An Indiana University study that surveyed some 2,000 drivers in 21 of America's largest cities finds that the general public is quite uninformed when it comes to incentives available when buying electric vehicles.

In a report on the IU study from The Detroit News, we find that some 95 percent of survey takers didn't know about incentives from state and local governments, including both rebates and incentives. Seventy-five percent of respondents were unclear about the fuel and maintenance cost savings that EVs could offer. What's more, of 758 persons that lived in areas that offer subsidies for home charging equipment, a paltry 2 people were aware that the financial aid existed.

With the apparent knowledge levels so low, it's understandable the immediate prospects for wider spread EV sales are not great. Said report co-author John D. Graham to The Detroit News, "What should be particularly troubling for plug-in electric vehicle proponents and manufacturers is that the respondents to our survey live in major urban areas, the places where PEVs make the most sense due to daily travel patterns."


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  • 46 Comments
      groingo
      • 1 Year Ago
      Well, the Federal tax incentives depend on if you make enough money to get on and that all depends on your income level. State incentives in Washington anyhow expired. Would be nice if they just quit this incentive nonsense and sold it for a better price to start with.
        brandon
        • 1 Year Ago
        @groingo
        Agreed. Everyone with half a brain knows that all the government does is to introduce market inefficiencies. So how about the car companies sale them for what they would without the subsidies (probably about 6-8k less than they are currently being sold for) and we just do away with the subsidies altogether.
          Nick Kordich
          • 1 Year Ago
          @brandon
          People who consider "half a brain" the right amount for decisionmaking give me pause. No offense intended to people who have undergone literal hemispherectomies, but I'm a little concerned that people with half a brain are a little too comfortable with having an echo chamber to agree with them. Tax reform seems to me like a whole-brain problem. If not for finding a solution that you like, then for finding a way to communicate your idea that will gain sufficient approval for it to be enacted. That would let you use that money you were saving for your private island on something more attainable.
          brandon
          • 1 Year Ago
          @brandon
          A) hyperbolic B) no, it doesn't take a "whole" brain to figure out tax reform. It's called excise taxes and a law that prevents the government from running deficits in non recession years. a 10% flat national sales tax would cover all the country's basic necessities. IIRC, in 2001 it was calculated out to be around 1 trillion dollars in revenue. Then, cut the entitlements and military spending by 2/3rd's. It's a very, very simple solution that accountants lobby against because it will HURT THEM. One's need of their services will be greatly reduced therefore it is a bad thing to them. In reality, it was all that was allowed under the constitution. If that happened, I would have no problem with this place.
          brandon
          • 1 Year Ago
          @brandon
          I love this stupid argument. So just because other nations love the progressive tax system, that means it is the only one that works? That's really your argument?
        Ducman69
        • 1 Year Ago
        @groingo
        Fiat has said that they are losing approximately $10,000 on every single car sold. They are doing it because its mandated. If it weren't for the government, this car wouldn't exist. And personally, I don't see anything wrong with that. The gas version is very efficient, and plugin hybrids are a great option and will still continue to advance the electric side of the spectrum with a smooth transition as they get greater and greater electric range with better and better batteries. Electric right now just doesn't make sense and isn't necessary to advance battery tech that are heavily invested in anyway for everything from iPhones to laptops.
      heavychevy
      • 1 Year Ago
      "most car buyers" arn't aware of a lot of things, thats how dealerships make money
      raktmn
      • 1 Year Ago
      This isn't too surprising. When my local Chevy dealership got in their first Volt, they didn't even know about our state rebate. I had to show the dedicated Volt salesperson and the Sales manager where to find the information on our state tax FYI website.
        EZEE
        • 1 Year Ago
        @raktmn
        LOL Considering commissions, many car sales persons are surprisingly dumb. Years ago, I went to a Ford dealer. They had just come out with the 3.0 liter duratec, but still had stuff that had the 3.0 liter Vulcan. I looked at the sales person and asked, 'is the engine the duratec or the Vulcan?' Blank stare... 'Let me go ask my manager.' Keep in mind, Ford only had those two 3.0 liter engines. On the trucks they had the German 4.0 liter v6, and that was about it. Odd that the buyers will know more than the people who will potentially make thousands of $$ on a single sale. I would be especially knowledgable on the Volt, as higher priced cars typically have higher commissions.
      MacProMan
      • 1 Year Ago
      a link to where people could find the information you are reporting about would have been cool
        Nick Kordich
        • 1 Year Ago
        @MacProMan
        The Detroit News story is in the News Source link: http://www.detroitnews.com/article/20131117/AUTO01/311170009/1148/ If you want the primary source, the Energy Policy journal, a PDF is $19.95: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0301421513009427
      David
      • 1 Year Ago
      "Financial aid" = stealing money from taxpayers so you can have something. Par for the course . . .
        raktmn
        • 1 Year Ago
        @David
        David, you mean like when you reduce your taxes you pay by taking a deduction for your home mortgage, and when you reduce your taxes by claiming your children as dependents? Because both of those are exactly the same as taking a tax deduction for buying an EV. Let me guess, you don't consider home mortgage deductions as stealing money from people who live in apartments. And you don't consider your child tax deductions as stealing money from people who don't have kids. But magically if you get a tax deduction for buying a green car, those folks are suddenly thieves? Call me with your woes of moral outrage once you amend all your back taxes to exclude every tax deduction you've ever taken, and paid the back taxes.
        tump
        • 1 Year Ago
        @David
        Speaking of the uninformed. :-\
          raktmn
          • 1 Year Ago
          @tump
          Taxes come out of our democratic process of constitutional governance. We aren't under the rule of a British Monarchy anymore. Read Article I, Section 8, Clause 1 of the United States Constitution, which says: "The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises" If you don't like living under our Constitution, leave.
          raktmn
          • 1 Year Ago
          @tump
          brandon, did you pay the $3500 dollars for the fraudulent tax advice that William J. Benson sold to suckers like you? Because you just regurgitated all of the false statements that have repeatedly led to tax cheats ending up in prison. In fact, a number of the statements you made, were found to be fraudulently represented. For example, Benson said in a court of law that a passage from a Supreme Court case said that "The constitution never allowed for direct taxes" just like you said. But when the courts examined the record that he was claiming to be quoting, they found that he had fabricated the entire passage he was claiming to quote! The passage he made up simply didn't exist. Same with his claims about the 16th Amendment not being ratified, despite 42 states having ratified it. He failed to back up his claims with actual facts, and went to jail. Ignorant suckers buy fraudulent tax advice that are scams all the time. But this is the first time I've ever met anyone so ignorant to actually brag about being suckered into believing fraudulent tax advice that some convicted criminal was selling. Do you also win the Nigerian Lottery, and you will be a millionaire, just as soon as they get your latest wire payment you sent them to cover Nigerian taxes?
          brandon
          • 1 Year Ago
          @tump
          Yes, ^ Speaking of uniformed. Where do taxes come from Mr. "Informed"? My god people like you are so stupid.
        Ele Truk
        • 1 Year Ago
        @David
        Stealing?
          raktmn
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Ele Truk
          brandon, if you don't want to pay for your fair share of the govt, then leave. Nobody is keeping you here against your will. You are in this nation voluntarily. That means you must pay taxes just like everyone else who voluntarily stays in the United States. Freeloader.
          Nick Kordich
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Ele Truk
          "I fully intend on leaving the hell hole that you people have created when I have milked the money from you I need to buy my private island." Dude, me too! Naturally, I don't want my private island to be at the mercy of oil imports, I'm starting off with buying an electric car.
          raktmn
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Ele Truk
          Here are some investment tips to speed you in leaving: Razor blades and sleeping pills. I'm interested in what nirvana you will leave for that has a 10% overall tax rate when all forms of taxes are taken into account. Name the country. Because no such place exists on this earth. Razor blades and sleeping pills look like your only investment option to finding somewhere that doesn't have tax rates over 10%.
          brandon
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Ele Truk
          Yes, stealing. Taxes are theft. Do you voluntarily pay your taxes? Do you pay more than what you owe? Do you donate to the government for xyz program? Yeah, that's what I thought. Unless you voluntarily GIVE the money away, it is THEFT. David is right.
          brandon
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Ele Truk
          Again, just because every other "democracy" allows the idiotic populace to vote themselves free ch!t, it does not mean that a 10% excise tax would work. Even though it is a smaller scale, Texas has no income taxes. It is also a net payer state. They still have other taxes that could easily be eliminated if the overall populace didn't feel sorry for idiots that don't want to work. I've said it before, and I will say it again. There is a reason why democracy always *fails*. The problem with democracy is it weaponizes stupidity It turns people we should simply be vaguely sympathetic toward into mortal enemies. I mean, when one stupid person wants to change the entire society for their own selfish reasons and for their own personal benefit, we call them psycho. When a million people want the exact same thing, we call it democracy.
      Ducman69
      • 1 Year Ago
      I'm sure that all of the 1%'ers that can afford to modify their garage and keep this as a second or third vehicle are aware of making the middle class buy part of their cars for them.
        Spec
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Ducman69
        You can buy L2 chargers for less than $500 these days. And getting one installed should not cost more than a few hundred bucks if the main circuit breaker is nearby. And if your commute is not very far, you really don't even need to install a special charger. Maybe you are a just rea;;u poor. But a lot of people can easily afford the Spark EV which is less than $20K after the Tax-credit.
          raktmn
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Spec
          Even less after state and local tax credits in some states (which is specifically what the survey is about, state and local incentives.)
        Nick Kordich
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Ducman69
        The top 1% make over $380k a year, in terms of household income. In one survey, the median household income of EV owners was a little over $108k, which is about the top 20% in terms of annual income across the US. In other words, about half of EV buyers don't rate inclusion in the top 20% of earners, let alone the top 1%. That survey was from December 2012, by the way. In November 2011, there was a survey that said that the average income of Volt buyers was $175,000, which would mean they straddled inclusion in the top 10%, in that half would have made it, half wouldn't. It seems to me like the new riffraff is dragging down the average inflated by early-adopting celebrities and CEOs. I'm really looking forward to hearing the numbers for 2013.
          raktmn
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Nick Kordich
          Keeping in mind that the median family income for all new car buyers is now close to $70K dollars, my guess is that that median household income of EV owners isn't going to drop as quickly this year. The first problem is that EV's are selling the most in California. And in California, they are selling the most in heavy urban/suburban corrodors with HOV lanes, like the Bay Area. Household incomes in these target regions are already much higher than the national median incomes. San Fransisco median family incomes are over $20K/year higher than the national median income. San Mateo and Marin Counties are almost $35K/yr higher than the national median income. $108K is roughly $40K over the current national median income for all new car buyers. Given the popularity of EV's in areas that are $20K to $35K over the national median income for all households, I don't expect to see much of a downward trend. I would be surprised if it dropped much below $100K.
          Nick Kordich
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Nick Kordich
          @raktmn - Agreed on all points. Nevertheless, I'm looking forward to more recent numbers, and wish we had even more data to pore over, such as what percentage of EV buyers claim various incentives and more detailed breakdowns on the age of buyers.
        CoolWaters
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Ducman69
        Aren't SUV's and Trucks getting a cost break by LAX Federal Regs on MPG and Safety for these vehicles?
        gpmp
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Ducman69
        Why on earth would a 1%er buy a Leaf or plug in Prius?
          raktmn
          • 1 Year Ago
          @gpmp
          Maybe because they want to buy 100% US energy for their cars, because they are patriots and want to support US energy? Or because they believe in fixing our trade imbalance by doing their part to reduce the Largest Wealth Transfer in the History of the World? We have transfered more of our collective wealth to other nations by importing oil, than our trade imbalance with China. Or maybe they just hate pollution, and don't want to pollute everywhere they go.
      Seal Rchin
      • 1 Year Ago
      So who cares, there are people out there who still don't know what HIV is or how it is transferred. At this point if you do not know.................everyone is better off.
        raktmn
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Seal Rchin
        The one thing that is clear, is that you got it from sticking your head soooo far up your own backside, that your head ended up in your neighbor's backside.
      Ele Truk
      • 1 Year Ago
      I think this really only reflects how Americans shop - by the bottom line. If I see a car that I can lease for $199, I don't care what tax incentives are involved, especially if that's my budget. So this means people are deciding on Electric cars based on the merits, low maintenance, low fuel costs (maybe even the environmental aspect) and the price is the next biggest factor. However the media still harping on "range anxiety" is probably the biggest impediment to faster sales.
      mbp2781
      • 1 Year Ago
      Basically sell the car at the price the incentives would make it when you've gotten said incentives. That way the dealer and manufacturer have the biggest incentive to move forward at a faster pace with evs
      Nick Kordich
      • 1 Year Ago
      I didn't see it pointed out here, but this is the same study posted to Autoblog Green and InsideEVs a week earlier with the note that the study's data was from October 2011. While the incentives haven't changed much in most cases (though there are exceptions), the number of models available and the number of opportunities for greater awareness of EVs has. Even between this year's and last year's national Plug-In Day events, I noticed that people attending the event had much more knowledge about the cars coming in than before. http://green.autoblog.com/2013/11/14/us-drivers-could-use-more-ev-cost-benefit-education/ http://insideevs.com/indiana-university-survey-95-of-us-consumers-had-no-clue-that-electric-vehicle-incentives-existed-back-in-october-2011/
      goodoldgorr
      • 1 Year Ago
      I never saw ads on tv or in newspapers about the volt or tesla or imiev or leaf or spark ev or renault fluence or focus ev or rav 4 ev or tesla roadster ev and on these ads they don\'t tell that there is goverment incentives. I have a theory about this and it\'s that manufacturers are losing money with these cars and don\'t want to sell many\'s. This look as a goverment mandate and we get minimum technology at a high price, especially with bev, that\'s really ridicoulous powering a car with laptop components like the tesla roadster. For the hydrogen fuelcell we will see if it got better. To date nobody know that there will be hydrogen in 2015, no ads whatsoever. This will be probably a flop cause by the lack of a hydrogen infrastructure. I was excited before by hydrogen but as time pass i begin just to hope gas price begin to get lowered and that my gasoline car keeps the road for a long time. The dream of high technology car for few money was just a dream and i will invest instead in a good pair of running shoes next summer and get mileage done at 1000 mpg at 2 mph but i will continue to follow the market here at autobloggreen because it\'s free at least.
      Nathan
      • 1 Year Ago
      Good.
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