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As Congress and presidential candidates trade accusations over immigration reform, advocates and experts urge caution in spreading misinformation; Alabama takes new action IVF policy following controversial court decision; and central states urge caution with wildfires brewing.

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Congress reaches a deal to avoid a partial government shutdown again. Arizona Republicans want to ensure Trump remains on their state ballot and Senate Democrats reintroduce the John Lewis Voting Rights Act.

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Hard times could be ahead for rural school districts that spent federal pandemic money on teacher salaries, a former Oregon lumber community drafts a climate-action plan and West Virginians may soon buy raw milk from squeaky-clean cows.

Expert: Illinois Electric Vehicle Sales Accelerating, Not Slowing Down

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Thursday, August 31, 2023   

Experts say consumer interest and sales of electric vehicles in Illinois and across the country are not slowing down.

Illinois is among the top 10 states for EV auto registrations. From January to August, EV sales are up almost 50%, year-over-year.

Chris Harto, senior policy analyst for Consumer Reports, said the growth is impressive, considering how much fuel prices have come down. In the Land of Lincoln, the average gas price is currently $4.07 per gallon, almost 25 cents more than the national average, which may entice drivers to switch.

Harto pointed out interest rates might also turn out to be a factor in sales.

"Interest rates have gone up quite a bit, and I think that is going to have an effect on the whole vehicle market, regardless of vehicle type," Harto acknowledged. "We're not quite seeing a slowdown yet."

He suspects the market is still trying to adjust and "catch up," after EVs and vehicles in general have been in such limited supply in recent years. While many speculate EV inventories are high, Harto countered the EV-only companies such as Polstar, Rivian and Tesla, report "very low inventory."

Harto said affordability is top of mind for many people shopping for an electric vehicle. Consumer Reports found 70% of EV sales so far this year have been from just nine models, all of which start at less than $45,000 dollars when incentives are factored in.

He also recognized many are concerned about the lack of charging infrastructure but said it is changing. Illinois has about 1,200 public charging stations, and more are in the works.

"You definitely have a group of consumers who are waiting for the federal funds that are going out to the states to really build out that national charging network," Harto noted. "To give them that little extra bit of confidence."

He added a number of new requirements have either limited or changed which EVs can qualify for tax credits. Of course, those eligible for tax credits seem to be selling better than those without.


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