WASHINGTON — Almost one-third of American car shoppers will consider buying an electric vehicle for their next car purchase, according to a survey released on Thursday by the Consumer Federation of America.
"While the current market penetration of EVs is small, there are currently 12 automakers offering a wide variety of EVs, so these consumers already have choices," said Jack Gillis, CFA's director of public affairs, in a statement.
Most Americans or 54 percent of those surveyed have a positive view of electric vehicles. Only 13 percent had a negative view.
Researchers said the more Americans know about EVs, the more likely they are to consider this purchase.
EVs run on electricity alone and are propelled by one or more electric motors powered by rechargeable battery packs. The Environmental Protection Agency says EVs have "several advantages over vehicles with internal-combustion engines."
EVs are environmentally friendly because they emit no tailpipe pollutants, although the EPA notes that the "power plants producing the electricity may emit them."
On the downside, range is typically limited to 60 to 120 miles on a full charge, and fully recharging a battery pack can take four to eight hours.
But the number of public charging stations here is growing.
The Department of Energy said there are 11,072 public electric-vehicle charging stations in the U.S. with 27,714 charging outlets.
The price of gasoline also has an impact on the widespread adoption of EVs and other alt-fuel vehicles.
The AAA Daily Fuel Gauge Report on Friday pegged the average price for a gallon of unleaded gasoline at $2.18, compared to $3.01 a year ago.
Edmunds says: Only 1 percent of vehicles sold are EVs, but car shoppers are gradually warming up to them.