EVs Overtake Rail: US’s Top Electricity Consumer Shift

Light-duty electric vehicles (EVs) have officially dethroned rail systems as the largest electricity consumer in the US transport sector. In a groundbreaking turn of events, EVs surpassed rail in electricity consumption for the first time in 2023, a significant milestone as reported by the US Energy Information Administration (EIA). The shift marks a pivotal moment in the evolution of transportation electrification in the United States.


The EIA, known for its comprehensive energy data analysis, unveiled that annual electricity consumption by railways has historically held the top spot in the transportation sector’s electricity consumption hierarchy since 2003. However, the rise of EVs has disrupted this status quo, with light-duty EVs accounting for a remarkable 16% of all new vehicle sales in 2023. The EIA’s estimations reveal that EVs consumed a notable 7,596 GWh of electricity in 2023, a nearly fivefold increase from 2018 figures.

Why does it matter?

This shift underscores the increasing prominence of EVs in the energy landscape, signaling a new era where electric mobility is redefining traditional energy consumption patterns. Notably, battery electric vehicles (BEVs) emerged as the dominant player in EV electricity consumption, representing 72% of the total electricity consumed by EVs in 2023. The data reflects a growing market for EVs, fueled by expanded model options and decreasing prices, making electric transportation more accessible and appealing to consumers.

How is it going to shape the future?

The geographical distribution of EV electricity consumption in the US revealed intriguing insights, with the Pacific Census division leading the pack by accounting for 40% of the total EV electricity consumption. California, with its high concentration of EVs, emerged as the epicenter of EV electricity consumption, representing a staggering 85% of the contiguous Pacific Census Division’s electricity usage by light-duty EVs. As EV infrastructure continues to expand and EV adoption accelerates across states, the trend of EVs surpassing rail in electricity consumption is poised to reshape the future of transportation and energy consumption dynamics in the US.

Source: https://electrek.co/2024/05/20/evs-rail-largest-electricity-consumer-us-transport-sector/