Majority of voters favor gasoline-car phaseout. But all-electric goal faces tough opposition, including by oil companies.
Electric cars have surged in popularity since they first roared onto the public consciousness with Toyota’s Prius. Now, the trend is taking a giant leap toward becoming a reality.
More than one-third of Americans want the country to move toward phasing out gasoline-powered cars by 2050, according to a survey by the University of Michigan’s Institute for Social Research. Two-thirds favor replacing all cars with electric, plug-in hybrids and “advanced” versions of the internal combustion engine.
Some 69 percent of voters, moreover, say their personal automobile preference should depend on how much environmental and energy policy benefits them, not on political ideology, the survey said.
The survey comes as General Motors is expected to unveil an all-electric Chevrolet Bolt in March, followed by Honda’s all-electric Fit, Nissan’s all-electric Leaf and the Volkswagen I.D. concept car.
But all-electric vehicles, especially hybrids with an electric motor and a combustion engine for a combustion-powered generator, have been met with strong resistance from the auto manufacturers and even from some politicians who have argued that an electric car is, at best, an expensive way to get an equivalent gas mileage.
Some even argue that a full plug-in vehicle is too expensive.
“I’m not for electrics at all,” said John Boch Jr., 70, of Arlington, Texas, who said he gets 30 mpg on the road from his old Toyota Corolla and the Leaf.
“I’m not for buying a gas car,” he said, adding that he has a “green” driving style and drives mostly on public transportation.
The question of whether Americans will embrace electric cars is “a very complicated” and multifaceted one, said Mark Muro, director of the Center for Transportation Research at the University of Michigan.
“I think that you can look at the big picture of what the market is, but from the personal perspective is one of the most contentious issues in the market,” Muro said.
Ahead of the Michigan