Best US states for electric vehicles? You'll probably be shocked by the answer

  • North Dakota, not California, is the best state to charge your electric vehicle
  • Wyoming and Rhode Island ranked second and third, respectively, according to the Forbes Advisor list
  • Some of the nation's mid-sized and lesser-populated states dominated best states to charge list

Do you want to guess which is the best state to charge your electric vehicle? California? Washington? Oregon? 

Nope. Surprisingly, it's North Dakota, according to a recent study by the financial site Forbes Advisor. North Dakota has the best ratio of registered electric vehicles to electric charging stations, at 3.18 electric cars to 1 charging station in the country.

The state, which has 69 total charging stations, can accommodate all of its 220 registered electric vehicles, according to the study. Not too bad considering it's typically one of the coldest states in the U.S. come wintertime.    

The study, which dug into alternative fuels data from the U.S. Department of Energy, comes as President Joe Biden last week signed the monumental Inflation Reduction Act, which the U.S. hopes to use to help combat climate change.

The historic $369 billion law reportedly contains a $7,500 tax credit for purchasers of new electric vehicles, with no manufacturer caps, and creates a new $4,000 tax credit for people who purchase a used electric vehicle.

Some states, including California and Washington, are mandating that all passenger and light-duty vehicles sold in their state be electric vehicles by 2030 and 2035, respectively.

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Other top states to charge your electric vehicle

Once again, the other top rankers were surprising: Wyoming is second and Rhode Island third in the Forbes Advisor study. 

Wyoming has the second-best ratio of electric vehicles to charging stations with 5.40 electric cars to a single charging station. That's because Wyoming has 61 electric charging stations and 330 registered electric vehicles in the state, the study said.

Meanwhile, Rhode Island has a ratio of 6.24 electric cars to a single charging station. The state has 253 charging stations and has only 1,580 registered EVs, the study says. 

Notice a pattern? Some of the nation's mid-sized and lesser-populated states dominate this list with Maine, West Virginia, South Dakota, Missouri, Kansas, Vermont and Mississippi all highly ranked.

As for the least accessible states to charge an EV, the study said New Jersey ranks number one with 46.16 electric cars to 1 charging station. That's followed by other well-populated states including Arizona, Washington, California and Hawaii in the top five. The remaining five states in the least accessible top 10 include Illinois, Oregon, Florida, Texas and Nevada.  

One interesting take is California: the most populous state in the U.S. with nearly 40 million residents, the Golden State has a ratio of 31.20 electric cars to 1 charging station, said the Forbes Advisor study.

While California ranks as the fourth least accessible state to charge an EV on the Forbes Advisor list, it ranked as the best state to own an electric vehicle, according to a recent study by, a personal finance site.

The state  was the birthplace of popular EV maker Tesla,  before its controversial owner Elon Musk pulled up stakes and headed to Austin, Texas, for Tesla's headquarters. Still, California has the most electric vehicles in the U.S., cars which save drivers more than $2,100 in estimated annual fuel savings, the SmartAsset study said.   

Are electric vehicles becoming more mainstream?

Yes, but slowly. 

Registrations for new EVs soared 60% in the first three months of this year, even though new car registrations slid 18% overall, Automotive News and Car and Driver reported, citing Experian data.

EVs now account for 4.6% of all passenger vehicles being sold in the U.S.

Tesla vehicles had the newest EV registrations with 113,882, representing nearly 60% of electric cars registered during that period. In February, Tesla's Model 3 captured the top spot in’s 2021 American-Made Index, the first all-electric vehicle to top the list in its 16-year history.

Kia came in second with 8,450 based on strong sales of its Niro subcompact. Ford was third with 7,407 registrations, mostly due to its Mustang Mach-E, the electric version of its commercial Transit van, and the just released F150 Lightning pickup. 

Hyundai was fourth with nearly 7,000 registrations for its Ionic 5 and Kona compact crossovers, along with the hatchback version of the Ionic 5.

Best states per capita for electric cars

Rank based on the number of registered electric cars to a single charging station.

  1. North Dakota
  2. Wyoming
  3. Rhode Island 
  4. Maine
  5. West Virginia
  6. South Dakota
  7. Missouri
  8. Kansas
  9. Vermont
  10. Mississippi

Worst states per capita for electric cars 

Rank based on the number of registered electric cars to a single charging station.

  1. New Jersey
  2. Arizona
  3. Washington
  4. California
  5. Hawaii
  6. Illinois
  7. Oregon
  8. Florida
  9. Texas 
  10. Nevada

Contributing: Jayme Deerwester, Kiera Wingate and Chris Woodyard