A Harvard University study at the Kennedy School of Government, titled “Will Electric Cars Transform the U.S. Vehicle Market?” by Henry Lee and Grant Lovellette, has found that as the price of gas goes up the interest in electric cars also increases, but people won’t really start buying EV’s until gas costs at least $4.50 a gallon.
Henry Lee is a Senior Lecturer in Public Policy, the Jassim M. Jaidah Family Director of the Environment and Natural Resources Program within the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Co-Chair of the Kennedy School’s Program on Infrastructure in a Market Economy, and Co-Principal Investigator of the Energy, Technology, and Policy Project. Grant Lovellette is a research consultant at the Kennedy School specializing in the potential of mileage fees, alternative fuels, and freight optimization as tools to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S. transportation sector.
The John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University is consistently ranked as the top Public Policy School in nation. World renowned leaders and politicians have taught or studied within the program since its founding in 1936.
The foundation of the study is that electric cars will not catch on with the public until the competition from regular gas powered vehicles is diminished. Negative issues such as high price, battery life, and access to chargers all currently plague the current stock of electric cars. The study found that the average cost if an electric or hybrid car is $5,377 more expensive than gasoline powered cars. The study also came to the conclusion that all electric vehicles cost $4,819 more over the life of the car.
The cost of electric cars is expected to fall over the next 10 to 20 years. As the cost to manufacture batteries to power electric cars becomes cheaper, and the cost of gas becomes more expensive, the appeal and acceptance of the electric car will grow. The Harvard study concluded that once gas prices hit $4.50 a gallon electric vehicle sales will improve. It’s already been proven that once gas hits $4.00 a gallon, more people start taking public transportation. And with bigwigs like the ex-CEO of Shell predicting $5 a gallon gas by 2012, we may not be that far off from EV’s really starting to fly off dealership lots after all, though other studies have estimated gas prices might have to be closer to $7 a gallon before Americans really change their driving habits.
So, there it is $4.50, the magic number. We’re not far off from that number these days, so sound off on what you think. How expensive will gas have to get before you consider buying an EV?
Andrew Meggison was born in the state of Maine and educated in Massachusetts. Andrew earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Government and International Relations from Clark University and a Master’s Degree in Political Science from Northeastern University. Being an Eagle Scout, Andrew has a passion for all things environmental. In his free time Andrew enjoys writing, exploring the great outdoors, a good film, and a creative cocktail.