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Colonial Pipeline Shutdown Sparked U.S. Consumer Interest In EVs

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In early May, the Colonial Pipeline – which is responsible for moving roughly half of the gas destined for the East Coast of the U.S. – was hacked, leading to a short shutdown that sent that part of the country into a major panic. Consumers rushed out and bought as much gas as they could, leading to rising prices and widespread shortages. But perhaps more interestingly, the Colonial Pipeline shutdown also sparked U.S. consumer interest in electric vehicles, according to research from Cox Automotive.

The research project found that 50 percent of consumers surveyed indicated that the Colonial Pipeline shutdown directly caused them to become more interested in EVs, while 36 percent said they were now more likely to buy an electric vehicle in the future. These results are unsurprising following such a potentially catastrophic event, but as Cox Automotive points out, such changes in interest don’t often last once market conditions change.

A good example of this comes to us from 2008, when gas prices skyrocketed across the U.S., leading more consumers to purchase fuel-efficient vehicles instead of trucks and SUVs. However, once gas prices returned to a normal level, sales shifted right back to bigger, heavier, less fuel-efficient vehicles.

“Consumer interest in EVs is still relatively low in the U.S., but shifting economic factors and conditions, along with an increase in EV offerings, will make EVs more top of mind for consumers moving forward,” said Vanessa Ton, senior industry intelligence manager at Kelley Blue Book, a Cox Automotive company.

While most automakers, including Ford, continue to invest heavily in electric vehicles, sales continue to creep upward, though they still represent a small percentage of overall automotive sales. Most consumers hesitant to purchase an EV cite a lack of infrastructure, pricing, and range as their main concerns, however, factors like high gas prices and lack of access to fuel can also obviously have a big impact on purchasing decisions.

We’ll have more automotive insights like this to share soon, so be sure and subscribe to Ford Authority for 24/7 Ford news coverage.

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Written by Brett Foote

Brett's lost track of all the Fords he's owned over the years and how much he's spent modifying them, but his current money pits include an S550 Mustang and 13th gen F-150.

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11 Comments

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  1. This is Government control over its people. How much more of your freedom are you willing to give up?

    • whose government over whose people? All these hacks are coming from Russia/North Korea/China. And its not just USA getting targeted. Its the entire world. Its a straight up ransom for money, no more. no less. Dont click on any links in suspicious emails, dont hold the door open (at work) for strangers, and dont ever divulge sensitive info. Do this and your company is protected from hackers.

  2. same panic buying BS happened with toilet paper. Didnt hear about a major uptick in bedet sales though.
    When gas prices rise, super duty truck prices fall.

    • actually there was a running joke that bidet sales did sky rocket. people are reactive panic impulse shoppers.

      none of this is surprising. then when the coal powerplant gets hacked and they’re without power, people will swing back to gas and diesel.

  3. What’s funny it it’s already been reported that the only ‘system’ actually hacked was their billing system. Nothing, absolutely nothing to do with their pipeline operations. Only their ability to charge suppliers down the line buying the gas.

    I get the til foil hat people saying this could have been easily a gov’t conspiracy where ‘hackers’ hacked a gas company to swing public opinion towards ev’s. kinda of a coincidence isn’t it.

  4. All fine and dandy until the northeast has a wicked winter stom, power out for days. good luck with that! Just wait until everyone’s electric bill doubles because of demand. Gas/ diesel represents a huge amount of energy not easily replaced. Electric cars may work for some, not most.

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