California leads the US with the most registered electric vehicles, and the state is home to nearly half of the country’s plug in cars. The State of Washington holds second place with more than 3 per 1000 vehicles registered being electric. Oregon has the third most registered electric vehicles in the US.

Let’s take a closer look at the numbers and reasons for these trends.

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Why California Registers The Most

One of the reasons California has so many electric and hybrid vehicles is due to rebates. Currently, California residents can get a rebate of up to $5,000 for the purchase or lease of an eligible zero emission or plug in hybrid vehicle.

If you combine this incentive with the eco-friendly populations in some parts of the state (see more below), you can see why California is number one.

Washington’s Tactics

The upper northwest also offers drivers reasons to consider green vehicles. For example, Washington state offers tax exemptions and tax credits with the purchase of qualified vehicles. Furthermore, various car insurance companies in the state offer discounts to some electric vehicle owners. Finally, eligible models can also skip emissions testing which increases savings even more.

Oregonian Ways

In Oregon, electric and hybrid vehicle buyers can get a federal tax credit of up to $7,500. However, the small print reads that the credit is actually $2,500 with $417 additional credit for each kilowatt-hour of battery capacity in excess of 5KW hours.

Specific Hotspots

Besides states that register many hybrid and electric cars, there are particular regions that embrace these vehicles. For example, in northern California (San Francisco / Oakland / San Jose areas) plugins account for 9.4% of all sales. In fact, 9 of the top 10 cities for electric car registration are in northern California alone.

Eugene, Oregon comes in at number 3 with 7.89 percent of the local market dedicated to electrics. Meanwhile, Seattle, Washington carries a 5.9 percent average.  

Nationwide Impact

Despite the incentives, electric vehicle sales only represent about 0.7% of total vehicle sales. Back in 2008, the Obama presidency set the goal of one million plug in vehicles on the road by 2015. But since then, gasoline prices have dropped and so has interest in electric powered vehicles. Electric car repair costs also might be higher than traditional combustion vehicles.

As a result, there are only about 400,000 electric vehicles on the US roadways today. In fact, sales fell 6% in 2015. Despite the headwinds, car makers continue to roll out new models. Much of this is due to competition between brands to stay on the cutting edge of technology. Also, emission standards continue to become more stringent. And if gas prices spike upwards again, we’re likely to see more of these vehicles quietly cruising the roads.

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