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Most of us say we're not ready for electric cars

There is strong anti-electric car sentiment among Americans who say overwhelmingly that they don't think they're quite ready to own cars and trucks that aren't powered by gasoline or diesel fuel, according to a Gallup Poll of Americans commissioned by USA Today.

Even as gasoline prices spike and stay above $4 a gallon heading into the upcoming Memorial Day and Fourth of July family holidays, the Gallup Poll of 1,024 Americans is clear in renouncing even the possibility of people counting on an electric vehicle as primary transportation for everyday travel.

Respondents told pollsters, according to USA Today, that they're skittish at this time for a few reasons: because they don't want to be limited by how far and how long they can drive to get somewhere, and they are uncomfortable with having to wait for a battery to charge if it goes dead.

There also are concerns, real or imagined, about the price of replacement batteries.

A total of 57% of those polled said they are not ready to consider buying an electric car like the Chevrolet Volt, Nissan Leaf or maybe a future Think product.

The poll can be plus or minus 4 points due to potential for error, so that means the rejection range varies from 61% to 53% of those polled by Gallup May 12-15.

While there is skepticism, there is evidence that the tide could turn in favor of electric cars as a serious option for buyers over time if numerous factors ease the worries of Americans who are dogged by troubled economic times and continually threatened employment.

The pro-electric movement is counting on good and bad factors to weigh in their favor: Steadily climbing gasoline prices make driving conventional vehicles expensive. A $7,500 federal tax credit rebate for people who buy electrics puts money in a buyer's pocket. And pressure from green celebrities like Julia Roberts and her love for the Toyota Prius could persuade everyday people that making an environmentally correct choice is the right one.

You can reach's Hawke Fracassa at [email protected].
Electric car charging station image source: Wikipedia


steveEV (not verified)    May 27, 2011 - 6:31PM

Please preface your headline with the qualification that those surveyed did not include drivers familiar with electric vehicle technology.

The survey question itself was framed to garner a negative response, essentially "would you buy an electric car that could not go very far if gas was more expensive?" In the real world modern electric cars have a range of more than twice the average daily driving needs for 80% of US drivers.

Would you buy an electric car that recharges while you sleep, has enough range for a few days of driving and will cost you only a few cents per mile no matter how much gas prices rise?