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California EV Sales Decline For First Time In A Decade As State Continues Green Push

Sales of electric vehicles (EVs) in California declined for the first time in more than a decade in the second half of last year, despite the state’s push to encourage EV adoption, according to The Los Angeles Times.

Car manufacturers sold 2,840 fewer EVs in the third quarter of 2023 compared to the second, totaling 100,151, which dropped a further 10.2% in the fourth quarter to 89,933, marking the first quarterly drop in EV sales since 2012 when the products were just hitting the wider market, according to the LA Times. The decline in sales is despite the state’s pledge to ban the sale of new gas- and diesel-powered cars and light trucks by 2035.

“It’s an interesting time for the automakers and consumers,” Greg Bannon, director of automotive engineering at AAA, told the LA Times. “The government and automakers have spent billions on something consumers may not want.”

The decline in the second half of the year defies a 48% rise in EV sales in the first half of 2023 year-over-year, when sales totaled 190,807, around one-fourth of all EV sales in the whole country, according to the LA Times. Demand has since slumped due to factors like consumer charging concerns and high prices, despite federal funds being appropriated to alleviate these concerns.

The Biden administration has designated collectively $7.5 billion in two separate programs to build out the U.S.’ charging infrastructure, such as building new stations and upgrading old ones. Despite the funding, only two stations had been built as of December, with restrictions on designs, location and workers holding up construction.

EVs are still far more expensive than cars utilizing the internal combustion engine, with the Biden administration seeking to bring down prices through a $7,500 tax credit. Companies have been using the credit to increase inventory of EVs, which doubled from 3% in January to around 6% as of September in terms of total cars, but the number of EVs sold only rose from 3% to 4% in terms of market share in that time frame.

“A lot of observers agree that early adopters have bought an EV,” Brian Maas, president of the California Car Dealers Association, told the LA Times. “These vehicles are very expensive for the mass market, and on top of that you have the charging challenges.”

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