Davis, Lucas, Li, Jing, and Springel, Katalin “Political Ideology and U.S. Electric Vehicle Adoption” (October 2023) | WP-342| Blog Post


The prospect for electric vehicles (EVs) as a climate change solution hinges on their widespread adoption across the political spectrum. In this paper, we use detailed county-level data on new vehicle registrations from 2012-2022 to measure the degree to which EV adoption is concentrated in the most left-leaning U.S. counties, and how this concentration has changed over time. The results point to a strong and enduring correlation between political ideology and U.S. EV adoption. During our time period about half of all EVs went to the 10% most Democratic counties, and about one-third went to the top 5%. There is relatively little evidence that this correlation has decreased over time, and even some specifications that point to increasing correlation. The results suggests that it may be harder than previously believed to reach high levels of U.S. EV adoption.