An Analysis of Electric Vehicle Charging Stations in the United States and New York City

This blog posting is for my Spring 2021 Spatial Data Analysis & Visualization and Geospatial Humanities course with Dr. Shipeng Sun.

UPDATE 12/19/21: Please note that my subscription for ARCGIS Online has run out, so maps below are no longer visible. I apologize for this inconvenience.


Recently, President Biden has proposed a large 2 trillion-dollar infrastructure plan. Within that plan, the New York Times reports that up to $174 billion of it will be used to “encourage Americans to switch to cars and trucks that run on electricity” (Chokshi). A big part of that money will go towards incentivizing the growth of electric vehicle (EV) charging stations. 

I have always taken an interest in the growth of electric vehicles, as I believe they are the future of transportation in the United States. Currently, I drive a Mazda vehicle that runs on gasoline, but hope that I can switch over to an electric vehicle soon. Unfortunately, I am not yet equipped to do that and neither is the infrastructure of our country. Driving through my neighborhood of Bensonhurst, Brooklyn, you are able to find a gas station every few blocks. Charging stations for vehicles are much harder to come by. The biggest obstacle to electric car growth in my mind is the accessibility to charging stations. Consumers will not buy an electric vehicle if they believe it is too difficult to “fill up.” The new infrastructure plan has given me hope that we will see a sharp increase in the amount of charging stations across the country, making it more accessible and easier for those who would like to buy an electric car, but cannot. 

For this project, I am taking a look at the number of charging stations in the United States using spatial data from the US Department of Energy. With this data, I will map out the charging stations in the US and using processing tools in QGIS, I will see which states have the most charging stations available. Using population data from the US Census Bureau, I will also take a look at the best locations for public charging stations on a per capita basis. Zooming in, I will take a look at the charging stations in NYC and determine which neighborhoods would be best to live in if you own an electric vehicle, based on Neighborhood Tabulation Areas from NYC Open Data. 


To begin, I needed to locate the correct data. I began by pulling the Cartographic Boundaries from US Census Bureau for States and Counties in Shapefile format.

These Cartographic Boundaries did not have population data included in them, so I needed to find a way to join the data together before doing anything with the EV Charging Station Data. I then pulled Population Data from the US Census Bureau as CSVs for states and counties. For this, I used the 2019 estimated population because the 2020 census data has not yet been released.

I imported the data into QGIS for processing.

For the states, it is quite an easy join. Using the QGIS Processing Tool, Join by Field Value (using State Name to do so), I successfully joined population counts to the state boundaries.

For the counties, I had much more processing and cleaning to do. In Excel, I added a new column and used the concatenate function to create a string with “State Number – County Name” for the population data. In QGIS, I used the Field Calculator to create a new column with the same naming convention in the shapefile of county boundaries. Since both data sources (the county boundaries shapefile and CSV of population estimates) were from the Census Bureau, using the Join by Field value Function worked well enough because the strings were similar, using the same naming conventions. The data cleaning I had to do however was quite time-consuming. In the states of Louisiana, which named counties “Parish” instead of “County” and Alaska which used “Borough,” I adjusted the data in the CSV to match. I did this fix with Virginia as well which used “city” for a number of counties. There was also a location that had a Spanish tilde (ñ) that seemed to have issues processing, so I manually inputted information for that New Mexico county. I was able to identify these issues when I ran the Join by Field Value function in QGIS.

In addition, I also removed data from any non-states (except DC) such as US Virgin Islands & Guam, since population numbers were not provided for them.

Once my boundary layers were successfully joined with population data, I was able to import the data for charging stations using a delimited text layer. I pulled the CSV file from the Department of Energy database. The data is pulled from May 18, 2021. It is important to note that I only pulled the locations of US-based, public, Level 2, and DC Fast electric charging stations to use for this project.

As Freewire Tech explains, there are 3 different types of electric charging stations: Level 1, Level 2, and DC Fast Charging. They say: “In general, chargers are defined by the number of kilowatts (kW) they output. Each kilowatt-hour (kWh) received by a standard passenger-sized EV equates to about 4 miles of driving range. The higher the output from the charger, the faster the EV battery will recharge” (Freewire). To avoid going into unnecessary detail, Level 1 chargers can take over 24 hours to give an electric vehicle a full charge, which makes them impractical for the purposes of this analysis, as those looking for a charging station would want faster charging options. Level 2, the most common charger currently out there, can provide a full charge in about 8 hours, while a DC Fast Charger can take 60-90 minutes for a full charge. Additionally, there are under 1,000 Level 1 public charging stations in the US anyway. Due to their low number and inefficiency when it comes to charging time, I have excluded Level 1 stations from analysis.

For state boundaries and county boundaries, I used the Point Counts in Polygon tool to reveal the locations with the most charging stations. I did this in two ways: with population considered (on a per capita basis) and population not considered (just looking at total number of stations). I saved the joined and counted shapefiles into CSVs to process in Google Sheets. To display the different charging stations, I put the data in different ArcGIS maps embedded below. Underneath are my findings from my work in QGIS. I also pulled the Neighborhood Tabulation Areas from NYC Open Data, which are the NYC neighborhood boundaries to do a zoomed-in analysis of NYC. In my conclusion, I analyze my findings deeper and discuss what they tell us about the state of electric vehicle charging stations in the US.

Analysis & Visualization

Electric Vehicle Charging Stations in the US

Here, you have the ability to view all of the different Level 2 and DC Fast electric vehicle charging stations in the US. You can click on different locations to get information for each station, including address, phone number, hours, and EV Connector Types.

Heat Map of Electric Vehicle Charging Stations in the US

EV Charging Stations by State

Data processing was done using QGIS, Excel, and Google Sheets.

Top Ten States with Most EV Charging Stations

State Number of Total Stations
California 13,017
New York 2,454
Florida 2,172
Texas 2,016
Massachusetts 1,692
Washington 1,481
Georgia 1,420
Colorado 1,314
Maryland 1,005
Missouri 964

California tops the list for the state with the most EV charging stations by a large amount.


List of State Count for EV Charging Stations (Alphabetical)

Looking at the data, 21 states in the list have under 250 electric vehicle charging stations.


Proportional Symbols of EV Charging Stations by US State

You can click on each state to see how many charging stations are in each.


Top Ten States with Most EV Charging Stations Per Capita

State 2019 Population Estimate EV Stations per State EV Stations Per 100,000 People
Vermont 623,989 284 45.5
District of Columbia 705,749 234 33.2
California 39,512,223 13,017 32.9
Hawaii 1,415,872 361 25.5
Utah 3,205,958 794 24.8
Massachusetts 6,892,503 1,692 24.5
Colorado 5,758,736 1,314 22.8
Oregon 4,217,737 826 19.6
Rhode Island 1,059,361 207 19.5
Washington 7,614,893 1,481 19.4

List of State Counts for EV Charging Stations on Per Capita Basis (Alphabetical)

The data shows that 32 states have under 10 EV charging stations per 100,000 people.

EV Charging Stations by US County

I found that looking at the breakdown by county was more illuminating.

Graduated Map of EV Charging Stations By County

Top 25 US Counties with Most EV Charging Stations

County Name State EVs per County
Los Angeles California 3,101
Santa Clara California 1,533
Orange California 1,406
San Mateo California 999
San Diego California 955
King Washington 782
Alameda California 746
Maricopa Arizona 558
Fulton Georgia 551
Middlesex Massachusetts 525
Travis Texas 482
Riverside California 462
Jackson Missouri 461
Cook Illinois 456
Salt Lake Utah 441
Sacramento California 371
San Francisco California 357
New York New York 352
Miami-Dade Florida 344
Johnson Kansas 342
San Bernardino California 312
Harris Texas 312
Suffolk Massachusetts 307
Contra Costa California 292
Orange Florida 290

California certainly dominates the list with counties with the most EV charging stations.


List of County Count for EV Charging Stations (Alphabetical by State)

Strikingly, 1,391 counties have no charging stations.


Top 25 States with Most EV Charging Stations Per 10,000 People

Note: Since County populations are on the smaller side, I adjusted this to be per 10,000 people as opposed to 100,000 people like above.

County Name State 2019 Population Estimate EVCSs per County EVCs per 10,000 People
Alpine California 1,129 4 35.4
Richmond Virginia 9,023 31 34.4
Hinsdale Colorado 820 2 24.4
Wheeler Oregon 1,332 3 22.5
Kane Utah 7,886 13 16.5
Pitkin Colorado 17,767 29 16.3
Chattahoochee Georgia 10,907 17 15.6
San Juan Colorado 728 1 13.7
Warren New York 63,944 84 13.1
San Mateo California 766,573 999 13.0
Mineral Colorado 769 1 13.0
Eagle Colorado 55,127 71 12.9
Cook Minnesota 5,463 7 12.8
Storey Nevada 4,123 5 12.1
Hamilton New York 4,416 5 11.3
Grand Utah 9,754 11 11.3
Jones South Dakota 903 1 11.1
Napa California 137,744 152 11.0
Essex New York 36,885 39 10.6
Gilliam Oregon 1,912 2 10.5
Teton Wyoming 23,464 24 10.2
Custer South Dakota 8,972 9 10.0
Garfield Utah 5,051 5 9.9
Dolores Colorado 2,055 2 9.7
Nantucket Massachusetts 11,399 11 9.6

List of County Count for EV Charging Stations Per 10,000 People (Greatest at Top)

The average and median for charging stations per 10,000 people in the counties are both under 1.

EV Charging Stations in NYC

Count of Electric Vehicle Charging Stations in Each NYC Neighborhood

New York City Neighborhoods with the Most Electric Vehicle Charging Stations (Top 27)

Using the Neighborhood Tabulation Areas from NYC Open Data as the boundary, I was able to see which neighborhoods have the most (and least) electric vehicle charging stations in New York City. It does not seem useful to do this on a per capita basis, given that the numbers are quite low.

Neighborhood Borough NYC Neighborhood EVCS Count
Midtown-Midtown South Manhattan 35
Upper East Side-Carnegie Hill Manhattan 32
Lenox Hill-Roosevelt Island Manhattan 31
Turtle Bay-East Midtown Manhattan 30
Hudson Yards-Chelsea-Flatiron-Union Square Manhattan 27
Upper West Side Manhattan 25
West Village Manhattan 23
Battery Park City-Lower Manhattan Manhattan 22
Lincoln Square Manhattan 19
DUMBO-Vinegar Hill-Downtown Brooklyn-Boerum Hill Brooklyn 19
Yorkville Manhattan 18
Murray Hill-Kips Bay Manhattan 18
SoHo-TriBeCa-Civic Center-Little Italy Manhattan 16
Clinton Manhattan 15
North Side-South Side Brooklyn 14
Hunters Point-Sunnyside-West Maspeth Queens 13
Airport Queens 13
Flushing Queens 9
Brooklyn Heights-Cobble Hill Brooklyn 8
Old Town-Dongan Hills-South Beach Staten Island 7
Fort Greene Brooklyn 7
Park Slope-Gowanus Brooklyn 6
East Harlem South Manhattan 6
Forest Hills Queens 6
Morningside Heights Manhattan 6
New Springville-Bloomfield-Travis Staten Island 6
Chinatown Manhattan 6

16 of the top 27 NYC neighborhoods with the most electric vehicle charging stations are in Manhattan. For those in NYC, Manhattan clearly has an edge when it comes to electric vehicles.


Electric Vehicle Charging Stations Counted in All NYC Neighborhoods

Even more interesting is that 103 neighborhoods in NYC do not have even one public EV charging station. That is more than 50% of the neighborhood within NYC.


In my analysis, I found that many locations in the US are lacking public access to high-speed electric vehicle charging. This is a gigantic barrier to the growth of electric vehicles. If people are unable to access charging to “fill up” their car, then they won’t want to purchase an electric vehicle.

Some striking findings bulleted below:

  • 21 states in the US have fewer than 250 charging stations.
  • The data shows that there are 32 states that have fewer than 10 stations per 100,000 people.
  • There are 1,391 counties in the US with 0 charging stations. That is more than 44% of US counties.
  • In NYC, 103 out of 195 Neighborhoods have no charging stations.

These statistics show that electric vehicles have a long way to go to become a dominant force in transportation in the US.

For comparison purposes, a simple Google search of how many gas stations in America tells us that there are over 100,000 gas stations in the country. According to my data, there are approximately 42,000 EV charging stations. For us to catch up to the amount of gas stations, we would need over a 100% increase in the amount of electric vehicle charging stations. It is quite clear that we have a lot of work to do if we want electric vehicles to be widely used in the US.

With that said, there is hope. If the federal government injects the industry with money, there can be rapid growth in EVs. One suggestion I would have to legislators is to provide different tax incentives for EV charging companies to grow. Big businesses in retail can also get involved in the growth of EV charging stations by providing space in their parking lots for people to charge their vehicles. Since we are not yet at the point where electric vehicles “fill up” in minutes like at a gas station, this would also increase the amount of shoppers who are waiting for their vehicle to charge, stimulating the retail economy that is increasingly at risk with the rise of online shopping. The fight for more sustainable and eco-friendly uses of energy continues!

For Further Research & Work

I would love to find the number of EV drivers in each state and county and try to determine the amount of EV charging stations with respect to those figures, instead of on a per capita/population basis. This would require much more research to see if this data exists and would be more difficult to process. The findings, however, can be beneficial to review.

I would also love to compare this data to the amount of gas stations in the US on a county-by-county basis. I am not sure my computer would have the capacity to handle a data set of that size, but it would definitely be interesting for comparison purposes.

US Department of Energy Alternative Fueling Station Locator

For reference, you can see the US Department of Energy Alternative Fueling Station Locator below.

Loading alternative fueling station locator…






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