Expert Insights

What Are the Most EV-Friendly Places in America?

Laurance Yap
April 23, 2024
Electric cars are becoming more and more popular across the U.S. But some cities and states offer far better access to EV charging than others, according to a study by iSeeCars.
Numerous people at an EV charging station

More EVs Means More Charging Demand

Electric vehicle market share has more than doubled in the past two years – rising from 2.7 percent in early 2021 to over 6 percent at the end of 2022. In that time, hundreds of thousands more Americans have gone electric, with thousands more joining every month. While most EV drivers happily charge at home overnight with a home charger, more and more Americans will at some point need to juice up on a public charger, placing increasing demands on the 160,000 EV charging stations that make up our country’s charging network.

As more drivers living in shared accommodations choose EVs, and more Americans take their EVs on road trips, the importance of access to public charging has increased. That access varies widely across the U.S., however, with some cities and states offering significantly better access to public charging than others. Industry data aggregator iSeeCars recently did an analysis of the national infrastructure to determine which cities and states offer the best and worst charging support for EV owners. The study took into account both Level 2 and Level 3 fast chargers, to see which cities and states were best for EV owners. The rankings considered number of residents per available charger.

Los angeles city traffic

California Takes 5 of Top 10 Spots for EV-Friendly Cities

Not surprisingly, five of the top 10 EV-friendly cities are located in California. San Francisco-Oakland was far and away the leader, with only 465 residents per charger, followed by San Diego in second place (824 residents per charger) and Los Angeles in third (852). Fresno (5th place, 1,024) and Sacramento (7th place, 1,111) also ranked.

Other cities and states making it into the top 10 were Denver, CO (4th place, 992), Kansas City, MO (6th place, 1,063), Boston (8th place, 1,111), Baltimore, MD (9th place, 1,234) and Seattle-Tacoma, WA (10th place, 1,099). The national average was 2,280 residents per available charger.

On the flip side, EV drivers have the worst charging access in St. Louis, MO, with 5,787 residents per charger, followed by Birmingham, AL; Indianapolis, IN; San Antonio, TX; Cleveland-Akron, OH; Louisville, KY; Milwaukee, WI; Houston, TX; Greensboro-Winston-Salem, NC; And Dallas-Fort Worth, TX. Texas had three of the least EV-friendly cities in the nation.

EV by autumn leaves

Vermont is the Most EV-Friendly State

While a number of cities in California ranked very high for charging access, it is not the most EV-friendly state. The state of Vermont is better on average, with only 703 residents per charger. California comes in at number two, with 881 residents per charger. Massachusetts, Colorado and Rhode Island round out the top 5 states. Mississippi was ranked the least EV-friendly state, with 9,275 residents per charger – more than 10 times the residents per charger compared to number one Vermont.

When isolating Level 3 fast chargers, which offer the most convenience and speed for road trips and a quick top-up, the national average was one fast charger for every 11,602 residents. In terms of fast charging, the same cities that ranked in the top 10 for overall charging access also were tops for fast chargers, with San Francisco once again on top. Birmingham, AL was worst for fast charging access nationally. Many of the nation’s fast chargers are Tesla’s Superchargers, which are only now being opened up to other vehicle brands. When isolating non-Tesla chargers, Oklahoma City, OK was tops for fast-charging access, followed by Fresno, San Francisco-Oakland, Sacramento, Los Angeles, Denver, San Diego, Portland, OR, Baltimore, and Seattle-Tacoma in the top 10.

Charging Stations infastructure

What About the Future?

Charging access is set to improve significantly over the next few years. New government incentives are aiming to increase EV market share significantly by 2030. Over $5 billion has been earmarked by the federal government for improving the EV infrastructure, which should help the 30,000 Level 3 fast charging stations increase in relation to the 150,000 gas stations across the country.