I am a recent graduate of William and Mary with a double major in environmental science and policy and public policy. I will be an energy blogger. How can the U.S. reduce its dependence on foreign oil? Is green technology going to happen sooner than we think? What kind of message is needed to sell individuals on the need to stop drill baby drill? These are some of the questions I'd like to ex...
Electric Cars: Would you buy one?
Many car manufacturers will of course sell electric cars if there is consumer demand for them. In other words, are individuals willing to give up a traditional gasoline powered vehicle in favor of an electric one? The answer is that yes consumers would buy an electric car, but only if the price is comparable to a traditional gas powered vehicle. For example, Nielsen reports "Of those who accepted the price differential, slightly more than half of consumers in both countries (51% U.S., 57% U.K.) said they would not be willing to pay more than $5,000 above the average of a standard vehicle." Clearly, the obstacle to buying electric vehicles is not due to issues like the perceived nature of the car (i.e. whether it fits into the culture of society), but rather due to things like price. So, if the price of an electric vehicle is comparable to that of a traditional one, presumably more consumers will buy the electric car or truck.
Automakers have certainly done a lot of advertising for their respective electric car brands. In Chevrolet's case, for example, they have advertised the Volt. As such, while the Volt has many benefits to consumers, many may not buy it simply because they have to think about how it will impact their financial situation. In essence, the question for the consumer is one of whether they can afford the Volt or not. Like buying groceries at the supermarket, individuals often have to decide based on what they can afford. Not everyone, therefore, has an extra $5,000 to spend on an environmentally friendly electric car.
As a result, the government needs to come up with a policy that incentivizes the production of electric cars like the Volt so that the price can come down. As of now, individuals are certainly willing to pay for the electric car, but aren't going to buy it if they cannot afford one. Consequently, money needs to be invested in producing more of these electric cars to bring down the price significantly.
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