Best and Worst States to Own Electric Cars

Best and Worst States to Own Electric Cars
Graphic: Nathaniel Blum

The past year has delivered two monumental wins for electric cars in the United States. Last November, the passage of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law unleashed a $7.5 billion investment to build out a national network of electric vehicle chargers. Then, the passage of the Inflation Reduction Act in August established a $7,500 tax credit for qualifying EV buyers.

As the federal government strengthens its support for EV use, updates its 2021 analysis of which states are best positioned for the growing demand for electric cars.

Our 2022 evaluation is based on 11 metrics on state electric vehicle infrastructure and financial incentives. These metrics include the numbers of electric cars and EV charging stations in the state, as well as financial incentives like state tax rebates and the local price of gas versus the cost of EV charging.

Key takeaways

  • Maryland is the best state overall for owning an electric vehicle; South Carolina is the worst. Following Maryland, the top states are New York, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania and Vermont. Following South Carolina, the next worst states are Tennessee, Kentucky, Wisconsin and Alabama.
  • Maryland tops the charts for having the best financial incentives to own an EV; Arkansas comes in last. Rounding out the top five for EV financial incentives are New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania and Virginia. Joining Arkansas at the bottom are Kentucky, Kansas, Iowa and Tennessee.
  • Rhode Island is the state with the best EV infrastructure; Wisconsin has the worst. Following Rhode Island, the best states for EV infrastructure are Massachusetts, Utah, Vermont and California. The worst, following Wisconsin, are South Carolina, Louisiana, Idaho and Indiana.
  • Nevada has the highest cost savings per 1,000 miles for EV drivers compared to gas-powered drivers; Connecticut has the lowest. Which states get more financial mileage switching to electric? We compared the local cost of electricity versus August gas prices to drive 1,000 miles (based on the national average of 25.7 miles per gallon of gas and one kilowatt hour per 3 miles of EV driving time):

Nevada had the most cost savings driving 1,000 miles with electric rather than gas ($164.84 saved), followed by Oregon ($160.52), Washington ($159.55), Idaho ($156.95) and Utah ($153.37).

At the other end of the spectrum is Connecticut ($97.60), followed by Rhode Island ($102.48), Kansas ($104.23), South Carolina ($104.32) and Georgia ($104.72).

  • EVs are most affordable for Maryland households and least affordable for Mississippi households. Who can best afford a new electric vehicle? Using Kelly Blue Book’s June average transaction price for a new electric vehicle ($66,997) we compared average state median income to price.

The average transaction price of a new EV is 77% of Maryland’s median annual household income. Maryland is followed by New Jersey (78.6%), Massachusetts (79.4%), Hawaii (80.6%) and Connecticut (83.9%).

At the bottom of the list, the cost of a new electric vehicle is 144.1% of Mississippi’s median annual household income, followed by West Virginia (139.5%), Arkansas (135.4%), Louisiana (131.9%) and New Mexico (130.7%).

“The price of electric vehicles will need to decline across the board for them to become part of mainstream transportation,” said Julianne Ohlander, a data analyst for “There’s certainly a market for budget EVs, but supply chain issues and inflation have pushed prices to luxury car levels.”

  • Alaska will receive the most cash per licensed driver ($14.95) from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law’s EV charging network allocation; Washington ($1.80) will receive the least. Alaska is followed by Wyoming ($9.28), Montana ($7.68), North Dakota ($7.13) and Vermont ($6.81). Washington is followed by Florida ($1.87), Massachusetts ($1.90), Colorado ($1.95) and Arizona ($1.99).
  • If only considering current registered electric cars in each state, North Dakota receives the most cash per electric car ($10,108.82) from the EV charging network allocation; California receives the least ($100.86). The other top states are Wyoming ($7,772.24), West Virginia ($6,694.84), South Dakota ($6,416.86) and Alaska ($6,014.14). The other bottom states are Washington ($157), Hawaii ($184.03), Colorado ($226.17) and Oregon ($255.32).

“Our analysis finds states with lower current EV usage are getting a disproportionate share of the dollars dedicated to building a national EV charging network,” said Ohlander. “This may seem unfair, but it makes sense that these states need more support to bolster EV ownership and build the infrastructure to sustain it.”

Best and worst states for electric cars

Overall scores were determined by average weighted rank across 11 categories—the lower the score, the higher the average rank across categories. (See methodology for full details.)

Best and worst states by EV financial incentives

Best and worst states by EV infrastructure

Best and worst states: Gas versus electric cost

Best and worst state by income and EV price

Best and worst state by 2022 EV Charging Network allocations

Methodology ranked financial incentives by six metrics:

  • Change in average gas price from August 2021 to August 2022.
  • 5-year change in recharge cost per 1,000 miles.
  • Cost difference to drive 1,000 miles by EV versus gas-powered cars.
  • Percent of workers commuting more than 30 minutes to work
  • Current number of non-expired state financial incentives to switch to electric vehicles
  • Average current transaction price of a new electric vehicle relative to state median income.

We ranked infrastructure incentives by five metrics.

  • Number of public charging stations per state licensed drivers
  • Number of public EVSE ports per 100 EV registrations.
  • State annual growth rate of electric charging stations since 2018.
  • EV registrations per 1,000 motor vehicle registrations.
  • 2022 state allocations for the Electric Vehicle Charger Network, part of the November Bipartisan Infrastructure law, per licensed driver.

For more information, contact Kerry Sherin ([email protected]) or Erin Kemp ([email protected]).

Sources: U.S. Department of Energy, Alternative Fuels Data Center and department of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy; U.S. Energy Information Administration, State Electricity Profiles and Renewable & Alternative Fuels Vehicle Data; the White House; United States Census Bureau, American Community Survey; the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency; U.S. Department of Transportation, Federal Highway Administration - Policy and Governmental Affairs, Office of Highway Policy Information; U.S. Energy Information Administration, Independent Statistics & Analysis, State Profiles and Energy Estimates; AAA; Federal Highway Administration;, National Renewable Energy Laboratory.

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