by the numbers

Texas finishes low on list of EV charging stations despite increased efforts in Houston

California, with its 14,500 charging stations, has more EV charging stations than New York, Florida, and Texas combined. Photo via Getty Images

In a new report that ranked states with the most electric vehicle chargers, Texas falls behind other similarly-sized states

The SmartAsset study looked at the closest EV charging stations equivalent to a trip to the gas station — factoring in each state's population. California, with its 14,500 charging stations, has five times the EV charging stations as New York (3,327), Florida (2,913) and Texas (2,472). While California ranked No. 1 on the list, Texas found itself at No. 41.

The report used EV charger and station data for each state from the U.S. Department of Energy for 2022 and 2021. Population data is for 2022 and comes from the U.S. Census Bureau 1-Year American Community Survey. Cities were also ranked by the number of fast chargers per capita. In 2022, Texas had 1,386 fast DC chargers, 2,472 EV charging stations, and a fast charger growth year over year 53.5 percent.

Interest in electric vehicles ranked low in Texas according to a 2023 study by University of Houston and Texas Southern University. The Texas Trends survey revealed just 5.1 percent of Texans currently drive an electric-powered car, truck, or SUV, while 60 percent said they were not too likely or not at all likely to consider leasing or purchasing an electric vehicle in the future.

Even though in Texas, the interest in EVs may seem low, but Houston is trying to incorporate more innovation in this area. The city of Houston approved $281,000 funding for the expansion of free electric vehicle rideshare services in communities that are considered underserved by utilizing services like RYDE and Evolve Houston in December. The funding will be dispersed to RYDE in through the nonprofit Evolve Houston. Luxury rideshare company Alto, which currently operates in Inner Loop and Greater Houston, expanded its current service areas to The Woodlands and Spring, which will include an expanded fleet of EVs.

Another study showed that Texas is among the top of the pack for states with the most electric vehicle registrations, but Houston fell behind other large metros in the state for EV friendliness. The report from StorageCafe showed that Texas had the third-most EV registrations in the county in 2021 at 112,000 vehicles. California outpaced the rest of the country with 878,000 registrations for the No.1 ranking. The report found that Houston drivers registered 27,251 EVs in 2021.

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A View From HETI

Houston could have ranked higher on a global report of top cities in the world if it had a bit more business diversification. Photo via Getty Images

A new analysis positions the Energy Capital of the World as an economic dynamo, albeit a flawed one.

The recently released Oxford Economics Global Cities Index, which assesses the strengths and weaknesses of the world’s 1,000 largest cities, puts Houston at No. 25.

Houston ranks well for economics (No. 15) and human capital (No. 18), but ranks poorly for governance (No. 184), environment (No. 271), and quality of life (No. 298).

New York City appears at No. 1 on the index, followed by London; San Jose, California; Tokyo; and Paris. Dallas lands at No. 18 and Austin at No. 39.

In its Global Cities Index report, Oxford Economics says Houston’s status as “an international and vertically integrated hub for the oil and gas sector makes it an economic powerhouse. Most aspects of the industry — downstream, midstream, and upstream — are managed from here, including the major fuel refining and petrochemicals sectors.”

“And although the city has notable aerospace and logistics sectors and has diversified into other areas such as biomedical research and tech, its fortunes remain very much tied to oil and gas,” the report adds. “As such, its economic stability and growth lag other leading cities in the index.”

The report points out that Houston ranks highly in the human capital category thanks to the large number of corporate headquarters in the region. The Houston area is home to the headquarters of 26 Fortune 500 companies, including ExxonMobil, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, and Sysco.

Another contributor to Houston’s human capital ranking, the report says, is the presence of Rice University, the University of Houston and the Texas Medical Center.

“Despite this,” says the report, “it lacks the number of world-leading universities that other cities have, and only performs moderately in terms of the educational attainment of its residents.”

Slower-than-expected population growth and an aging population weaken Houston’s human capital score, the report says.

Meanwhile, Houston’s score for quality is life is hurt by a high level of income inequality, along with a low life expectancy compared with nearly half the 1,000 cities on the list, says the report.

Also in the quality-of-life bucket, the report underscores the region’s variety of arts, cultural, and recreational activities. But that’s offset by urban sprawl, traffic congestion, an underdeveloped public transportation system, decreased air quality, and high carbon emissions.

Furthermore, the report downgrades Houston’s environmental stature due to the risks of hurricanes and flooding.

“Undoubtedly, Houston is a leading business [center] that plays a key role in supporting the U.S. economy,” says the report, “but given its shortcomings in other categories, it will need to follow the path of some of its more well-rounded peers in order to move up in the rankings.”

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This article originally ran on InnovationMap.

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