Carpool Lanes Encourage EV Sales but Increase Inequity

The push to electrify the U.S. fleet also has raised questions about who benefits from incentive programs like those in electric vehicle capitals. Some argue incentive programs for EV adoption are handouts to the wealthy, who can afford to buy electric vehicles that remain more expensive than those with internal combustion engines.

One 2019 working paper from the National Bureau of Economic Research found that 70 percent of people who used tax credits to purchase an EV would have done so even if they didn’t get the subsidy, and recommended incentives aimed at lower-income households.

Proponents of such programs argue spurring EV purchases will eventually lower the price for all consumers. But as of last month, the average price of a new electric vehicle is nearly $53,400, according to data provided to The Detroit News by Edmunds, an industry research company. In comparison, the average new vehicle price in the U.S. is just under $40,500.