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As Virginia plans 2020 General Assembly session, new survey of drivers finds broad interest in electric vehicles and supportive policy

Virginia drivers are interested in electric cars, trucks and SUVs, and want state leaders to make them more available to buy

Richmond, VA — Most prospective car buyers in Virginia are interested in electric vehicles and broadly support policies that would make buying an electric vehicle more affordable for people in Virginia. Those opinions were shared in a new survey from Consumer Reports (CR) and the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS), which comes as pre-filing begins today for Virginia’s 2020 General Assembly session.

The survey found:

  • 6 in 10 prospective car buyers in Virginia have some interest in electric cars, trucks and SUVs, including 32% who say they would consider buying one within the next two years, and 8% who definitely plan to buy one within the next two years. 
  • 7 in 10 Virginia drivers want incentives and rebates for electric vehicles available to all consumers. Virginia does not currently offer incentives.

“Virginia is at a fork in the road and Virginia consumers want their leaders to take the path to cleaner cars and healthier citizens,” says Shannon Baker-Branstetter, manager of cars and energy policy for Consumer Reports. “With the White House threatening to weaken pollution rules for vehicles, it will be up to Virginia’s new General Assembly to find ways to cut emissions and save consumers money on fuel, such as taking steps to adopt Clean Car standards.”

Transitioning drivers in Virginia to electric vehicles could help reduce consumer costs and air pollution. Electric vehicles offer significantly lower operating and fueling costs compared to traditional, gas-powered cars. Also, electric vehicles in Virginia produce, on average, about 70 percent less greenhouse gas emissions than gas-powered vehicles, according to a recent analysis by Consumer Reports. EVs have made up less than two percent of all vehicles sold in Virginia in 2019, according to industry data.


Prospective vehicle buyers in Virginia overwhelmingly want to see more electric vehicles available to purchase or lease, and believe that electric vehicles have real benefits:

  • 75 percent agree increased electric vehicle use will help reduce oil use.
  • 74 percent agree increased electric vehicle use will help reduce pollution.
  • 72 percent agree automakers should provide more kinds of electric vehicles, including SUVs, pickup trucks and minivans.
  • 64 percent agree electric vehicles will help consumers save money on gasoline and maintenance.

Policies that would grow the electric vehicle market and help consumers drive electric also draw strong support in Virginia:

  • 71 percent agree that incentives and tax rebates for plug-in electric vehicles should be available to all consumers (9 percent disagree).
  • 68 percent agree electric utilities should offer discount rates for plug-in electric vehicle charging (9 percent disagree).
  • 65 percent agree Virginia should make it easier for consumers to purchase and charge plug-in electric vehicles (10 percent disagree).
  • 63 percent are supportive of Virginia increasing the use of plug-in electric vehicles for school buses, public transit, and fleets (10 percent disagree).

A downloadable version of the survey results are attached at the top of this page.