Interest in EVs Rose 66% As Gas Prices Peaked, But Availability Has Shoppers Waiting Months to Buy

Electric cars are charging in station.
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It appears that gasoline prices have finally risen high enough for long enough that a lot of Americans have decided to do something about it — namely, look into vehicles that don’t require gas to get around. The challenge will be finding enough inventory on dealer lots.

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Consumer interest in electric vehicles (EVs) has picked up considerably this year in a market where already high gas prices have risen to record heights since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

New data from Cox Automotive — which monitored vehicle shopping traffic in early April on its own Autotrader site as well as the Kelley Blue Book sites — found that interest in EVs has increased by nearly two-thirds (66%) since January when gas prices started to spike higher.

Among electric vehicles, non-luxury EV SUVs have the highest share of shopping activity on the sites, with a 96% increase since the beginning of the year. This suggests that non-luxury buyers are most impacted by higher gas prices and are potentially more motivated to switch to electric, Cox Automotive said.

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Other highlights include the following:

  • Shopping traffic for hybrid new cars has risen 20% since January and returned to the same levels as in the fall of 2021.
  • Fuel-efficient subcompact/compact car segments have seen a 15% increase in buyer interest since January.

Consumers aren’t the only ones showing greater interest in EVs. As GOBankingRates recently reported, Swedish EV manufacturer Polestar announced that it will sell 65,000 of its electric vehicles to car rental company, Hertz, over the next five years.

But everyday consumers might have a harder time accessing EVs than Hertz. Ongoing supply chain issues — including global shortages of microchips, nickel and wires — continue to impact new vehicle inventory on dealer lots. In a recent study, Cox found that 45% of consumers are likely to postpone their auto purchases because of inventory shortages, with half of those surveyed saying they’ll postpone purchases by seven months or more.

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“Shopper interest for EVs, hybrids and more fuel-efficient gas vehicles remains high,” Cox Automotive Executive Analyst Michelle Krebs said in a press release. “The problem is that those are the very vehicles hardest hit by supply chain disruptions and are in the lowest supply.”

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About the Author

Vance Cariaga is a London-based writer, editor and journalist who previously held staff positions at Investor’s Business Daily, The Charlotte Business Journal and The Charlotte Observer. His work also appeared in Charlotte Magazine, Street & Smith’s Sports Business Journal and Business North Carolina magazine. He holds a B.A. in English from Appalachian State University and studied journalism at the University of South Carolina. His reporting earned awards from the North Carolina Press Association, the Green Eyeshade Awards and AlterNet. In addition to journalism, he has worked in banking, accounting and restaurant management. A native of North Carolina who also writes fiction, Vance’s short story, “Saint Christopher,” placed second in the 2019 Writer’s Digest Short Short Story Competition. Two of his short stories appear in With One Eye on the Cows, an anthology published by Ad Hoc Fiction in 2019. His debut novel, Voodoo Hideaway, was published in 2021 by Atmosphere Press.
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