These Countries Buying More Electric Cars Than Gas-Powered Ones


Belgium, Taiwan, Ireland and Latvia are among a handful of nations now spending more on fully electric and hybrid U.S. manufactured cars than those powered by gasoline, according to the latest U.S. Census Bureau data.

The value of fully electric and hybrid vehicle U.S. exports now stands at better than 20% of all passenger vehicle exports, with the highest percentages in Europe and the lowest, as might be expected, in the Middle East.

It is, however, a lackluster year for overall vehicle exports, which are up just 0.54% when compared to the same eight months of 2021. U.S. exports have increased 20.11% in that time.

That percentage for the value of fully electric and hybrid passenger vehicles — it has hovered at about 20% for three years — is almost certainly twice as high as the percentage of fully electric and hybrid vehicles manufactured and sold in the United States.

Further, that percentage has doubled in five years, from 9.08% in the first eight months of 2017, the first year Census Bureau data showed any electric of hybrid passenger vehicle data.

This post, focused on the nation’s No. 5-ranked export by value, all passenger vehicles, is the seventh in a series of columns about the nation’s exports.

It follows similar series I did for the countries that were, at the time, the nation’s top 10 trade partners and one for the airports, seaports and border crossings that were, at the time, the nation’s top 10 “ports.”

The first article in this series focused on an overview of the top 10 exports. The second looked at the top 10 countries that are markets for U.S. exports and how they differ from our overall trade partners, which would include imports.

The third was about refined petroleum, the top export; followed by one on oil, which ranks second; natural gas, which includes LNG and ranks third; and the primary commercial jet category, which ranks fourth.

The eighth through 12th articles will look at No. 6 computer chips, No. 7 plasma and vaccines, No. 8 motor vehicle parts, No. 9 medicine in pill form, and No. 10 medical instruments.

Of those nations with a majority of their 2022 spend on fully electric and hybrid vehicles, only Belgium and Taiwan are among the 10 top markets, which account for better than 91.55% of those exports.

Canada, Germany and South Korea are the largest overall electric vehicle markets by value, with Canada at slightly more than 21%, Germany at just under 40% and South Korea at 36.47%.

Just as notable are those nations with particularly low percentages that are top 10 overall markets for overall U.S. passenger vehicles — gas and electric. Through August, 10.74% of U.S. exports to China were electric or hybrid, the third-largest overall market after Canada and Germany. For Mexico, the percentage was 6.70%; for Japan it was 2.93%; Australia, 1.75%; and Saudi Arabia, 0.77%.

Switching gears to all passenger vehicle exports, the total through August of this year was $37.16 billion, the highest total since 2014, when the total was 40.98 billion. While the 2022 total is 9.32 percent lower than the 2014 total, it is an increase of 0.54% over 2021, as previously mentioned, and 37.80% over the Covid-19 hampered 2020.

U.S. exports this year have increased 40 times as fast as passenger vehicle imports, much of that fueled by the increase in the pricing of the top three U.S. exports, refined petroleum, oil and natural gas.

Since 2014, the countries whose purchases of U.S. passenger vehicles have exceeded 200% are South Korea (311.19%), Belgium (310.47%), Taiwan (202.82%) and Ukraine (223.78%).

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