What will cheap gas do to electric cars?

It’s still the early days for EVs, which account for a tiny fraction of total vehicle sales. Constantine Samaras, assistant professor in the department of civil and environmental engineering at Carnegie Mellon University, says that 116,597 battery electrics and plug-in hybrids were sold last year, a figure that dropped slightly from the 123,049 sold in 2014. Out of the 17.5 million cars sold in the US in the last 12 months, EVs made up only a small percentage. Instead, the bulk of new vehicles sold in the US were lightweight pickup trucks, which tend to guzzle gas compared to passenger cars — and the availability of cheap gas played a role. “The big risk for the climate is that low gas prices induce people to buy bigger, less efficient SUVs, and light trucks. We all have short memories,” he says, referencing the $4 gas Americans were dealing with just a few years ago. Even though consumers hang onto their vehicles for an average of 11.5 years, they tend to focus on the short-term savings.