Lucas Davis “Evidence of of a Homeowner-Renter Gap for Electric Vehicles” (July 2018) (Revised Version published in Applied Economics Letters, 26(11), September 2018) | WP-291R | Blog Post

This paper provides the first empirical analysis of the homeowner-renter gap for electric vehicles. Using nationally representative data from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s 2017 National Household Travel Survey, I show that homeowners are three times more likely than renters to own an electric vehicle. The gap is highly statistically significant, and remains even after controlling for income. For example, among households with annual income between $75,000 and $100,000, 1 in 130 homeowners owns an electric vehicle, compared to 1 in 370 renters. Additional controls do little to narrow the gap. I argue that this is a version of what economists have called the “landlord-tenant” problem, and I discuss this and other possible causes as well as potential policy implications.