Sierra Club Research Shows Greenwashing of EVs at Dealerships

Sierra Club’s released the new report “Rev Up Electric Vehicles: A Nationwide Study of the Electric Vehicle Shopping Experience,” which shows that the U.S. auto industry is largely failing to meet consumer demand for electric vehicles (EVs) and automakers are greenwashing their EV commitments.

This report comes right before the Environmental Protection Agency’s public hearing this week on its proposed standards for light-duty cars. The proposed car standards cover model years 2027 to 2032 and are expected to lead to clean, electric cars making up as much as 67 percent of new passenger vehicles sold in the country by 2032.

Based on over 800 surveys from Sierra Club staff and volunteers who called or visited auto dealerships and stores across all 50 states to inquire about EVs, the study had several key findings:

  • Sixty-six percent of car dealerships nationwide did not have a single EV available for sale, while 34% of dealers did have an EV available for sale.
  • Supply chain, inventory issues, and automaker allocation of EVs to dealerships created EV availability barriers. Of the 66% of car dealerships that did not have an EV for sale, 44% reported they would offer an EV for sale if they could get one.
  • Some car dealerships refuse or are still not ready to sell EVs to consumers. Of the 66% of car dealerships that did not have an EV for sale, 45% of those dealers reported they would not offer an EV for sale regardless of automaker allocation and supply chain constraints.
  • Only 27% of dealers in the Western region had an EV available for sale – lower than all other regions. However, the Western region sold far more EVs than the rest of the country and accounted for 45% of the nation’s EV sales in 2022, indicating that the low availability is a result of high sales turnover and high consumer demand.
  • Mercedes-Benz (owned by Daimler AG) had the best EV availability among car brands: 90% of the Mercedes-Benz dealerships surveyed had an EV available for sale.
  • Toyota and Honda had the worst EV availability. Only 11% of Honda dealers and 15% of Toyota dealers had an EV available for sale.

Electric vehicles exceeded five percent of new car sales in 2022, crossing the necessary tipping point for mass adoption according to Bloomberg research, and by the end of the year even reached ten percent.

“We are in a climate crisis and at a major inflection point for the American electric vehicle industry, and yet automakers are still pumping out millions of gas-powered vehicles while they lag on their EV commitments,” said Sierra Club Clean Transportation for All Director Katherine Garcia. “To help avoid the worst impacts of climate disruption and protect our communities, it’s important that we accelerate the transition to all-electric vehicles. Enough empty promises: The auto industry must step on the accelerator and  get electric vehicles on dealership lots now.”

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