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EV Owner? Here’s the Worst Places To Live in the US

Do you currently own an EV? Or are you looking to own an EV? If you’re an electric vehicle owner, you might have experienced some of the hassle of charging an EV. However, if you’re looking to purchase an EV shortly, knowing which cities and states are better equipped to handle electric vehicle ownership is a good idea. Whether it’s plentiful EV charging infrastructure, proper electrical grids to support charging, or a budding EV policy, knowing the ins and outs of EV ownership is an ideal first step to joining the electrification revolution.

The experience of owning an EV can be affected by where you live, and subsequently, your location can determine the challenges you might face as an electric vehicle owner. If you’re located in one of the worst places in the U.S. to own an EV, you might face some unique obstacles as an EV driver—or someone looking to switch to electric transportation. According to a study from iSeeCars conducted in 2022, there are a few places you might want to avoid if you’re looking to embrace the EV life.

Urban Areas With Limited Charging

Land Use for Mining
Image Credit: Chris Hunkeler/WikiCommons.

EV owners might need help finding charging in dense urban areas. Although it’s easy to assume that urban areas have adequate charging infrastructure, plenty of places still haven’t adjusted to the increase in EV drivers. As more and more people adopt electric vehicles, some cities across the U.S. experience high demand for EV charging, which might mean longer wait times for those in more urban areas. There are cities across the U.S. that pose charging challenges for EV owners.

Louis, Missouri 

Louis, Missouri 
Image Credit: MARELBU/WikiCommons.

At the time of the case study, St. Louis only reported 473 total chargers in the area. This means that 5,787 residents might need an EV charger for every charger. Currently, St. Louis offers free charging at 44% of its available charging stations. This area provides Level 2 and Level 3 stations, with around 6,740 registered EV drivers across the state. 

Birmingham, Alabama

Birmingham, Alabama
Image Credit: Eric in SF/WikiCommons.

Birmingham might be doing better than other states, with 296 total chargers and 5,691 residents per charger. Alabama only has 2,890 registered EV drivers, so until state residents begin pursuing electrification, charging might be fine for EV owners. However, with rising number of individuals switching to EVs, Birmingham could easily catch up based on its current limited charging infrastructure. Currently,  47% of Birmingham’s charging stations are free. 

Cleveland-Akron, Ohio

Cleveland-Akron, Ohio
Image Credit: RyanReporting/Flickr.

As of July 2023, there were approximately 53,000 registered electric vehicle owners. With 27 new charging stations being installed across Ohio interstates as part of the National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure (NEVI) Program. There are 1,883 current chargers in Ohio, and the Cleveland-Akron area has approximately 848 total chargers. That breaks down to around 3,906 residents per charger. 

Louisville, Kentucky

Louisville, Kentucky
Image Credit: Steve Shook/WikiCommons.

With 412 reported chargers in the Louisville area, that would break down to around 3,807 residents per charger. Louisville has both Level 2 and Level 3 charging ports. Still, because the chargers are so spread out throughout the region, it can be difficult for EV owners to access a charger easily. Even more, there are only 478 chargers in the entire state of Kentucky, so it’s evident that most of these chargers are in the Louisville urban area, especially because the state of Kentucky itself is voted as own of the worst places to live as an EV owner.

San Antonio, Texas

San Antonio, Texas
Image Credit: Corey Leopold/WikiCommons.

In Texas, there are around 5,054 chargers, and with 8,223,542 residents, that’s a pretty large gap. Even though EVs still need to catch on in Texas fully, there’s still some work to be done to increase the EV charging landscape. There are over 200,000 registered EV owners across the state, which grew 64% in 2022. In San Antonio, there are 3,775 residents per charger, and there are currently only 662 chargers in the city. It’s reported that Texas’s urban areas need to catch up in the transition to electric vehicles.   

Milwaukee, Wisconsin 

Milwaukee, Wisconsin 
Image Credit: Svgalbertian/WikiCommons.

In Wisconsin, there are 6,310 registered EV owners, with 866 EV chargers across the state. Milwaukee is noted as one of the worst places to drive an EV because of its limited EV charging infrastructure. Although Wisconsin has shown a growing interest in electric vehicles, more interest is needed to support the expanding population of EV owners who need access to chargers. It’s reported that there are only 455 chargers in Milwaukee. 

Greensboro-Winston Salm, North Carolina

Winston salem panorama
Image Credit: Vasiliymeshko/WikiCommons.

The number of registered EV owners hit 70,000 in North Carolina, but that doesn’t mean all of North Carolina’s major urban areas are prepared to handle the switch to electric transportation and EV ownership. North Carolina’s Governor Roy Cooper aims to get 1.25 million EVs on the road by 2030, but that goal must be coupled with proper EV infrastructure.

In the Greensboro-Winston Salem region, there are only 509 EV chargers available. The combined population of these two metro areas is 1,720,328 people, and with 509 available chargers, that doesn’t bode well for drivers looking to make the EV switch. 

Indianapolis, Indiana

Indianapolis, Indiana
Image Credit: Miyin2/WikiCommons.

The state of Indiana has taken strides to improve the number of registered EVs on the road with programs such as Drive Clean Indiana. However, Indiana’s capital and most populous city still has limited EV charging options. With 729 available EV chargers, which comes out to roughly 3,652 residents per charger, Indianapolis can stand to improve its EV infrastructure to accommodate the rising number of registered EV owners. 

Greenville-Spartanburg, South Carolina

Greenville-Spartanburg, South Carolina
Image Credit: asterisktom/Flickr.

With around 400 public charging stations across the state of South Carolina, 140 EV charging stations are located in the Greenville-Spartanburg region. There’s a combination of Level 2 and Level 3 chargers, and 49%, or 69, of the EV charging stations are accessible. The state of South Carolina will need to invest in charging infrastructure to facilitate the transition to electric vehicles. 

States with Limited Charging Infrastructure 

Rear of red Tesla Model S while charging at Tesla Supercharger Station.
Image Credit: The Bold Bureau/ Shutterstock.

Of course, when it comes to EV ownership, several factors contribute to one’s desire to switch to electric transportation. One major factor is that remote regions have limited charging stations, which impose inconveniences and limitations for those wanting to switch to an EV—or those with an EV. Without widespread EV access, those in rural areas might not have the capacity to make their regular routes without public charging. 

Likewise, the states that have the fewest EV chargers also coincidentally have more rural landscapes and regions. Louisiana, Alaska, Kentucky, Indiana, South Dakota, Mississippi, West Virginia, Idaho, and Wisconsin each have their fair share of rural areas. Rural landscapes often have charging deserts, meaning they have limited support or infrastructure for EV owners.

Author: Marisa Higgins


Marisa Higgins is a lover of good storytelling, and she’s spent the past decade teaching college English, and writing and researching about American Literature and Culture. She lives in Knoxville, TN with her husband, and their Beagle-Chihuahua, Rumi, and cat, Rory. Marisa’s work can be found at A-Z Animals, FuelsFix, and TellTaleTV. You can visit her website here:


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