There are about 115,000 gas stations in the U.S. That figure has dropped sharply over the last two decades. The reasons are primarily a fall off in the margins owners get, and more fuel efficient cars. And, while there are only a few hundred thousand electric cars in America, that figure is likely to surge. Gas stations, in many areas, will slowly disappear.
Most electric car sales are in large cities, particularly along both coasts. A map of Tesla Inc. (NASDAQ: TSLA) Superchargers show they clustered in the East. The company has over 1,000 of these. However, there are many smaller stations, and many people charge their Tesla at home. The installation of the home chargers can take less than a day.
General Motors Company (NYSE: GM) claims that it will build its own network of charging stations. It has hinted that eventually this will top the Tesla count. It is safe to forecast the other large manufacturers will build station networks, and offer home charging options. The number of chargers across all manufacturers should reach into the tens of thousands in a few years.
Manufacturers will need to build out the electric charger infrastructure. GM says it will have 20 electric car models in dealers around the world by 2023. The U.S. is the second largest car market globally–after China–so many of those models will need to be available in America. Ford Motor Company (NYSE: F) says it will have 40 electric cars and hybrids available by the middle of the decade. Most huge car manufacturers have similar plans.
How soon will gas-powered cars be driven off the road by electric vehicles. If the large car companies have their ways, a decade from now the number of gas stations could be cut by half. However, stations will need to be available for older cars. The typical American car has been driving for over 11 years. But, by 2030 many of those will be gone.
Will electric cars be half of the cars sold in the U.S. a decade from now? Big car companies are betting on it. If their plans work, the gas station will quickly be a thing of the past across much of America.