It does not take someone who actively studies public opinion on hot button issues to know that many trends over time represent a more profound concern about climate change and protecting the environment among young people than their older peers. According to a recent Gallup Poll, Global Warming Age Gap: Younger Americans Most Worried by R.J. Reinhart, 70% of Americans aged 18-34 surveyed worried a "great deal/fair amount" about global warming. In comparison, only 63% of those aged 35-54 and 56% of those aged 55 and older surveyed the same.
A second survey published by Public Opinion Strategies and the Hart Research Association measured the opinions of Generation Z (Gen Z) and Millennials - voters aged 17-35. Similar to the Gallup poll, this survey showed that among this age group, environmental issues such as pollution and the health of the planet and oceans were their primary concern for the future of the world. Despite endless reputable evidence, including these two polls among many, showing that younger generations of the population are increasingly concerned about the environment, the affordability of living as an environmentally conscious person has continually been an obstacle for young people.
However, this is changing. One way anyone can be more conscious of their impact on the environment is by driving an electric vehicle (EV). While EVs have numerous benefits, they are primarily known for reducing emissions that lead to climate change and minimizing ecological harm. This reduction in emissions and damage to the environment also results in improved public health, as reduced emissions improve the air we breathe. Although electric vehicles have been around for some time now, they have a reputation for being expensive. While luxury car brands, including Tesla, Audi, and Jaguar, are producing electric vehicles, prices for many other EV models are finally becoming more attainable to younger generations.
As younger generations grapple with financial struggles, including overbearing student debt and stationary wages, these luxury vehicles are far out of price range. However, as car manufacturers, including Volkswagen, Ford, Chevrolet, and Hyundai, enter the market, electric cars are finally within grasp and are cheaper to fuel. According to Edmunds, the most affordable new electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids for 2020 are as follows.
Although presently EVs are still seen as an investment for anyone, especially younger generations of car buyers, their efficiency and cost-savings in comparison to gas-powered vehicles result in significant annual savings for EV owners. Some states, such as New York and Vermont, even offer tax incentives for EV owners.
Between these savings and projections estimating there will be more than 3,000,000 EVs on the road by 2030, there is no doubt that cost gaps are closing and electric vehicles are the transportation of the future.
Need help figuring out which electric vehicle is right for you? Sierra Club created a quick, two-minute quiz to assist prospective EV buyers in finding a vehicle perfect for their unique transportation needs, as well as to help learn about available incentives, calculate cost, and visualize CO₂ savings.