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A newly released PEMCO Insurance Northwest poll for interest but some reluctance to by an EV or hybrid.

PMG FILE PHOTO - Charging an electric vehicle.The election of President Joe Biden has increased the commitment to all-electric vehicles. Since Biden was elected on a platform of encouraging the purchase of EVs, much of the debate has shifted to ending the sale of gas-powered vehicles in the foreseeable future.

Convincing everyone to give up their gas-powered vehicles is going to be huge challenge, as revealed by a new poll of Portland and Seattle residents released in April by PEMCO insurance Northwest. It found that only 1% of Portlanders and 2% of Seattle residents currently own an EV. Slightly larger percentages own gas-electric hybrids — 4% in Portland and 6% in Seattle.

But, the poll found, much larger percentages are willing to make an EV or hybrid their next car. In Portland, 65% said they are either somewhat, very or extremely likely to do that. The figure is higher in Seattle at 76%.

The major reason for buying an EV or hybrid cited by just over half in each city was reducing pollutants and carbon emissions. Twenty-seven percent of those in Seattle said they wanted to save money (both cost less to operate than gas-powered vehicles), a reason given by only 3% of Portlanders.

"There are many reasons for making a switch to a more fuel-efficient vehicle, and we were encouraged to see that most Northwest drivers are motivated by the benefits hybrid and electric cars offer to the environment," said PEMCO spokesperson Derek Wing. "Climate change continues to be prevalent issue in our world today, and it's clear Northwest residents have taken notice."

Despite the interest, a significant percent of respondent said they were not likely to buy an EV or hybrid — 29% of Portlanders and 19% of Seattle residents. When asked why not, they chose the reasons that have helped hold back sales so far, including worries about range, the lack of public charging stations, their higher costs compared to gas-powered vehicles, and relatively low government incentives considering their higher costs, and the relatively low price of gas these days.

For a complete summary of PEMCO's proprietary poll results visit, where you'll find responses collected by FBK Research of Seattle in February 2021.

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