California EV sales are falling and threaten to jeopardize one of the state’s green goals

Leftist politicians have decided that Americans will eventually be driving electric vehicles.

But there’s overwhelming evidence that more and more people do not want them.

Now California EV sales are falling and threaten to jeopardize one of the state’s green goals.

The Golden State has mandated that all new vehicles sold by 2035 be exclusively zero-emission. 

There are all kinds of problems with this, not the least of which is whether the infrastructure will be in place for enough charging stations across the sprawling Left Coast state to make such a heavy-handed government edict feasible for tens of millions of drivers.

Public is less charged about electric vehicles these days

There is now evidence to suggest that consumers are starting to balk at the idea of forking over the cash for electric vehicles.

A new report shows that registrations of battery-electric vehicles in California fell in the fourth quarter of last year. 

This makes the second consecutive quarter where EV sales have fallen after a multi-year climb.

California registered just under 90,000 electric light passenger vehicles in the fourth quarter of 2023.

According to data compiled for the California New Car Dealers Association by Experian Automotive, this is a 10 percent decline from the 101,151 in the third quarter.

The third quarter data also showed a decline from the 102,991 EVs registered in the second quarter of 2023.

While industry pundits are reserving judgment about future trends, the latest numbers have them paying extra attention.

Brian Maas is President of the California New Car Dealers Association and the 2023 chairman of Automotive Trade Association Executives.

Maas was quoted in Automotive News saying, “The sales trend is slowing down, and it needs to go up to get to 100 percent. There is a lot of ground to cover in just 11 years. While a two-quarter downturn is not a definitive trend, it is something to monitor.”

When gas prices aren’t insane, spending tens of thousands extra on an EV just may be

What’s fueling (pardon the pun) the change in consumer preferences is that gasoline prices are lower than they were several months ago, mitigating a drawback to internal combustion engine vehicles. 

Sales of EVs, plug-in hybrids and hybrids usually rise and fall in a similar pattern to gasoline prices because of changes in operating expenses. 

Maas also points out that it is more difficult for consumers to figure out the mishmash of state and federal tax credits available to them if they purchase an electric vehicle, compared to a purchase of a traditional gasoline-powered vehicle.

He adds, “TV advertisements offer discounted financing rates and rebates at the point of sale. It is simple. That’s the touchstone people use when thinking about a rebate program. The government programs require additional education for consumers and dealers.”

Without those government incentives, the number of EVs purchased would likely be substantially lower.

Additionally, as a general rule, EVs cost more.

With interest rates running much higher compared with previous years, less expensive vehicles are needed for many on a budget to keep monthly payments more affordable.

“If consumers are looking at vehicles based on price a lot of the EVs are not competitive.” Maas said.

But just as California is hesitant to fix its troublesome power grid, the state’s politicians aren’t going to change their EV mandate unless they have no choice, or the public retires them first.

Stay tuned to Blue State Blues for any updates to this ongoing story. 

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