driving toward progress

Texas ranks high on new EV study, but Houston was outpaced by other metros

Here's how Houston and Texas fared on a new electric vehicle report. Photo via Getty Images

A new study shows that Texas is among the top of the pack for states with the most electric vehicle registrations. But Houston falls behind other large metros in the state for EV friendliness.

The March report from StorageCafe, which compiled data from the Federal Transit Administration, the Federal Highway Administration, the Department of Energy and other sources, 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 by a longshot with 878,000 registrations, claiming the number one spot. Florida had the second-most registrations at 128,000.

The report also looked at EV friendliness, which factored in EV registrations as well as the number of charging stations per household, EV exemptions, incentives and various other factors.

Houston was ranked 32nd on the friendliness list. The report found that Bayou City drivers registered 27,251 EVs in 2021. Charging stations are available in about 3.8 percent of rental buildings and there are 0.2 charging stations for every 1,000 households in the city.

Dallas claimed the top spot for the state at No. 15 with more than 29,000 EV registrations in 2021. Though Dallas has the same ratio of EV charging stations per household, there are more charging stations in rental buildings in the city.

Austin, at No. 22, also outranked Houston. Though the capital city only registered 8,730 EVs in 2021 there are much more charging stations per household (0.7 for every 1,000) and in rental buildings (5.5 percent).

San Antonio came in at No. 36, the McAllen area at No. 75, and El Paso at No. 83.

Seattle was named the friendliest place to own an EV. The drivers in the city registered more than 47,000 EVs in 2021.

Doug Ressler, a business intelligence manager at Yardi Matrix, which contributed to the report, weighed in on the findings.

“The electric car movement is gaining momentum, but it isn’t without its challenges. The high price of an EV–although brought down by incentives now – range and charging stations still pose some problems," he said in a statement. "However, with the expansion of the charging network–including in apartment buildings–and the gradual lowering of the EV price, buying and using an EV can become mainstream in the foreseeable future."

He also estimated that EVs will "dominate the car market" by 2045. By 2050, he said EVs could make up about 90 percent of the market.

Earlier this month Hertz announced that it would triple Houston's electric rental fleet, as well as add a fast-charging hub to Hobby Airport that's designed to serve ride-hail, taxi fleets and the general public.

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This article originally ran on InnovationMap.

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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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