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Top 10 cities to own an electric vehicle

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In 2021, EV sales across the globe doubled compared to the previous year, reaching 6.6 million worldwide. Drivers are drawn to electric vehicles (EV) for different reasons. Some want to reduce their carbon footprint as much as possible, while others want to spend less on gas over the long-term. For more on the reasons people are choosing (or not choosing) EVs and hybrids, check out recent report

While anyone can benefit from driving a plug-in car, The Zebra decided to take a look at the U.S. cities where you’ll get the most bang for your buck without sacrificing convenience. We analyzed the country’s 50 most populous cities to find the best places to own an electric vehicle, based on the following factors: 

  • Number of electric vehicle charging stations: The more charging stations, the better, in order to easily power your EV.
  • Cost of gas: Drivers in cities with higher gas prices will financially benefit more from an EV. 
  • Cost of electricity (by state): Lower electricity costs mean lower maintenance expenses when charging your vehicle. 

Check out our top 10 list to see how your city fares when it comes to electric vehicle ownership.

#1: Seattle, WA

Seattle snags our top spot as the best city for owning an electric vehicle. Washington state has one of the lowest electricity costs out of all the cities we analyzed so that it’s more affordable to charge your vehicle at home. Plus, it ranks as one of the 10 most expensive cities for gas, increasing drivers’ savings potential even more. And if you’re on the road and need to charge your car, there are over 340 charging stations throughout Seattle.

Seattle by the numbers

  • Number of electric vehicle charging stations: 341
  • Cost of gas: $4.49
  • Cost of electricity: 10.07 cents/kWh

#2: Chicago, IL

Like Seattle, Chicago has relatively low electricity rates, particularly compared to gas prices. As of March 2021, gas in the city cost just under $4.50 per gallon. But electricity in Illinois is less expensive than the majority of areas we reviewed. The city also ranked well for charging station availability, which came in at 185.

Chicago by the numbers

  • Number of electric vehicle charging stations: 185
  • Cost of gas: $4.47
  • Cost of electricity: 11.29 cents/kWh

#3: Portland, OR

Portland only ranks in the top third of the cities we considered based on the number of charging stations across the city. But drivers will still find over 130 locations to charge their electric vehicles. Plus, gas is costly in Portland at over $4.50 a gallon, whereas electricity in Oregon costs an average of just 11.16 cents/kWh for at-home charging.

Portland by the numbers

  • Number of electric vehicle charging stations: 132
  • Cost of gas: $4.54
  • Cost of electricity: 11.16 cents/kWh

#4: Washington, DC

Driving an electric vehicle in the nation’s capital could pay off, thanks to nearly 350 charging stations in the area. And while gas isn’t as expensive as in some of the other cities in the list, the cost of electricity is also low in DC.

DC by the numbers

  • Number of electric vehicle charging stations: 347
  • Cost of gas: $4.08
  • Cost of electricity: 11.85 cents/kWh

#5: Los Angeles, CA

Los Angeles comes in second place in terms of having the most charging stations for electric vehicles. That makes it easy to keep your car fully functioning from practically anywhere. With gas prices well over $5 per gallon, EV drivers can count on both convenience and savings in LA.

LA by the numbers

  • Number of electric vehicle charging stations: 512
  • Cost of gas: $5.43
  • Cost of electricity: 23.22 cents/kWh

#6: San Jose, CA

San Jose is on par with Los Angeles when it comes to the benefits of owning an electric vehicle. Gas prices are just slightly less and electricity prices average the same throughout California. There are slightly fewer charging stations, but since the city is smaller, it might feel like a higher density.

San Jose by the numbers

  • Number of electric vehicle charging stations: 505
  • Cost of gas: $5.38
  • Cost of electricity: 23.22 cents/kWh

#7: San Francisco, CA

Like other California cities, electricity is relatively low compared to high gas prices in San Francisco. What’s surprising (and what sets back SF a bit) is that the city only has 319 charging stations.

San Fransisco by the numbers

  • Number of electric vehicle charging stations: 319
  • Cost of gas: $5.48
  • Cost of electricity: 23.22 cents/kWh

#8: Las Vegas, NV

Las Vegas certainly doesn’t have the highest number of EV charging stations, clocking in at just over 100. But with one of the most expensive gas prices in the country, EV drivers have the potential to save a lot by making the switch.

Las Vegas by the numbers

  • Number of electric vehicle charging stations: 105
  • Cost of gas: $4.61
  • Cost of electricity: 12.21 cents/kWh

#9: Miami, FL

Miami is another spot where drivers could benefit a lot by swapping their gas-powered vehicle for an EV. The city is home to nearly 200 charging stations, and with gas prices exceeding $4 per gallon, there’s definitely a lot of room to save. Plus, electricity prices in Florida are relatively low compared to other areas on our list.

Miami by the numbers

  • Number of electric vehicle charging stations: 190
  • Cost of gas: $4.01
  • Cost of electricity: 12.20 cents/kWh

#10: Atlanta, GA

Atlanta rounds out our top 10 list thanks to over 260 EV charging stations available across the city. And while gas averaged below $4 in early March 2022, it’s still in the bottom half in terms of expensive cities. An EV would offset those costs handsomely, especially since Georgia electric prices are relatively low.

Atlanta by the numbers

  • Number of electric vehicle charging stations: 262
  • Cost of gas: $3.97
  • Cost of electricity: 12.15 cents/kWh

MKD-574-Top 10 Cities for EVs-01

 

Methodology

The Zebra pulled three data points to analyze the top 50 MSAs (by population) in the U.S. related to electric vehicles.

MSA data was used where applicable, and we sometimes substituted city or state data as necessary. 

 

 

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