01/23/2020

Hawaii notched increase in registered passenger electric vehicles in 2019

This article was written by Nina Wu and originally published in the Honolulu Star-Advertiser on January 23, 2020.

  • COURTESY NISSAN

    COURTESY NISSAN

The state of Hawaii did not reach the milestone of reaching 10,000 registered passenger electric vehicles in the state by the end of 2019 — at least, not according to the most recent energy trend report.

The December 2019 report, issued by the state Department of Business, Economic Development and Transportation’s Research & Economic Analysis Division earlier this month, counted the number of registered, taxable passenger EVs in Hawaii at 9,434.

The total was an increase of 1,103 registered passenger EVs, or 13.2% up from the same month the previous year, and an increase of 250 from November 2019.

However, 9,434 represents less than 1% of all registered passenger vehicles in the state, which in December was 1,082,711, a 1.2% increase from the same month the previous year, and a 0.2% increase from November.

In December, there were 24,312 passenger hybrid vehicles in Hawaii, which accounted for 2.2% of total passenger vehicles.

The regular gasoline price in Hawaii in December averaged $3.66 per gallon, which was $1.09 per gallon, or 42.4% higher, than the national average for the same month.

Starting this year, Hawaii is also charging EV owners $50 in additional registration fees to offset lost gas tax revenues.

Last year, the state’s count of registered passenger EVs reached 10,003 in September, according to the reports put out by the division the following month, then mysteriously dipped down to 8,546 in October. While there was an upward trend thereafter, with a count of 9,194 in November, the state could offer no explanation of the sudden drop.

The State Energy Office had then said it would consider new methods for compiling numbers to more accurately count EVs in the state.

Currently, as with the December report, the monthly trends are based on vehicle tax data provided by counties to count the number of EVs, which is consistent with the tally of other vehicle fuel types.