Polls show most Delawareans against EV mandate

March 14, 2023

Over the next few weeks, lawmakers in Dover may consider legislation about Delaware's future commitment to electric vehicles. In Delaware, the state has taken a leadership role in implementing clean energy policies, critical especially after former President Donald Trump withdrew the U.S. from the Paris Climate Agreement. 

According to recent polling by Centrist Democrats of America, Delaware’s Democrats were wise to back efforts to fight global warming through clean transportation policies. Our poll indicates that a strong majority of voters in Delaware are concerned about the effect of climate change (80%), including a majority of Democrats (93%), independents (94%) and Republicans (55%). 

With this in mind, CDA wanted to understand how Delawareans felt about the government banning the sale of new gas- and diesel-powered vehicles. Delaware is considering a policy that would mirror California’s next electric vehicle policy, which is a full ban on the sale of any new gasoline and diesel vehicles throughout Delaware starting in 2035. We polled Delawareans on this matter, and asked them if Delaware should follow California’s lead on EV sales, or implement its own rules. CDA found:

Only 9% of voters strongly support a ban on the sale of gas-powered vehicles in the next 10 years or so. On the flip side, 47% strongly oppose a ban on cars and trucks that run on gasoline or diesel. When asked specifically if Delaware should consider passing and following California’s laws on electric vehicles or write its own rules and laws, the answers were stark: only 19% of respondents think Delaware should adopt California’s law and 78% support Delaware writing its own laws on the future sales of gas-powered cars and trucks. 

Our polling indicates why Delawareans are hesitant to support a total ban on the sale of new gas- or diesel-powered cars and trucks. We found only 9% of Delawareans are very likely to buy an EV in the next two to three years, and those who don’t plan on buying an EV in the next two years (44%) believe that electric vehicles are too expensive and designed for wealthy drivers, and are worried there are not enough of charging stations.

To get a fuller understanding of how Delawareans think the government should be spending, we found that people’s top priorities for funding were ending childhood hunger, fixing roads and bridges, and increasing the use of wind and solar energy. Rounding out the bottom of funding priorities were funding to build K-12 schools, police training and hiring, public transportation, and coming in last was increasing the number of electric vehicles.

Finally, our polling did find support for government investment in building out charging stations, with the federal government bearing the greatest burden, followed by states, private business and consumers. 

CDA urges lawmakers in Dover, both Democrats and Republicans, to look at this data, and put common sense and public service over partisan politics. The polling is clear. Delawareans are worried about climate change and generally supportive of EVs, but they draw the line at government bans of gas- and diesel-powered vehicles. 

Hank Naughton
Centrist Democrats of America
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