Thanksgiving gas prices are lowest in years—but that hasn’t made electric cars the turkeys

Data released this week from AAA shows that the national-average gas price of $2.10 for the holiday weekend is lower than that during any Thanksgiving weekend in years—since 2015.  

For obvious reasons, that’s not the incentive it usually is for Americans to hop into the car and make a big road-trip for the long weekend. 

AAA national average gas prices - Thanksgiving week, 2020

AAA national average gas prices – Thanksgiving week, 2020

But it serves as an important reminder that we reached a turning point this year. Earlier in 2020, a number of analysts—no need to name names—still insisted that gasoline prices are one of the main reasons why shoppers consider EVs. Several went so far as to predict that the pandemic would lead to a large-scale collapse of the electric-car market in the U.S.

While they might have been partly right as seeing EV shoppers as motivated partly by ownership-cost advantages, this year has proven them wrong on the gas-price theory—and it’s provided a confirmation that the strong growth in interest we saw for electric vehicles and hybrids

, in the stock market and in vehicle sales, was a lasting trend and not entirely related to up-front sticker-price realities or gas-pump economics.

To that point, data from the California New Car Dealers Association released earlier this month showed several green-car trends that started in 2019 continuing—even as gas prices were on a far lower plateau this year. Hybrid sales not including plug-ins are up significantly (to 6.4% of overall sales); electric vehicle sales are also way up (to 6.1%); and plug-in hybrid sales are continuing their slide (to 1.8%). 

California New Car Dealers Association - November 2020 update

California New Car Dealers Association – November 2020 update

Combined, more than 1 out of every 7 new vehicles sold in California is a hybrid or plug-in vehicle. And 2019 was no fluke; fully electric vehicle sales add up to well over 5% of the market and are headed for something like 3% on a national level. 

So as we bring our families together—physically or virtually—for the holiday, let’s make at least a passing mention to the idea that we can grow from 2020, and choose cleaner vehicles for the future. EVs are definitely not the turkey.