options has also led to the popularity of car subscriptions, gradually reshaping the way we think about traditional car ownership through simple and convenient all-in coverage.
To determine which states are leading the way toward the EV revolution, we look closer at the number of EV registrations and charging stations by state. We also uncover the most common age groups most interested in owning an electric vehicle and EV market share projections.
Research suggests that almost two-fifths (38%) of US adults would consider purchasing an electric vehicle the next time they want a new car.
Interestingly, younger adults are more open to buying an EV, with almost half (48%) of respondents aged 18 to 29 stating they would consider it. Those aged 65+ are least likely to consider buying an electric vehicle, with just under two-thirds (59%) admitting they are uninterested.
Democrats are more likely to purchase an EV, with over half (56%) stating that they would somewhat consider it, while those living in urban areas also lean toward having an electric vehicle.
Those who already own an EV are also more than likely to purchase an electric car, with nearly 70% saying they would be highly interested in considering it again. Over a third (35%) who do not already own a hybrid or EV said they are likely to look into buying one on their next purchase.
Helping the environment and saving money on gas were the most predominant reasons for wanting to purchase an EV. A few individuals stated that keeping up with the latest vehicle trends was their primary reason.
Rate of EV adoption per 1,000 vehicles: 25.02
The Golden State has the highest rate of EV adoption, with an average of 25.02 EVs per 1,000 vehicles registered in the state. A leader in the EV space, California has been paving the way toward the EV revolution longer than any other US state. From 2021 to 2022 alone, EV registrations in California rose by over 60%.
Rate of EV adoption per 1,000 vehicles: 18.47
According to the Public Service Commission, the District of Columbia is prioritizing adopting electric vehicles as a key strategy for reducing carbon emissions in the area. As a result, the District of Columbia has seen a steady increase in its adoption of EVs. The district has an adoption rate of 18.47 EVs per 1,000 vehicle registrations, which increased by almost 60% in 2022.
Rate of EV adoption per 1,000 vehicles: 18.32
Hawaii follows not too far behind with an adoption rate of 18.32 electric vehicles per 1,000 car registrations. Although the island state saw the least increase (39%) in EV registrations compared to any other state in 2022, it still has one of the highest adoption rates, which is impressive considering the Western state has a total population of just under 1.5 million people.
EV registrations % change: 129.58%
Oklahoma tops the list with the highest increase in EV registrations by the end of 2022. Electric vehicles rose by almost 130% in the southern states, going from just over 7,000 registrations in 2021 to 16,300.
Electric car incentives are also leading the gradual adoption of EVs in Oklahoma. For example, the state offers a one-time-only electric tax credit of up to $50,000 to help first-time buyers offset the cost of going electric. Residents may also be eligible for the federal tax credit, which qualifies new cars for up to $7,500.1
EV registrations % change: 112.50%
Ranked in second place is Arkansas, with one of the most significant green growth rates of 112.50% EV registrations over one year. In 2021, the Natural State saw just 2,400 electric vehicle registrations, which increased to more than 5,000 by the following year. This sizable leap suggests a rise in EV ownership in Arkansas, breaking the state’s record of 84.6% electric vehicle registrations from 2020 to 2021.
EV registrations % change: 106.25%
Montana takes third place. Although electric car ownership in Montana is generally lower than in other states, EV registrations increased by 106.25% in 2022 compared to the previous year. Known for its beautiful landscapes and wildlife, the Treasure State seeks to preserve its green space, as seen by the continual increase in electric vehicle registrations.
Public charging stations per 1,000 km²: 85.39
Massachusetts has the highest adoption of public stations, with approximately 85.39 per 1,000 square kilometers. This comes as little surprise as the Massachusetts Department of Transportation has been working on increasing the number of charging stations along public highways. By 2030, the Northeastern state will need approximately 10,000 fast chargers to meet its projected demands of nearly one million EVs on its roads (2).
Public charging stations per 1,000 km²: 72.27
Despite being the smallest state by area, Rhode Island has adopted the second-highest number of public charging stations, with an average of 72.27 per 1,000 square kilometers. The Ocean State is gradually increasing its availability of electric charging. It is set to receive funding worth $23 million over five years to support this (3).
Public charging stations per 1,000 km²: 40.37
New Jersey follows behind with 40.37 charging stations per 1,000 square kilometers. The state’s Department of Environmental Protection is promoting the adoption of EVs through its Pay$ to Plug In program, an initiative that offers grants as a way to offset the costs of purchasing and maintaining EV charging stations (4).
The state also recently received a further $10 million boost in state funding to advance its EV transportation goals while also contributing to the expansion of the state’s EV infrastructure (5).
PHEV & HEV adoption rates per 1,000 vehicles: 63.87
With an adoption rate of 63.87 per 1,000 vehicle registrations, the District of Columbia has the highest adoption rate for plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) and hybrid electric vehicle (HEV) registrations. The district has seen steady growth in recent years, with an increase of almost 10% in PHEV and HEV registrations from 2021 to 2022.
PHEV & HEV registrations % change: 28.29%
Regarding the state with the highest growth in PHEV and HEV registrations, Oklahoma takes first place with a 28.29% increase in 2022. The Southern state is just ahead of West Virginia (27.10%) and Montana (25.33%); both states have increased by more than 25%.
Market share projections in the EV market suggest that although battery electric vehicles (BEV) accounted for just 6% of the global market share in 2021 and 3% in the US market, they are set to see a significant surge in adoption.
In the worldwide market, BEVs are set to reach 20% by 2025 and just under two-thirds (59%) a decade later. In the United States, it is predicted that nearly half (47%) of the market share will be dominated by battery electric vehicles as of 2030 and by almost 70% five years later – dethroning gasoline and diesel vehicles.
Mild hybrid electric vehicles (MHEV) are also set to see massive growth in US market share despite only having one present share in 2021. By 2030, MHEVs can expect a decent slice of the pie, increasing to 25% market share.
Plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEV) and full hybrid electric vehicles (HEV) had the least market share, with 5% or less in the US and global market in 2021. However, HEVs are set to see a 10% market growth by 2025 in the United States and a 13% market share worldwide by 2030. PHEVs can expect an increase of over 5% both in the US and globally in 2030.
Number of EV sales in 2022: 191,451
Number of EV sales in 2023: 296,059
Change in number of EV sales: 104,608
Tesla Model Y is the EV dominating the US market, having sold 104,608 more electric vehicles by Q3 of 2023 compared to 2022. With sales growing by popular demand, the Tesla Model Y accounts for approximately 34% of all EV sales6, making it the best-selling electric car in the United States.
Number of EV sales in 2022: 22,012
Number of EV sales in 2023: 49,494
Change in number of EV sales: 27,482
Interestingly, Chevy Bolt’s EV models have increased in popularity as sales more than doubled by Q3 of 2023. Starting at the retail price of $26,500, the Chevy Bolt is described as America’s most affordable EV; hence, it's no surprise it has seen such massive growth over the last year.
Number of EV sales in 2022: 354
Number of EV sales in 2023: 16,540
Change in number of EV sales: 16,186
Said to have experienced explosive growth in the US EV market, the Rivian R1S sold over 16,000 more EVs by its third quarter of 2023 than in the whole of 2022. Described as one of the most successful electric vehicle startups in the US, the Irvine, California-based manufacturer has set its starting price for the R1S to $78,000 for its 2023 model.
Using the Alternative Fuels Data Center, we sourced data on the light-duty vehicle registration counts by state, primarily taking into account electric vehicles (EV), Plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEV), and full hybrid electric vehicles (HEV).
To determine the adoption rate for each state, we calculated the number of EV registrations normalized to the number of total car registrations per 1,000 in each state, which was then ranked in order.
We calculated the percentage difference by comparing the registration counts from 2021 to 2022 and ranked them in order. Please note that registration counts have been rounded to the closest 100 vehicles, as stated on the source.
Figures for the number of charging stations in each state were taken from CNET, and the Department of Energy's ranking of public EV stations for all 50 states and the District of Columbia as of March 2023 was looked at.
To find out the adoption rate of charging stations, we calculated the total number of charging stations by each state area size (km²) using the Nations Online Project per 1,000 square kilometers. Due to its small area size, the District of Columbia was not included in the data.
To highlight the EV ownership trends, we gathered information from the Pew Research Center, which surveyed US adults to determine their perception of owning an EV from May to June 2023.
EV market share projections were taken from Recurrent, looking at Boston Consulting Group's (BCG) 2022 market projection report on EV adoption. Figures were taken both in the United States and globally.
Please note that data collection for all sessions was completed on 12/18/2023.