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Study: Buying an EV Makes You Drive More

A Tesla Model 3 drives on a snowy road. We see it from a front three-quarter angle. The car is sleek, in glossy black with black wheels and trim.Most of us are driving less than usual this summer. The average price of a gallon of gas has slipped under $4 per gallon in nine states as of this morning, largely thanks to Americans driving less during peak summer driving season.

But one group of people may be driving more. It’s the ones who fill the comments section of internet articles and social media posts telling us that the rising gas price hasn’t affected them: owners of electric vehicles (EVs).

According to a new study, EV drivers drive more than those who own gasoline cars.

Data Comes from Norway

With data coming from Norway, it’s always possible that there’s something unique about Norwegians that would keep the same phenomenon from applying in the U.S. But Norwegian data is useful since the country is ahead of the curve in switching to EVs.

The U.S. is catching up – 5.6% of the cars Americans bought last quarter were electric. At least one study has led researchers to conclude that 5% is a vital tipping point. Once a country passes the 5% mark, EV adoption speeds up.

If that’s true, you’ll see more of them in your neighborhood soon. Another recent study found that Americans are more likely to go electric as they see more EVs around them. It may be one big self-reinforcing cycle.

Statistics Norway is a Norwegian government entity that publishes statistics about Norway and Norwegians. We’re not making that up. In a recent report, it found that EV owners drive more miles per year than owners of gasoline- or diesel-powered cars. Hybrid owners drove nearly as much as EV owners.

By the way, the average gallon of gas this morning in Norway costs the equivalent of $9.03. Guess what Norwegian government agency we got that report from.

There’s a simple logic to the conclusion: If driving costs less, we’ll do more of it. Statistics from our own government, through the Energy Information Administration, show that as driving costs more, we do less of it.

Electric vehicles still comprise less than 3% of the American fleet. So we’re a long way from the day when Americans drive most miles under electric power. But we’ll get there, if the Norwegians are a useful example, by buying EVs and then increasing our annual driving because it’s cheap.

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