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Best and Worst States to Own an Electric Vehicle

Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author’s opinions and recommendations alone. It may not have been reviewed, commissioned or otherwise endorsed by any of our network partners.

Even as the recent spike in gas prices reinvigorated American interest in electric vehicles (EVs), the U.S. automotive industry and federal agencies under the Biden administration had already committed to long-term investments in EVs and the infrastructure to support them.

Curious how the consumer experience of acquiring and having an EV differs across the nation, LendingTree researchers analyzed state data to rank the best — and worst — states to own an electric vehicle. Here’s what we found.

Key findings

  • Washington is the best state to own an electric vehicle. The state has the third-most electric vehicle registrations relative to miles traveled. In addition, it also has the fourth-lowest average price of electricity for residential users.
  • Utah is the second-best state to own an electric vehicle. The state combines a low fatality rate per mile traveled with cheap residential electricity costs. Utah residents can also qualify for a $13,500 tax credit in 2022 if they purchase a qualifying heavy-duty electric vehicle.
  • Mississippi is the worst state in which to own an electric vehicle. The state has dangerous roads and no tax incentives for helping residents buy electric vehicles. It also has the fewest electric vehicle registrations relative to miles traveled and the second-fewest electric vehicle supply equipment (EVSE) ports relative to miles traveled.
  • South Carolina is the second-worst state to own an electric vehicle. The state has the worst fatality rate per miles traveled across the U.S., but appears higher than Mississippi because of slightly better electric vehicle registrations and charging ports relative to miles traveled.

Washington is best state to own electric vehicle

Washington ranks as the best state in which to have an electric vehicle. It has one of the lowest residential electricity costs in the nation as of January 2022, priced at 9.92 cents per kilowatt-hour (kWh). That means it’ll cost about $5 — 496 cents — to fully charge a Tesla Model 3 with a standard-range battery, which can take you over 250 miles.

Washington consumers may also find that their entire EV price — or a large portion of it — is exempt from state retail sales and use tax. Up to $20,000 of a new EV’s price may be free from state taxes when purchased. Given that Washington’s state sales and usage tax on vehicles is 6.8%, this could save consumers $1,360 compared to buying a gas-powered vehicle.

The Evergreen State isn’t the only Pacific Northwest winner, either: Oregon ranks as the fifth-best state to have an EV. It also offers significant tax rebates — up to $5,000 on the purchase or lease of a new or used EV — and ranks 11th for lowest electricity cost.

Here’s a look at the top states to own an electric vehicle and how they fared across our metrics:

Top states to own an electric vehicle

RankStateFatality rate per 100 million VMTElectricity cost per kWh (cents)State tax creditsChargers per billion VMTEV registrations per 100 million VMTScore
1Washington1.019.92Yes83.96109.3100.00
2Utah0.9010.29Yes74.9343.993.04
3Maryland0.8913.40Yes75.8643.577.22
4Massachusetts0.6925.28Yes108.2348.875.95
5Oregon1.6410.86Yes80.8185.274.05
6District of Columbia1.0213.18No259.0386.172.78
7Colorado1.2413.61Yes89.6662.271.52
8New York0.9421.01Yes79.9737.868.99
9Rhode Island0.8823.56Yes103.0328.568.99
10New Jersey0.9616.32Yes33.5359.166.46

Source: LendingTree analysis of various sources

Five of the 10 best states to buy an EV are also in the top 10 for the smallest land areas, which gives them a leg up on the metric of chargers per billion vehicle miles traveled.

RELATED: Best auto loans and rates for 2022

Runner-up to best state to own electric vehicle: Utah

The Beehive State has some of the safest roads in the U.S., with less than one fatality for every 100 million vehicle miles traveled within its borders. State residents and visitors drove over 25 billion miles in Utah in 2021, encouraged by the state’s five national parks, which saw a resurgence of visitors as travel opened back up.

Utah’s inexpensive cost of residential electricity — 10.29 cents per kWh — also makes owning an EV attractive, especially compared to recent gas prices. And even if you’re not looking for a heavy-duty vehicle that would qualify for an EV tax credit, the state is still committed to supporting EV ownership:

  • Drivers can use their EVs in HOV lanes regardless of the number of passengers.
  • By the end of 2025, the Utah Department of Transportation will have installed public electric vehicle supply equipment (EVSE) charging stations every 50 miles or fewer along the highways.
  • The Utah Department of Environmental Quality is offering businesses and nonprofits rebates for up to 50% off EV charging stations, so Utah residents can charge their vehicles while at work.

 

What about California?

California is the home to roughly 42% of all registered EVs in the country — however, it ranks as the 11th best state to own one, due to one of the highest electricity costs and not-the-best road safety.

Mississippi is worst state to own electric vehicle

Almost on the opposite side of the nation, the beautiful Magnolia State doesn’t go out of its way to accommodate EV ownership.

Its mostly rural roads are among the most deadly in the country, and there are no government-sponsored incentives to support or encourage residents to choose an EV over a traditionally powered vehicle. The only incentive in the state noted by the U.S. Department of Energy is provided by an energy company that offers eligible customers some cash incentives, ranging from $100 to $5,000, to choose electrically powered business equipment.

MORE: State laws and incentives from the U.S. Department of Energy

Mississippi also has the lowest amount of EV registrations per mile traveled and the second-lowest number of EV chargers per mile traveled.

Here’s a look at the worst states to own an electric vehicle and how they fared across our metrics:

Worst states to own an electric vehicle

RankStateFatality rate per 100 million VMTElectricity cost per kWh (cents)State tax creditsChargers per billion VMTEV registrations per 100 million VMTScore
1Mississippi1.8311.48No9.492.50.00
2South Carolina1.9912.73No19.0910.32.53
3Louisiana1.8511.20No9.075.23.16
4Alabama1.4012.86No10.205.65.70
5New Mexico1.7513.12No21.2512.78.86
6Arkansas1.7910.33No16.234.79.49
7Kentucky1.5711.93No15.067.410.76
8West Virginia1.5611.95No22.084.715.19
9South Dakota1.4911.03No20.705.217.09
10Indiana1.1613.41No14.6811.617.72

Source: LendingTree analysis of various sources

Ford, General Motors and Volkswagen have announced plans to open EV battery plants in Kentucky (No.7) and nearby Tennessee (No.12), which may change the statistics there.

Yet, in general, the South is a tough place to be an electric vehicle owner — which is almost counterintuitive when you consider that EVs tend to work well in hot weather while struggling to maintain their mileage range in colder climates.

Runner-up to worst state to own electric vehicle: South Carolina

South Carolina has more charging ports per mile traveled and a slightly better ratio of electric vehicle registrations than Mississippi. In addition, its state government is currently doing an impact study on the challenges and potential value of adjusting its transportation system to support EVs.

However, there are three reasons the Palmetto State ranks as one of the worst places to own an electric vehicle:

  • It has the worst road fatality rates nationally — 1.99 deaths per 100 million vehicle miles traveled
  • Its residential electricity cost is higher than Mississippi’s
  • There are no government-provided incentives for consumers to purchase EVs

Full rankings

Best — and worst — states to own an electric vehicle

RankStateFatality rate per 100 million VMTElectricity cost per kWh (cents)State tax creditsChargers per billion VMTEV registrations per 100 million VMTScore
1Washington1.019.92Yes83.96109.3100.00
2Utah0.9010.29Yes74.9343.993.04
3Maryland0.8913.40Yes75.8643.577.22
4Massachusetts0.6925.28Yes108.2348.875.95
5Oregon1.6410.86Yes80.8185.274.05
6District of Columbia1.0213.18No259.0386.172.78
7Colorado1.2413.61Yes89.6662.271.52
8New York0.9421.01Yes79.9737.868.99
9Rhode Island0.8823.56Yes103.0328.568.99
10New Jersey0.9616.32Yes33.5359.166.46
11California1.3623.58Yes149.28178.764.56
12Delaware1.2812.24Yes45.7328.463.29
13Hawaii0.9737.44No106.84151.861.39
14Virginia1.0812.10No48.8034.760.13
15Vermont1.0819.34No173.1944.859.49
16Arizona1.6012.37Yes41.8952.358.86
17Connecticut1.1822.28Yes58.5042.356.96
18Georgia1.3911.63Yes39.0424.556.96
19Nebraska0.969.43No23.9011.554.43
20Minnesota0.8612.71No29.7624.153.16
21Illinois1.3313.12Yes32.0934.852.53
22Nevada1.3912.93No68.6652.951.90
23Pennsylvania1.2814.19Yes37.3124.848.73
24New Hampshire0.8921.26No36.7027.746.84
25Missouri1.3610.08No36.3211.644.30
26Maine1.0318.32No60.8918.043.04
27Texas1.6312.24Yes25.2725.343.04
28North Carolina1.3710.88No28.0218.541.77
29Iowa1.0510.97No23.529.039.24
30Wisconsin0.9614.82Yes19.3813.039.24
31Kansas1.3412.52No40.8613.638.61
32Ohio1.2712.53No26.5017.835.44
33Wyoming1.1810.28No22.654.235.44
34Oklahoma1.5610.16No30.3610.334.81
35North Dakota1.259.44No21.423.133.54
36Idaho1.449.90No18.2116.132.91
37Florida1.7113.36No36.6435.030.38
38Montana1.7210.67Yes21.109.029.75
39Michigan1.2617.13No25.0515.124.05
40Tennessee1.6411.51No22.3812.622.15
41Alaska1.1921.82No21.4221.921.52
42Indiana1.1613.41No14.6811.617.72
43South Dakota1.4911.03No20.705.217.09
44West Virginia1.5611.95No22.084.715.19
45Kentucky1.5711.93No15.067.410.76
46Arkansas1.7910.33No16.234.79.49
47New Mexico1.7513.12No21.2512.78.86
48Alabama1.4012.86No10.205.65.70
49Louisiana1.8511.20No9.075.23.16
50South Carolina1.9912.73No19.0910.32.53
51Mississippi1.8311.48No9.492.50.00

Source: LendingTree analysis of various sources

Methodology

LendingTree researchers compiled five metrics to rank the best and worst states to own an electric vehicle:

  • Fatality rate per 100 million vehicle miles traveled. The fatality data is from the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and covers January through September 2021. The vehicle miles traveled data is from the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), covering the same January-to-September 2021 period.
  • Public electric vehicle supply equipment (EVSE) charging ports per billion vehicle miles traveled. The charging point data is from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Alternative Fuels Data Center, updated on April 4, 2022. The vehicle miles traveled data is from the FHWA. Because there are fewer charging points than fatalities and electric cars (more on this next), this was tracked per billion vehicle miles traveled.
  • Electric vehicle registrations per 100 million vehicle miles traveled. The data is from the DOE Alternative Fuels Data Center and is as of Dec. 31, 2020.
  • Availability of tax credits. The data is from EnergySage, last updated in August 2021. This looks at whether electric vehicle tax credits and rebates are available at the state level. Those with state incentives received a “1,” while those without received a “0.” For charts within the study, we labeled these as “Yes” or “No.”
  • Cost of electricity. The data is from the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) and is as of January 2022. This is the average cost of electricity in cents per kilowatt-hour for residential users.

The states were ranked in each metric before we found the average across the five metrics. We then assigned a score to each state based on their average ranking. The state with the best average ranking received a 100, while the state with the worst average ranking received a 0.

 

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