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Some states want to help push electric vehicle adoption. Others don’t. They make it harder and more expensive to drive an EV than not. These are the states that if you’re living in them it is best not to buy an EV. At least not now.

What are states doing that makes them bad?

An EV charging station in California
EV Charging Station | Citizen of the Planet/Education Images/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Banning direct-to-customer sales, extra registration fees, and higher road charges are all ways that some states make it hard to buy an EV. If you’re thinking that this breaks down into red states discouraging EV sales and blue states pushing it, you would be wrong. All 50 states have been graded for their ease or difficulty in making an EV purchase.

The Consumer Choice Center does the rating. And in a surprise finding the 10 states listed as the toughest to purchase an EV through are Alabama, Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Carolina, West Virginia, and Wisconsin. In these states, you can’t make a direct vehicle sale, and it is more expensive registering an EV.  

Of the 50 states, 28 will charge you more to register an EV. Tesla sales have been banned in 17 states because their Franchise Tax laws don’t allow direct sales. And 12 more states have electric vehicle restrictions on sales through some direct-to-buyer laws. Some of these states restrict direct sales but don’t charge a higher fee to register an EV. Others, like Michigan, allow only Tesla to bypass Franchise Tax laws and sell direct. 

“Better policies will reduce significant barriers preventing consumers from fully accessing EVs”

A man plugs a charging cable into the filler neck of a VW ID.3 during a press tour of a charging park for electric cars outside Volkswagen's Transparent Factory.
Man charges Volkswagen ID.3 | Sebastian Kahnert/picture alliance via Getty Images

“It is clear that consumers want more access to electric vehicles,” CCC’s North American affairs manager David Clement to arstechnica. “Therefore legislation should make the purchase and ownership of them as convenient as possible. And we urge legislators to put forth better policies that will reduce the significant barriers currently preventing consumers from fully accessing EVs.”

Conversely, these are the top 10 states that don’t have electric vehicle restrictions or higher registration fees when purchasing an EV. They are Alaska, Arizona, Delaware, Florida, Maine, Massachusetts, Missouri, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont. California is not included on this list for a reason.

California is not on the “Best States” list-how come?

A grey Tesla Model Y sits outside a showroom
A Tesla showroom | Qilai Shen via Getty Images

Because California now has its licensing fees for EVs based on the consumer price index, they are gradually increasing. Currently, they’re at $100. Gas taxes are used by the state for road improvements and other travel-related costs. Since EVs don’t use gasoline this licensing fee arrangement makes sure California gets EVs to chip in. 

Almost half of all EVs in the US are registered in California. It has the highest adoption rate and also has more charging stations than any other state. Nonetheless, the CCC doesn’t consider it one of the Top 10 friendlier because of its licensing fee arrangement. 

With car companies slated to stop building gas-powered vehicles over the next 10 years, some states will have to adapt fairly soon. While they may continue charging higher fees for EVs, they will also have to increase charging stations. Direct to buyer restrictions won’t be as much of a factor with all car companies now rolling out EVs at a steady pace. 


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