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Top Cities for Electric Car Ownership in the U.S.

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author photo by Lindsay Martell June 2016

Portland is weird, wired and massively plugged in. According to researchers at the Indiana University School of Public and Environmental Affairs, the Pacific Northwest city is the most electric car-friendly place in the nation.

In a report published earlier this year in The Electricity Journal, scholars looked at 36 cities, including the nation's 25 largest, and found that Portland did the best job encouraging plug-in electric vehicle (PEV) ownership.

PEVs = Free Stuff

The data examined the policies that each city put in place to encourage residents to purchase PEVs. To encourage electric car adoption, cities offer benefits including financial incentives, special access to high-occupancy vehicle lanes, EV-specific parking privileges and streamlined processes for installing charging equipment.

And while Portland nabbed the top spot, Washington, D.C., New York City, Baltimore and Los Angeles rounded out the top five.

Cities Need to Step Up

With the recent drop in gas prices, there's been less of an incentive for buyers to purchase PEVs. The onus is on cities to step up and make it more attractive for buyers to go electric.

"If cities are not supportive of PEV adoption, the technology's promise as a tool of energy security and climate change mitigation will not be fully realized," the researchers wrote.

Portland has made it much easier to obtain a home-based EV charger, streamlining the often-complicated permitting process. It's also the only city in the country to have elected an "electric car czar."

For a city known for its stellar coffee and sublime outdoorsy ways, Portland now holds the distinction of being the most plugged-in place in America.

The Electric Car Champs

But Portland isn't alone in the effort. Here are the top 36 most PEV-friendly cities in the U.S., according to the study:

  1. Portland, Oregon
  2. Washington, D.C.
  3. Baltimore, Maryland
  4. New York City
  5. Denver, Colorado
  6. Los Angeles, California
  7. Atlanta, Georgia
  8. Chicago, Illinois
  9. Austin, Texas
  10. San Francisco, California
  11. Boston, Massachusetts
  12. Houston, Texas
  13. Indianapolis, Indiana
  14. Orlando, Florida
  15. San Diego, California
  16. Seattle, Washington
  17. San Jose, California
  18. Hartford, Connecticut
  19. Phoenix, Arizona
  20. Fort Worth, Texas
  21. Honolulu, Hawaii
  22. Nashville, Tennessee
  23. Dallas, Texas
  24. Jacksonville, Florida
  25. Newark, New Jersey
  26. Raleigh, North Carolina
  27. Burlington, Vermont
  28. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  29. San Antonio, Texas
  30. Charlotte, North Carolina
  31. Memphis, Tennessee
  32. Detroit, Michigan
  33. El Paso, Texas
  34. Portland, Maine
  35. Providence, Rhode Island
  36. Columbus, Ohio
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Top Cities for Electric Car Ownership in the U.S. - Autotrader