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Getting an EV can be a great way for folks to fight climate change and stop caring about gas prices. However, EVs aren’t flawless. They come with their share of issues, such as range anxiety. And unfortunately for drivers in the West, getting an EV may also mean getting a lot of range anxiety due to a lack of EV charging stations. 

What is range anxiety anyways?

An EV charging to prevent range anxiety during travel.
EV charging | Getty Images

Like the name implies, range anxiety is the anxiety someone feels when they aren’t sure if they have enough juice to get to their destination. The ultimate fear of someone with range anxiety is that the car will run out of juice in the middle of the road, thus leaving the driver and the passengers stranded. Technically speaking, range anxiety can happen with any car, as drivers often will run out of gas. But it primarily refers to EVs nowadays

A regular car’s range can be measured by its fuel economy multiplied by how big of a gas tank it has. As a result, a standard car with a full gas tank can expect to get about 400 miles of range. In comparison, most EVs have a range number that’s about 200 or 250 miles. As a result, drivers who do short commutes probably should not worry about range anxiety whatsoever.

But until EVs with more range come out, many EV owners will have range anxiety. One of the common cures for range anxiety is to have a lot of charging stations so that owners can keep their EV topped off. 

Here’s why the Western U.S. lacks chargers

According to Forbes, having a lot of EV charging stations in the Western U.S. will be very difficult. As a result, many EV owners living there will get a case of range anxiety. This lack of EV charging stations is essentially a result of the geography of the West. Many of America’s most popular national parks and tourist destinations are in the West, but they’re usually in the middle of nowhere. 

Much of the West is still sparsely populated, so there are a lot of empty miles from one charging station to another. To add to that, the geography and weather of some Western states will also hurt an EV’s range. Combined with the relative lack of charging stations, many people living in the West will experience range anxiety when they buy an EV. Many tourists who visit the West with an EV might also feel the same way.

Unsurprisingly, range anxiety has become such a big issue for many Americans. According to Forbes, it’s the number one reason why someone doesn’t buy an EV. Fortunately, there are many solutions to this range anxiety and charging infrastructure problems. 

EV charging stations infrastructure and range anxiety can be solved

Since most regular cars have a roughly 400-mile range, an EV with a similar range number can help alleviate range anxiety in people. These EVs are rare, but they’re coming. The Tesla Model S can get 400 miles of range. Even larger truck EVs like the Ram 1500 EV might be able to get 400 miles of range.

Of course, the lack of charging stations in the West can be solved by simply building more charging stations. Thanks to the infrastructure bill that President Biden signed that is exactly what’s happening. 


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