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Best and worst states for electric vehicle ownership

As the recent spike in gas prices reinvigorated interest in electric vehicles, shops in these states might expect to see more EVs in their bays down the road — or not

Charlotte, N.C.—Even as the recent spike in gas prices reinvigorated American interest in electric vehicles (EVs), the U.S. automotive industry and federal agencies under the Biden administration had already committed to long-term investments in EVs and the infrastructure to support them.

Curious how the consumer experience of acquiring and having an EV differs across the nation, LendingTree researchers analyzed state data to rank the best — and worst — states to own an electric vehicle. Here’s what LendingTree found in its analysis.

Key findings

  • Washington is the best state to own an electric vehicle. The state has the third-most electric vehicle registrations relative to miles traveled. In addition, it also has the fourth-lowest average price of electricity for residential users.
  • Utah is the second-best state to own an electric vehicle. The state combines a low fatality rate per mile traveled with cheap residential electricity costs. Utah residents can also qualify for a $13,500 tax credit in 2022 if they purchase a qualifying heavy-duty electric vehicle.
  • Mississippi is the worst state in which to own an electric vehicle. The state has dangerous roads and no tax incentives for helping residents buy electric vehicles. It also has the fewest electric vehicle registrations relative to miles traveled and the second-fewest electric vehicle supply equipment (EVSE) ports relative to miles traveled.
  • South Carolina is the second-worst state to own an electric vehicle. The state has the worst fatality rate per miles traveled across the U.S., but appears higher than Mississippi because of slightly better electric vehicle registrations and charging ports relative to miles traveled.

Washington is best state to own electric vehicle

Washington ranks as the best state in which to have an electric vehicle. It has one of the lowest residential electricity costs in the nation as of January 2022, priced at 9.92 cents per kilowatt-hour (kWh). That means it’ll cost about $5 — 496 cents — to fully charge a Tesla Model 3 with a standard-range battery, which can take you over 250 miles.

Washington consumers may also find that their entire EV price — or a large portion of it — is exempt from state retail sales and use tax. Up to $20,000 of a new EV’s price may be free from state taxes when purchased. Given that Washington’s state sales and usage tax on vehicles is 6.8%, this could save consumers $1,360 compared to buying a gas-powered vehicle.

The Evergreen State isn’t the only Pacific Northwest winner, either: Oregon ranks as the fifth-best state to have an EV. It also offers significant tax rebates — up to $5,000 on the purchase or lease of a new or used EV — and ranks 11th for lowest electricity cost.

Runner-up to best state to own electric vehicle: Utah

Utah’s inexpensive cost of residential electricity — 10.29 cents per kWh — makes owning an EV attractive, especially compared to recent gas prices. And even if you’re not looking for a heavy-duty vehicle that would qualify for an EV tax credit, the state is still committed to supporting EV ownership:

  • Drivers can use their EVs in HOV lanes regardless of the number of passengers.
  • By the end of 2025, the Utah Department of Transportation will have installed public electric vehicle supply equipment (EVSE) charging stations every 50 miles or fewer along the highways.
  • The Utah Department of Environmental Quality is offering businesses and nonprofits rebates for up to 50% off EV charging stations, so Utah residents can charge their vehicles while at work.

Mississippi is worst state to own electric vehicle

Almost on the opposite side of the nation, Mississippi doesn’t go out of its way to accommodate EV ownership.

Its mostly rural roads are among the most deadly in the country, and there are no government-sponsored incentives to support or encourage residents to choose an EV over a traditionally powered vehicle. The only incentive in the state noted by the U.S. Department of Energy is provided by an energy company that offers eligible customers some cash incentives, ranging from $100 to $5,000, to choose electrically powered business equipment.

Mississippi also has the lowest amount of EV registrations per mile traveled and the second-lowest number of EV chargers per mile traveled.

Runner-up to worst state to own electric vehicle: South Carolina

South Carolina has more charging ports per mile traveled and a slightly better ratio of electric vehicle registrations than Mississippi. In addition, its state government is currently doing an impact study on the challenges and potential value of adjusting its transportation system to support EVs.

However, there are three reasons the South Carolina ranks as one of the worst places to own an electric vehicle:

  • It has the worst road fatality rates nationally — 1.99 deaths per 100 million vehicle miles traveled
  • Its residential electricity cost is higher than Mississippi’s
  • There are no government-provided incentives for consumers to purchase EVs

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