If the recent surge in gasoline prices, has you concerned, you’re certainly not alone. Fluctuating gas prices have pushed people to look for fuel-efficient alternatives, boosting up the search for ‘EV or electric vehicles’ on Google for March.
Web search for ‘electric vehicle’ has reached a record high in the US Google trends, as tweeted by the Google spokesperson.
An EV subscription company’s chief analyst, Jesse Toprak thinks that the gasoline price raise can be one of the reasons for the search, at the same time however, the surge in people’s interest could be the result of multiple things.
“It’s a direct reaction to high gas prices, and on top of that, we’re also seeing more and more EV models available to choose from for consumers,” Toprak told CNN. “So it’s a function of, I will say, mostly high gas prices, but also the availability of new EV products in the marketplace.”
This also translates to the fact that people are generally looking for alternatives to compare and look for other options, even if they are not actually shopping.
Even if people are exploring the topic due to operational and gasoline charges, electric cars are certainly not inexpensive, especially considering the average US household. Opting for an electric vehicle will also cost them a considerable amount, more than they are actually spending in their current vehicles.
Toprak stated that the trends, however, depict an elevated demand for electric vehicles, bringing the changing behavior to companies’ attention in the form of increased reservations and inquiries about the EVs.
Search interest in #ElectricCars reached a record high in the US this month.— GoogleTrends (@GoogleTrends) March 23, 2022
How has search interest in the topic changed over the years with #gasprices? pic.twitter.com/2LerzR8tAX
“We’re also seeing that more customers want to educate themselves, even if they’ve been on the sidelines so far,” Toprak said. “There’s clearly an interest in consumers trying to figure out, ‘is this a better alternative for me?'”
Co-founder of an electric firm Electric Avenue, Melinda Hanson said that the recent hike in driver’s interests, other than the gas prices, is also due to the increased global discussion of climate change. A recent example of this can be during the Super Bowl, when major auto manufacturers such as General Motors and BMW took the discussion on many social channels.
“The fluctuation in fuel prices, combined with a lot of the increased promotion from car companies around electric vehicles has really sparked more interest,” Hanson told CNN. “It’s really the first step; there’s a long way to go to get people familiarized with electric vehicles. This is good that we’re seeing the search and hopefully, it does help to educate people and convince them that this is a good idea.”
A levitated interest is just not limited to an electric vehicle, people are also switching towards proactive alternatives like hybrid and compact vehicles which increased the sales in the first quarter of the year, said Executive Analyst Cox Automotive, Michelle Krebs.
“Inventories are very low, and a lot of the new models that are coming out are reserved and sold out,” Krebs told CNN.
She further added, “We thought it would get better by the end of this year, but we didn’t have a war on the agenda. So we’ve actually cut back our forecast for this year because we thought supply would be better, but there are too many supply chain disruptions right now.”
Toprak also mentioned the speed with which the climate is accelerating, consumers may witness record high prices in the coming days. Which will give the consumers “extra push and extra impetus” to switch their preferences.
There’s another option that consumers can move to, other than pricey electric cars, which is – Electric bikes.
“People tend to think that they travel a lot further each trip than they actually do,” said Hanson, who owns an electric bike company. “I do think that electric bikes can be a bit of a gateway drug to getting to electric transportation more generally. And I think the supply chain issues are less dramatic on those electric bikes than they are with electric cars.”
Hanson hopes that like people who are moving towards getting an electric vehicle, they’re liable to come across benefits of electric bikes in the same way while searching ‘electric cars’.
“It makes sense from a climate perspective, from a public health perspective, from an energy security perspective — there are just so many benefits to making this transition,” she said, “I certainly hope that this is something that can push it over the edge.”
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