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SCOTUS begins issuing new opinions, with another expected related to the power of federal agencies, the battleground state of Wisconsin gets a ruling on alternative voting sites, and coastal work is being done to help salt marshes withstand hurricanes.

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The Supreme Court for now protects access to abortion drug mifepristone, while Senate Republicans block a bill protecting access to in-vitro fertilization. Wisconsin's Supreme Court bans mobile voting sites, and colleges deal with funding cuts as legislatures target diversity programs.

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As summer nears, America's newest and largest international dark sky sanctuary beckons, rural job growth is up, but full recovery remains elusive, rural Americans living in prison towns support a transition, while birth control is more readily available in rural areas.

Expert: Electric Vehicle Sales Not Slowing Down

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Friday, August 25, 2023   

Experts say consumer interest and sales of electric vehicles in Arizona and across the country aren't slowing down.

Arizona is among the top 10 states for EV auto registrations. Year-to-date, EV sales are up more than 50%, year over year, which Chris Harto, senior policy analyst at Consumer Reports, said is impressive, considering how much fuel prices have come down. However, in Arizona, the average gas price is currently $4.25 per gallon - about 40 cents more than the national average - which may entice Arizona drivers to make the switch.

Harto said 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," he said. "We're not quite seeing a slowdown, quite yet."

He said 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 have speculated that EV inventories are high, Harto countered that 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 when incentives are factored in. He also said he recognizes many are concerned about the lack of charging infrastructure, but said that is changing. Arizona has nearly 1,000 charging stations, although 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," he said, "to give them that little extra bit of confidence."

He said a number of new requirements have either limited or changed which EVs can qualify for tax credits. So, of course, those that are eligible for tax credits seem to be selling better than those that don't.


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