Energy

US Still Hasn’t Met Obama’s Goal Of 1 Million Electric Cars On the Road

REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

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Michael Bastasch Energy Editor

Former President Barack Obama pledged to have one million plug-in electric vehicles on the road by 2015. Three years after that deadline, the U.S. still hasn’t met that goal.

Americans have bought 837,798 plug-in electric vehicles from 2010 through April 2018, according to Inside EVs’ sales scorecard. Sales hit a record 199,826 plug-ins in 2017, though even that was just above one percent of total car sales.

Obama promised in 2009 to get one million plug-in electric vehicles on the road by 2015. When it became apparent electric vehicle sales weren’t even close, the White House scaled back its goal in early 2015.

By that time, electric car sales were only 31 percent of where they needed to be to meet the president’s 2015 goal.

That’s not to say electric vehicle sales haven’t grown — they have. Driven by generous tax credits and subsidies to automakers, electric vehicle sales have grown from around to 17,000 in 2010 to nearly 200,000 in 2017.

For context, 572,829 SUV cross-overs were sold in March 2018 alone. Even as gas prices rise, Americans are still opting for gas-powered vehicles. More than 2.7 million light trucks have been sold so far in 2018.

Obama’s bet on electric vehicles came before the price of crude oil collapsed in summer 2014, driving down prices at the pump. Gas is encroaching $3 per gallon on improving global economic conditions, but increased vehicle fuel efficiency offsets some of the pain.

However, electric car sales are up from this time in 2017. If sales maintain 2017 levels, Americans will have bought just over one million plug-in electric vehicles by the end of 2018.

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