Why the N.Y. Metro Area Is Seeing an Explosive Growth in Electric Cars

Ownership rates of electric cars have more than doubled in New York City and the surrounding area, propelled by more varied models, more public charging stations and the fact they are now cheaper.

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By Robin Shulman Agüeros

On weekdays, John Sibley motors down NY-17 from his home north of New York City, eventually crossing the George Washington Bridge into Manhattan and lurching through stop-and-go traffic to his job near Times Square. The 65-mile commute used to cost him a lot in gas.

Then last winter, he bought an electric car, a used Chevrolet Bolt.

“I was spending $100 a week on gas, and now I’m spending $100 a month on electricity,” said Mr. Sibley, 47. “I’m the cheap early adopter.”

He is one of many in New York City and its suburbs, as electric car ownership has shot up over the past several years. In 2020, there were about three electric vehicles per 1,000 people in the New York City metro region (excluding locations in Connecticut, which didn’t collect data by county); today that number has more than doubled to about seven vehicles per 1,000, according to data from Atlas Public Policy, a research firm.

Electric Vehicles in the New York City Metro Region

Many ZIP codes in the region saw a per capita increase in electric vehicles on the road. In one ZIP code in Jamaica, Queens, the rate rose to 160 electric vehicles per 1,000 people in 2022 from 58 in 2020.

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