Study: 60% Of Trips Were Less Than 6 Miles, Range Anxiety Overblown


This could be really positive news for EV adoption.

Although there has been data showing the people’s commutes in the U.S. are getting longer (mostly due to traffic), the U.S. Department of Energy released some compelling information, complete with an updated chart. It turns out that about 60 percent of all vehicle trips in the U.S. throughout 2017 were under six miles.

The data collected applies to one-way trips, rather than round-trip journeys. The Federal Highway Administration’s National Household Travel Survey based its information on household trips and found that 59.4 percent of such travels were only six miles long or less. To clarify the data and the reference to one-way household trips, the administration defines it as a trip in a privately-owned and operated vehicle that proceeds from one location to the next.

Survey data like this can be a bit misleading, since a driver could take many of these trips over the course of a single day. However, it does work to prove that Americans are traveling short distances often. The data goes further to show that long trips are much more uncommon. Some 75 percent of the travels were under the 10-mile mark. Additionally, 8.4 percent were 11 to 15 miles long, while 95 percent of trips were less than 30 miles.

This type of data can help prove that many people in the U.S. would be able to charge their electric car at home most of the time and would rarely experience range anxiety. Also, it shows that most drivers choosing a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle as a potential (less expensive) stepping stone to a fully electric vehicle would rarely have to use gasoline. This has been pointed out to us by many of our readers that drive a PHEV.

Yes, for long trips, charging would be a necessity with an electric car and the PHEVs would switch to their gas-powered engines. But, in terms of helping to dismiss range anxiety and promote the viability of an EV or PHEV, all while reducing emissions, this information is extremely positive.

Source: Green Car Congress

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85 Comments on "Study: 60% Of Trips Were Less Than 6 Miles, Range Anxiety Overblown"

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Paul K

Unfortunately we seem to live in an era where perception “trumps” reality.


Pretty much so, and some greedy people just use that fake reality against thru perception.


2% of cars sold are electric. Let’s say that all of those are to Democrats (not true, but it makes the math easy). Now, if 50% of voters are Democrats, that means that 96% of Democrats also don’t drive electric. This is much more than just a Trump problem, and by making it political you’re just hurting the cause. Calm down, stay a-political, and help advance EVs.


GM Volt dot com did a survey back a few years ago to see what percentage of Volt drivers viewed themselves as GOP voters, Democrat voters, Independents or none of the above. The largest percentage was GOP, which was a surprise to all of us. Democrats were second and Independents third, so it wasn’t a huge amount of “none” that threw the results. Electric cars attract people because of the idea and the experience. I think many conservatives don’t care that a lot of the leaders of the GOP has a hate on for electric cars.
I think Mikey is right, this is an area where it is better to be apolitical. My views may be colored by the fact that I am a conservative that backs electrifying most of our light duty automotive fleet over the years to come, though… 😉


Where did you read any politic comment in my post?

I just write that greedy people like distorting facts.

If you think that fit any political figure, go for it, and you have every right to do so, but it fit many in our society and then it is political in the real meaning of politic, because people and live in a world where politic rule many things.

There is politic in everything for some, and everything is in politic for others, it doesn’t change the distortion rich era in we all live.



Djoni, look again. I didn’t respond to your post, as I noted in my post, “Mikey is right”. I was talking about Mikey’s admittedly hypothetical thought experiment of:
“2% of cars sold are electric. Let’s say that all of those are to Democrats (not true, but it makes the math easy).”


I think that increase the number of public charging stations and the variety of electric cars with range higher than 200 miles will probably improve the perception of electric vehicles.


Probably THE most important (and overlooked) piece of the “green puzzle’.

/an EV purist will look at it,… then just flick that piece right off the table

Another Euro point of view
The problem with articles & studies about range anxiety is that most are written & made by convinced EV users with their own bias that led them to be first movers to start with. I wish there were more studies on that topic coming from the other side as it is ICE users who need to be convinced so it is more useful to tackle this group of people bias. So for a reminder: 1/ 99% of drivers (the one who drives ICE as opposed to those who presently drive EVs) probably couldn’t care less of the range they need for 95% of their trips. What matters to them is the annual trip to aunt Nancy or the trip they think they will do but will actually never do. 2/ No it is not correct for 1% of the drivers (EV drivers) to assume that the 99% others (ICE drivers) need a rest stop of 30 minutes every two hours. 3/ No it is not correct for 1% of the drivers (EV drivers) to assume that the 99% others (ICE drivers) just fly over for long trips (Euro families often don’t, they drive, sometimes all the way from Norway to… Read more »

I agree that perception is more important than reality for most car buying, and also averages don’t always apply to an individual. For most people to buy an electric car, they need to be convinced it’s better in most ways than a gasoline car. So studies that focus on human behavior miss the point regarding EV adoption. People don’t like being told about what they typically do. Instead, they want to be told how an EV would make things better for them with a minimum of effort or change on their part.


There’s probably an aspiration element in there too. Cars are an aspirational product for most after all. “That roadtrip” is more aspirational than “my daily 5 mile commute to work” which is what most people actually do.


So true. Mass market adoption comes when cars like Model 3 Long Range come out, which is why that car alone makes up about 70% of the BEV market in the US (and growing as production increases).

Magnus H

How larger percentage of the Model 3 sales, has gone to people not previously owning an EV?

Frank Elliott

It was for this very reason that GM chose to give the Volt a 40-mile range and use an ICE as a generator for longer trips. Today, batteries cost less and have more capacity, making a less compelling case for the Volt. But it was a good solution at the time, and this happy Volt owner never buys gas except for the quarterly 330-mile trip to visit family. I consider it the best of both worlds.


Despite the Volt’s (Gen 1 and 2) rather small 35-53 EV range, over 2/3rd’s of all miles logged by Volts feeding data into are EV miles, with the median % being 74%. Most people don’t drive more than 40-50 miles a day during the week.


That’s why I have my Volt- it’s been a game-changer. Lifetime average of 170 mpg on mine, 90% of it’s driving is in battery-only mode, the platform has been phenomenal.


While I agree with your overall sentiment, I gotta say your 170 mpg figure is pretty bogus. It assumes electricity is free and 100% green, and it is not.


Yeah, that’s a fake 170 MPG, not real MPG!

For PHEVs, gas-powered miles and electricity-powered miles should be counted and reported separately. Lumping them together and calling that “170 MPG” reduces the data to a meaningless figure.


John drove 170 miles for each gallon of gasoline he consumed. That is 170 MPG. That value is certainly a valid measure for how much companies like Exxon-Mobil are feeling the pain of shrinking sales. How do you mathematically propose to account for the cost of electricity so as to make reported MPG meaningful?


Volt is rated at about 42 mpg on gas and 110 mpge on electricity. If you drive purely on gas, expect numbers close to 42. If you drive purely on electricity, expect numbers close to 110. If you use a mixture of “fuel” sources, expect the number to land somewhere in between.

Bill Howland

I’ve tried over 5 times explaining this to PUSHI, but he can’t understand it. I thought that there was a bit of intelligence in Prsnep but I guess I overestimated that also.


I agree that you can use this methodology to calculate a weighted average MPGe – but what is the purpose? If someone has solar panels and excess electricity at home, does this weighted average MPGe number have any practical meaning?


When people ask me how efficient my Volt is, I tell them that I use around $20 worth of electricity monthly plus a little less than a gallon of gas every month, so my total fuel bill is around $22 a month, $20 for the electricity and $2 for the gasoline.
When they ask what mpg I get, I tell them “I get around 930 mpg, I use around 3 quarts of gasoline every month plus 200 kWh, the electricity costs about $20”. When they hear the amount of gas I use in quarts per month, not gallons, it really sinks in.
But telling them the mpg without telling them the cost of electricity would only be half the story.


Both metrics are correct. If you want to measure how much gasoline you’re using (or rather, NOT using), 170MPG is 100% accurate. If you want to measure how much energy you’re using, then yes, MPGe is the better way to go.

Don’t let your bias affect the fact that both metrics are absolutely relevant. Many people care more about reducing their gasoline usage than their overall efficiency compared to some other vehicle. The latter is often in the minutia.


The most efficient electric car is the Ionic which is rated at 136 mpge. Don’t you think it sounds crazy when someone says they got 170 mpg? I could drive 50-some miles on electricity and 0.1 miles on gas and achieve numbers like 1000 mpg. Would that be meaningful to you? Or what if I told you I got ∞ mpg? Every electric car, however inefficient, could claim this and it would be absolutely meaningless.

Bill Howland
Prsnep you don’t realize it but you are making yourself as dumb as Pushi, since he never understands it either. First clue for the clueless: mpg is not the same as mpge. Yes, if I took the import of this article, which is obviously – ‘there is no such thing as range anxiety since electric car drivers almost never drive anywhere’, I’d get 1000 mpg or over in my ELR. What does this mean in real life? It means for my 15,000 miles per year in the car, I’d have to buy 15 gallons of 89 octane gasoline. I know this is higher mathematics but that is the answer.. The vast majority of my electricity is free of charge since I have more than sufficient solar panels on my roofs. Of course, the claim of this article, to me, is meaningless. I don’t have range anxiety in my PHEV ELR, but I do somewhat in my BOLT ev, but I prefer driving my bolt so I deal with it. Of course I have range anxiety since when the car is dead, its DEAD. Beyond pushing it, there is no backup plan. Life’s tough all over folks. Adults can deal with… Read more »

Yes indeed! I had infinite MPG on my drive to and from work yesterday. 😊. Ha ha.

For PHEV owners who are interested in reducing their gasoline usage (as ClarksonCote pointed out), MPG is still meaningful. If and when we have a real EV revolution with broad adoption of practical long range EVs, then PHEVs will slowly disappear and there will be more focus on BEV electric efficiency. MPGe will become more meaningful in that future post-EV revolution world. By then, we will likely (hopefully) dispense with the preoccupation with gallons (the ‘G’ in MPG) and just look at miles per unit of electricity.

Bill Howland

You and PRSNEP constantly tell lies about this without knowing it. You think 170 mpg means 170 mpge.

My VOlts, when I had them each had over 250 mpg (but the MPGE figure was 98 or whatever)…. 2 totally different numbers. GM truthfully, conservatively said they’d be expecting 230 mpg.

Since I use my ELR for extended vacation driving, its mpg is currently 141 mpg. But the average person, including the people the author is talking about here, who apparently never drive, should get around 1000 mpg.

Bill Howland

My Electricity is free and 100% green (at least after my solar panels are amortized). Its BETTER than 100% green since my roof stays cooler and will last longer. I pay $16 a month for electricity for the past 4 years, every month including the wintertime. If I used ZERO electricity and didn’t have the panels, my minimum charge would STILL be $16/mo.


This is true for those wanting gas back up, great car, we bought a Clarity PHEV instead for space but same principle. However, if you want a BEV 40 miles doesn’t cut it.


Now I’m driving 28 miles on electric range out of the 45 miles of summertime volt charges. Before I transfer to a job that was nearer to home, I would drive 54 miles and the gas engine would turn on with 14 miles to go on the freeway, thinking about a Model 3, i3 Rex, Clarity,. I do take road trips . Me and my partner would alternate vehicles since he has a lease GMC Arcadia and I don’t like paying $50 for 400 miles, when I could pay $22 for 320 miles after the AER is gone. Anyone has a Niro Phev so they can tell me how’s the vehicle?


Note that the Niro PHEV doesn’t have an electric heater. So if you live where your winters are colder than California, the car’s engine will run to supply heat to the interior of the vehicle. Using gasoline just to heat the interior of the car is not a very efficient method of supplying heat in my opinion. I don’t know of single manufacture of PHEVs outside of Hyundai/Kia that doesn’t use some type of electric heater

Compered to the Clarity, the design is more complicated, and I would suspect less robust. If you live in California, then you might be able to live with the car.

I have a Sonata PHEV and I hate it due to the lack of an electric heater. Had I known that the Clarity was coming out at the time I bought the Sonata, I would have waited for the Clarity.

Bill Howland

You are probably getting more heat content out of the gasoline being used than you get by pushing the car down the road. I’m really surprised in my 2014 Caddy ELR in the cold winter months, how much heat and miles I get from 1/10 th of a gallon of gasoline. I don’t like the automatic engine turn on at 32 degrees better than anyone else, – but I have to say it is TRULY using most of the energy in the gasoline (11,600 btu/tenth US gallon).

David Murray
While this data is probably true, most people realize that they do drive 100 miles or more in a day on a somewhat regular basis. Even if it is only 1% of the time. After all, with 365 days in a year, 1% of the time means at least 3.6 times per year. So even if your vehicle is up to the task 95% of the time, the other 5% is 18 days out of the year. If there is little to no charging infrastructure in your area, that’s probably too often for people to consider for their vehicle unless it is a second car. This is definitely where the PHEV shines. We have 5 EVs in our household and even our Prius Prime has enough range to handle 95% of all of our trips in EV mode. It may not be the fastest or most fun to drive, but the range is adequate for a PHEV. Sure, more is almost always better, but it really annoys me when people say “25 miles? what’s the point?” Well, the point is 25 miles is a lot! That’s an hour or more of driving in city traffic.

As a 20 mile PHEV owner (Energi), I couldn’t agree more. The vast majority of my daily drives are 100% EV but for the car to completely meet my driving needs gas free without charger/range anxiety would cost twice as much ( a LR Model 3).


Yep and thats our problem going 100% ev, we went from 1 car to two when we got the miev. It quickly became our 1st car and does 95% of the miles. Replacing those 5% with a 60k plus car doesnt make much sense and even if we had an s or x in the household my guess is we would still choose the miev most of the time. Hanging out for a 4wd camper van (ev version of the california beach would be great) but not looking promising 🙁


Two i-MiEVs and a used Tesla S85 in the family, with almost all of our local SF Bay Area travel done in the i-MiEVs. Tesla sits in the garage with a cover over it and is reserved for our long cross-country vacations and family distant visits, putting over 50,000 miles on it in two years. Best of both worlds, with a 12-year-old amortized solar PV all-electric house that SVCE now pays us for what we generate. Range anxiety is for the innumerate, with non-Tesla charging station access occasionally blocked (usually by PHEVs), making life ‘interesting’ with the i-MiEVs (62-mile EPA range). IMO, the bigger issue is charging availability for multi-unit dwellers where longer-range BEVs help.


Dutch person here. If the distance is shorter than 6 miles you should really consider a bicycle. Very healthy alternative. You can have a really nice bicycle for the price of getting your car in a different color.

Another Euro point of view

Hybrid Belgian here :-). So true !
Nowadays I see more and more young people on electric scooters (those ultra simple ones consisting of one board, two wheels and a stick for direction). Actually I believe a lot less people will own cars in the future (EVs or ICE) for many reasons. A big chunk of car industry having to reinvent themselves and certainly not all into making 4000 lb (2000 kg) luxury EVs.

TM3x2 Chris

Agree completely, bicycle is a much better choice for short trips.
Personally, I only drive short distance when biking or walking is not possible or the weather is very unpleasant. My commute to work is 25 miles one way and public transit is almost non-existent in my area forcing me to use the car.
Most people I know who drive EVs are in similar situation, my (very, very small) statistical sample is quite different from the findings of this article.


I agree completely, but issue is in part most US communities are not designed with bicycles in mind so it can be a bit dangerous to ride in areas. We need to change that. Maybe offer incentives of some kind for cities to setup traffic flow to better incorporate bicycles.


So . Before the Recession my main mode of transport was the bus but county government wasn’t able to fund it so that was the first thing to go😤🤨. Thanks Obama for American Recovery Reinvestment Act , and those ready shovel jobs🙄 and Afforable health care Act which brought in jobs, nope that didn’t happen, reduce health care cost, nope that didn’t happen to most people. I liked Obama but he dropped the ball in his first term. He should have made the public despise the GOP and had televise open debates for the stimulus and a better jobs act instead of going alone and placating to GOP tax cuts and letting faux news dictate the message of stimulus package with reports of monkey studies on cocaine or turtles tunnels. Now we got a reactionary populous that voted for king Trump because of Obama


Yep it is all Obama’s fault. That’s the US President we should be taking all our time to complain about. /s

The mind boggles.

BoltEV (was SparkEV)

If you’ve been to US malls, you’d see people waiting for parking spot just few feet closer when another spot’s open. Also, bike lane in much of US is a joke with cars whizzing by at 50 MPH just few feet away without any barrier between the car and bicycle.

Especially problematic is if you have to carry kids and/or cargo. Riding 5 miles to market (things are spread out in US) and have to carry many bags of groceries is not for the faint of heart.


Yeah, try going on a Costco run with just a bicycle.

Biking is neither healthy nor safe in built up, traffic congested urban areas. Just the other day an Uber pulled over in a bike lane and a tourist riding a bike suddenly swerved into the traffic lane (instead to braking to stop) and was immediately run over and killed by a garbage truck. Although the garbage truck driver probably couldn’t avoid accident, he was promptly charged with DWI after the police found two empty beer cans in the cab of his truck and he admitted to recently drinking them

Bicyclists getting run over by garbage trucks happens too often in NYC.


In NYC, bicycles swerving to avoid an opening car door, aka “getting doored”, has resulted in many bicycle rider deaths.

NYC even had lawyers specializing in accidents where bicyclists have been “doored.”


If you’re doing a costco trip then take the car. If you’ve got a carful of kids then perhaps take the car. If you’re going to Home Depot for a dozen pieces of lumber then take the car.

If you’re commuting alone to work then walk/cycle/take public transport, or at the very least carpool.


Agreed. The main take away from this study should be that most trips done by Americans could probably be done by bike, walking or public transport. That’s not meant as a slight on Americans, it’s a pretty common stat for most developed nations.

Leave the car in the garage for those weekend trips. I commute by public transport so my average trip distance by car is probably closer to 100 miles.

David Murray

Sorry, I can’t agree with this one. I can’t see my 73 year old father bicycling for 6 miles. But also, our cities here in Texas are not designed for bicycles in mind. We have no bike lanes, and often no sidewalks. So that means you have to ride along with vehicular traffic that is going twice the speed as you. Plus it’s often 100+ degrees farenheit here for 5 months out of the year, which means after 6 miles you would be completely covered in sweat. Plus, when you arrive, there is nowhere to secure your bicycle.


This is why we shouldn’t hate too much on short-range PHEVs like the C350e or 530e. More range would be better, but those cars (if plugged in) are using a lot less gasoline than their conventional equivalents.

Those short trips are also hard ton engines, so reducing associated engine maintenance costs and parts is also good for owners and the environment.


Most trips are also alone, so no need for anything but one-seaters. /s

Most of the time we are not sick, so no need for medicine in the world. /s

The only thing these numbers are good for is to show what range a PHEV could have to do the most good.

Another Euro point of view



Do you know a good one person car that is available somewhere and affordable and is as safe as a car?

Does everyone need to take medicine just because one person is ill?

Are compliance cars a non issue created by EV enthusiasts who think they know it better?


Most of the times cars do not crash, so why would you want safety? /s


60% of the trips aren’t the problem. Everyone, including the most anti-EV folks, know that most of their trips are short and can be served by even a crappy EV with bad range. It’s the small number of trips folks have to make that are in between those 6 mile trips and long range trips that are the problem. It doesn’t matter if 95% of my trips are less than 6 miles, it’s the 5% that is a problem and that EVs need to be able to handle.

Not only that, I don’t want an expensive EV sitting in my garage with a depleted battery after a somewhat long trip that day. What if I have an emergency, have to go somewhere, and I don’t have time to wait for it to charge? It’s all these kinds of issues that EV enthusiasts ignore when they preach “but they’re good enough for (almost) all your driving and you can charge at night when you’re sleeping”. Yeah, that only works for “most” of the time. It’s the rest of the time that’s the big problem.

Sorry, but studies like this don’t mean jack shit.

TM3x2 Chris

Having an expensive EV sitting in one’s garage is very cool. No one will know that the battery is depleted.


But the American ideal of the car is the freedom of movement and the ability to go anywhere the roads can leads us too, economic opportunities or leisurely travels. Go to Russia or North Korea. Those countries restrict people from moving around and looking for better opportunities

John Doe
I’ve driven through Russia many years ago. There was no restictions. This was about a year before september 11th, and I drove through Tyrkey, Jordan, Syria, Irak and so on. Ended up in Iran, and drove from Iran to Turkmenistan,Uzbekistan to Kazakstan and through Russia to Ukraine, Poland, Germany and a ferry to Norway. In an old Volvo with no AC. The only problem with Russia was I was stopped by the police twice, and had to pay a ticket. It was not a lot of money (about an hours wage in Norway), and I’m not so sure if I did anything wrong. Maybe I didn’t see a sign or something, but I tend to take it slow and steady. St. Petersburg was very nice (reminds me a bit about Vienna and Budapest somehow) and vodka prices was insane. I could buy 4-5 liters of vodka, for the same price I had to pay for 1/2 liter of water in a gas station in Norway.. I’ve driven another time in Russia, in the north, close to the Norwegian border. Close to a military fasility there was not allowed to drive, but that is a given. It is the same all… Read more »
Lou Grinzo
In the late 80s my father-in-law once asked me why didn’t we drive electric cars for daily commuting and errands, and then rent a gasoline car for rare, long-distance trips? That’s still a good question, and it leads me to something I’ve wondered about: How much would it help the rEVolution if car rental companies made it much easier to rent and return a vehicle? Renting a car is still a significant hassle, but if it were almost as easy as summoning an Uber ride, I’m guessing a lot more people would be willing to use an EV for their daily driver. And yes, making on-the-road EV recharging less hassle has to be a high priority. Right now, if my wife and I want to visit our nieces 650 miles away, we can take her Rogue and know we don’t have to make refueling stops part of our trip planning. We can just drive and when we’re getting low stop at the next gas station. If we took any EV on the market today, we’d have to find charging stations for several stops and try to align them with meals or bathroom breaks, and account for recharging time. I’m as… Read more »

Current power densities would be fine if they charged in the time it takes to take a leak. 170km from your Nissan Leaf? Cool, plug it into the row of outlets outside a public bathroom on the side of the road, tap your card, do your thing and then be on your way.

Either we need unreasonable density increases or more rapid charging improvements. The answer is probably a little bit of both tbh.

BoltEV (was SparkEV)

Hardly surprising. Some would drive 5 miles to local mall for McD, drive 100 feet to post office, drive 12 ft to closer parking spot, drive 75 ft to ice cream shop, drive 25 ft to target, etc. One reason for obesity epidemic is overuse of cars when walking would’ve done.


One of my favorite observations are folks who will spend untold minutes idling while waiting for a parking spot just a few feet closer than numerous other open spots all the while creating a traffic jam behind them. Bonus points if they get out wearing “workout gear”.

Spoonman. has a good PHEV calculator that has, I think, surprising results on how much even a short-range PHEV can be drive on electricity. Using the detailed calculator you can put in your regular daily driving, weekend driving, and long trips, along with charging habits, and it estimates electric and gasoline usage and miles.

My Plug-In Hybrid Calculator

After you get your results it’s also easy to switch back and forth between different models to see how results would compare.


Interesting tool. Just did my usage and over just over 10,000 miles a year it calculates I would save $166 a year on fuel ($314 gas saving-$148 for electric) if I got a 2018 Volt. I’m not your average driver though as I only do one or two short trips a week and a longer trips on weekends because I don’t commute by car.


In comparison however, for our second vehicle driven by my GF on her daily commute – with a Volt she would never have to fill up with fuel (daily commute of 13 miles, rarely ever used at weekends). But with that usage she would save around $250 a year on fuel which would never amount to the difference between an ICE and PHEV at todays prices.

That’s why we’re waiting for a small BEV SUV with AWD and 330 miles of (summer, or at least 250 miles of Canadian winter range). She could use it to commute back and forth to work every day AND we could use it on most of our weekend trips, helping pay back the initial up front cost. Perhaps the Model Y may be an option, if the price point is reasonable.


Yelp. Be saying that for awhile. My volt is an EV with an range extender


It is weird though that most people here don’t get the point. When you have a PHEV that would have something like 50-60 mile electric range you can drive 97-99% of your trips electric. And you don’t have to worry about range anxiety. How good is that?


How many people din’t get the point, how many just can’t justify the extra cost of going PHEV (because they won’t make it back in fuel savings) and how many want a vehicle that doesn’t have a PHEV option?

Bill Howland

Extra cost of a PHEV? A volt is nicer than a bolt, and is lower cost. So for the majority of people, a VOLT is the better choice. But I like driving electrically as much as possible; that is why I was the first person in Western NY to purchase a BOLT ev.


We advocates for bicycle commuting have known this for a long time. Been trying to get people out of their cars for 30 years, only to see them drive bigger and bigger cars even for ridiculously short trips. Many Americans are often their own worst enemy.


“Anxiety overblown”

Of course most people will have no range issues most of the time. But if you end up with range anxiety on average once per month, it’s still a problem, no? If it forces you to not make certain trips that you’d have otherwise made, it’s still a problem, no? We purchase vehicles with long range because we need it occasionally. We have seats that are left unoccupied 95% of the time because we need them the other 5% of the time. Our cars have hundreds of horses of power because we need it occasionally.


“Survey data like this can be a bit misleading, since a driver could take many of these trips over the course of a single day.”

Merely “can be” misleading? The claim in this article is very misleading. Six miles, really? 🙄

Let’s take the average distance driven by the average American driver: ~14,000 miles per year. Divide that by the number of days in a year, we get 38.3 miles.

That is the number that a dead average driver needs, at an absolute minimum, for daily range. And that’s not even getting into standard deviation, and the fact that people buy cars which will serve something like 97-98% of their needs, not merely the 50% of trips that a range of 38.3 miles would serve.

There is a reason that GM targeted 40 miles as the EV range of the 1st generation Volt. 40 miles, not a mere six!

Bolt driver

And as a longer range driver, I can’t even get to the nearest town in 6 miles. With an ev I am now down to about 20k miles per year or 55 miles every day. I would drive more, but I tend to leave the ev home on longer drives in the winter due to range limitations. For me the Volt needs another 10kw at a minimum as the current 14 doesn’t cover most days drive.


That is why I can get 35% of my driving done in EV mode with 12 miles of range on the 2012 PiP.
Yes, 12 miles is wimpy, but should not be disparaged as much as it has been.

However, 60% of your trips being 6 miles or less isn’t what causes range anxiety.
It is the cross town 75 mile round trip or the 250 mile trip to take your kid to college or whatever that causes range anxiety, and that is not overblown.


This answers the question of who is buying Prius Primes.

Lindsay Patten

What would be a whole lot more interesting would be data on how many people drive more than 200 mile in a day and how often. I can go years without driving more that 200 miles in a day.

Seven Electrics

BS, top to bottom. Range anxiety may only hit 5% of the time, but it’s so traumatic that it leaves a lasting impression. 300 miles of real world range is the minimum threshold, in my view.

Bill Howland

Agreed. 300 miles is about right…. If I get in the habit of driving my ELR all electrically, its a big pain in time and driving and effort to find public docking stations that are available when I need them. Although my BOLT doesn’t have quite the range I’d like, it is still much easier driving that car all electrically. Good thing – that car can only be driven that way.

That is a very fallacious argument. I have a Chevrolet Volt and my commute is only 20 miles round trip and I drive electric almost all of them. However, I drive on gas around 30% of the mileage. First reason is that I can’t afford to have a place to install a charger, so I just charge at work or in public stations. Second reason is that when I travel, I hardly find any station at all, and even if I do, I have to wait 4 hours to get maybe 40 miles of electric range, which is very impractical on a 200 miles or so trip and these unoften weekend trips end up being a fairly big share of my mileage. There are also days when I go off my commute for an extended errand (and very unlikely that I will find any charging station at the destination or any stop point), which often is beyond the range of my car. And many stations listed on PlugShare are not usable, either because they are broken, only exist for costumers (hotels and wineries), charge an absurd rate to take advantage of distressed EV drivers, are for employees only, have limited… Read more »

The point of this article is specious
1. Real people do not make one way trips to abandon their car at the supermarket.
2. Most people will not spend tens of thousands of dollars on a car that cannot complete 40% of their trips. Most will not buy a car that cannot complete 5% of their trips. (Would you put up with a car that fails you once for every 20 trips?)

There are many excellent arguments for electric vehicles. Please, stop making bad arguments.

Bill Howland

Yeah, for some reason IEV’s feels here like repeating silly bromides.

Not everyone lives in California with 10 docking stations on each corner.


I live in California. If there was 1 docking station at every other corner here I would be so happy.


Realistically, we should be doing far more to get people to just not drive at all for these sort of trips, EV or not.


The 6 mile trip length is nothing new and also irrelevant. The key metric is the total mileage per day, (between overnight home recharging sessions) excluding infrequent road trips. What is needed is the metric on the 95th and 98th percentile of total daily driving distances by vehicles.