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The United States surpassed two million on-road light-duty electric vehicles in 2021

Data source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, Monthly Energy Review, August 2023; S&P Global Mobility, Vehicles in Operation

In 2021, the number of U.S. registered light-duty electric vehicles (EV) on the roads reached 2.13 million vehicles, a sharp increase from the less than 100,000 EVs on the roads in 2012, according to our Monthly Energy Review.

EVs have become more popular in the United States over the past decade against the backdrop of consumer preferences; an increasing number of available EV models, particularly in the luxury sector; and government policies aimed at increasing uptake. Supportive policies include EV purchase incentives, zero emission vehicles sales requirements, and fuel economy standards.

Our count of EVs includes both battery-electric vehicles (BEVs) and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs). BEVs use only an onboard electric motor powered by a battery pack. PHEVs use both onboard battery packs and an internal combustion engine. In 2021, BEVs accounted for the largest share of registered EVs in the United States, at 65%.

The registered vehicle stock includes all currently registered on-road vehicles; it excludes any past vehicle sales that are no longer registered to an individual or business. The registered vehicle stock is a better measure of how many EVs are on U.S. roads than the cumulative EV sales because not all of the EVs that have been sold are still driving. Of the 2.26 million EVs registered in the United States between 2012 and 2021, about 135,000 were no longer on the road in 2021.

In 2021, the average EV in the United States was 3.6 years old while the average non-EV was 11.1 years old. The average EV is considerably younger than the average non-EV because of the relatively recent surge in EV sales. In 2021, 27% of registered EVs in the United States were purchased in the previous three years, versus the overall fleet in which 5% of registered vehicles were purchased in the previous three years.

To learn more about EVs, check out our Energy Explained article.


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