Electric Vehicle Charging Stations Across America: Mapped
As the electric vehicle market continues to expand, having enough EV charging stations is essential to enable longer driving ranges and lower wait times at chargers.
Currently, the U.S. has about 140,000 public EV chargers distributed across almost 53,000 charging stations, which are still far outnumbered by the 145,000 gas fueling stations in the country.
This graphic maps out EV charging stations across the U.S. using data from the National Renewable Energy Lab. The map has interactive features when viewed on desktop, showing pricing structures and the connector types when hovering over a charging station, along with filtering options.
Which States Lead in EV Charging Infrastructure?
As seen in the map above, most electric vehicle charging stations in the U.S. are located on the west and east coasts of the nation, while the Midwest strip is fairly barren aside from the state of Colorado.
California has the highest number of EV charging stations at 15,182, making up an impressive 29% of all charging stations in America. In fact, the Golden State has nearly double the chargers of the following three states, New York (3,085), Florida (2,858), and Texas (2,419) combined.
|Rank||State||Number of charging stations||Share of U.S. charging stations|
It’s no surprise the four top states by GDP have the highest number of EV chargers, and California’s significant lead is also unsurprising considering its ambition to completely phase out the sale of new gas vehicles by 2035.
The Best States for EV Charging Speeds and Cost
While having many charging stations distributed across a state is important, two other factors determine charging convenience: cost and charger level availability.
EV charger pricing structures and charger level availability across the nation are a Wild West with no set rules and few clear expectations.
Finding Free Electric Vehicle Chargers Across States
Generous electric vehicle charging locations will offer unlimited free charging or a time cap between 30 minutes and 4 hours of free charging before payment is required. Some EV charging stations located in parking structures simply require a parking fee, while others might have a flat charging fee per session, charge by kWh consumed, or have an hourly rate.
While California leads in terms of the raw amount of free chargers available in the state, it’s actually the second-worst in the top 10 states when it comes to the share of chargers, at only 11% of them free for 30 minutes or more.
|Rank||State name||Number of free charging stations||Share of free charging stations in the state|
Meanwhile, Maryland leads with almost 30% of the chargers in the state that offer a minimum of 30 minutes of free charging. On the other hand, Massachusetts is the stingiest state of the top 10, with only 6% of charging stations (150 total) in the state offering free charging for electric vehicle drivers.
The States with the Best DC Fast Charger Availability
While free EV chargers are great, having access to fast chargers can matter just as much, depending on how much you value your time. Most EV drivers across the U.S. will have access to level 2 chargers, with more than 86% of charging stations in the country having level 2 chargers available.
Although level 2 charging (4-10 hours from empty to full charge) beats the snail’s pace of level 1 charging (40-50 hours from empty to full charge), between busy schedules and many charging stations that are only free for the first 30 minutes, DC fast charger availability is almost a necessity.
Direct current fast chargers can charge an electric vehicle from empty to 80% in 20-60 minutes but are only available at 12% of America’s EV charging stations today.
|Rank||State||Number of stations with DC fast charger available||Share of DC fast charger available stations in state||Share of free and DC fast charger available stations in state|
Just like free stations, Maryland leads the top 10 states in having the highest share of DC fast chargers at 16%. While Massachusetts was the worst state for DC charger availability at 6%, the state of New York was second worst at 8% despite its large number of chargers overall. All other states in the top 10 have DC chargers available in at least one in 10 charging stations.
As for the holy grail of charging stations, with free charging and DC fast charger availability, almost 1% of the country’s charging stations are there. So if you’re hoping for free and DC fast charging, the chances in most states are around one in 100.
The Future of America’s EV Charging Infrastructure
As America works towards Biden’s goal of having half of all new vehicles sold in 2030 be zero-emissions vehicles (battery electric, plug-in hybrid electric, or fuel cell electric), charging infrastructure across the nation is essential in improving accessibility and convenience for drivers.
The Biden administration has given early approval to 35 states’ EV infrastructure plans, granting them access to $900 million in funding as part of the $5 billion National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure (NEVI) Formula Program set to be distributed over the next five years.
Along with this program, a $2.5 billion Discretionary Grant Program aims to increase EV charging access in rural, undeserved, and overburdened communities, along with the Inflation Reduction Act’s $3 billion dedicated to supporting access to EV charging for economically disadvantaged communities.
With more than $10 billion being invested into EV charging infrastructure over the next five years and more than half the sum focused on communities with poor current access, charger availability across America is set to continue improving in the coming years.
Ranked: The World’s Top Cotton Producers
As the most-used natural fiber, cotton has become the most important non-food agricultural product.
Ranked: The World’s Top Cotton Producers
Cotton is present in our everyday life, from clothes to coffee strainers, and more recently in masks to control the spread of COVID-19.
As the most-used natural fiber, cotton has become the most important non-food agricultural product. Currently, approximately half of all textiles require cotton fibers.
The above infographic lists the world’s top cotton producers, using data from the United States Department of Agriculture.
Originating from the Arabic word “quton,” meaning fancy fabric, cotton is a staple fiber made up of short fibers twisted together to form yarn.
The earliest production of cotton was around 5,000 B.C. in India, and today, around 25 million tons of cotton are produced each year.
Currently, five countries make up around 75% of global cotton production, with China being the world’s biggest producer. The country is responsible for over 23% of global production, with approximately 89 million cotton farmers and part-time workers. Cotton’s importance cannot be understated, as it is the primary input for the Chinese textile industry along with many other nations’ textile industries.
|Top Cotton Producers||2020/2021 (metric tons)||2021/2022 (metric tons)|
|🇺🇸 United States||3,181,000||3,815,000|
The United States is the leading global exporter of cotton, exporting three-fourths of its crop with China as the top buyer.
Despite its importance for the global economy, cotton production faces significant sustainability challenges.
The Controversy Over Cotton
Cotton is one of the largest users of water among all agricultural commodities, and production often involves applying pesticides that threaten soil and water quality.
Along with this, production often involves forced and child labor. According to the European Commission, child labor in the cotton supply chain is most common in Africa and Asia, where it comes from small-holder farmers.
In 2020, U.S. apparel maker Patagonia stopped sourcing cotton from the autonomous territory of Xinjiang because of reports about forced labor and other human rights abuses against Uighurs and other ethnic minorities.
L Brands, the parent company of Victoria’s Secret, has also committed to eliminating Chinese cotton from its supply chain. Whether these changes in supply chains impact China’s cotton production and its practices, cotton remains essential to materials found across our daily lives.
Visualizing Mismanaged Plastic Waste by Country
About 22% of the world’s annual plastic waste generation is mismanaged. Here’s a break down of mismanaged plastic waste by country.
Visualizing Mismanaged Plastic Waste by Country
Plastic is one of the most useful materials around, but its proliferating use has created a ballooning heap of plastic waste, with more than 350 million tonnes generated each year.
Only a fraction of plastic waste is recycled, and about one-fifth ends up in the mismanaged category, meaning that it is dumped or littered without proper waste management practices. Mismanaged plastic waste threatens the land and marine environments, and most of it doesn’t decompose, polluting the environment for hundreds of years.
The above infographic visualizes the largest contributors of mismanaged plastic waste in 2019, based on data from a study by Meijer et al. published in the Science Advances journal.
The Largest Contributors of Mismanaged Plastic Waste
Asian countries account for the majority of global mismanaged plastic waste (MPW), and many of the top plastic-emitting rivers are concentrated in the region.
India and China are the only countries to account for over 10 million tonnes of MPW, although that could partly be driven by their sheer population numbers.
|Country/Region||MPW created in 2019 (tonnes)||% of total|
|North America 🌎||1,927,484||3%|
|DR Congo 🇨🇩||1,369,730||2%|
|South Africa 🇿🇦||708,467||1%|
Generally, the top countries in the above table are developing economies that tend to have inadequate waste management infrastructure.
The Philippines is the third-largest contributor and accounts for 37% of all MPW released into the ocean at over 350,000 tonnes per year. Solid waste management remains a major environmental issue in the Philippines. The country recently closed down 335 illegal dumpsites to encourage the use of sanitary landfills and proper waste segregation.
The three continents of North America, Europe, and Oceania together account for just 5% of global mismanaged plastic waste. However, it’s important to note that these figures do not reflect the amount of waste that is exported overseas, and many rich nations are known to export some portions of their waste to poorer nations.
The State of Plastic Waste Trade
In 2019, the Philippines famously shipped back 69 containers of dumped garbage back to Canada, joining other nations in rejecting waste from rich countries.
Until 2017, China was the largest importer of overseas plastic waste, accounting for roughly 50% of global plastic waste imports. Then, it imposed an import ban on almost all types of plastic waste, resulting in a decline in the overall global plastic scrap trade.
In 2021, global plastic waste imports were just over one-third of 2017 levels. However, countries including Malaysia, Indonesia, and Vietnam have been importing more plastic waste since China’s ban, slightly offsetting the impact.
Mismanaged Plastic Waste Per Capita
On a per capita basis, the archipelago of Comoros in East Africa tops the list. Its per capita MPW is equivalent to over 4,500 empty 500ml plastic bottles per person, per year.
|Country||MPW per capita||GDP per capita (2021, current US$)|
|Comoros 🇰🇲||150lbs (68kg)||$1,495|
|Trinidad and Tobago 🇹🇹||115lbs (52kg)||$15,243|
|Suriname 🇸🇷||86lbs (39kg)||$4,836|
|Philippines 🇵🇭||81lbs (37kg)||$3,549|
|Zimbabwe 🇿🇼||78lbs (35kg)||$1,737|
While there isn’t much information available on waste management in Comoros, it is one of the world’s least-developed nations. In fact, household consumption accounts for almost 100% of its annual gross domestic product.
Trinidad and Tobago is an outlier due to its high-income status, but a lack of waste segregation among households, alongside inefficient waste management systems, contributes to its high per capita figure.
The Impact of Plastic Waste
Plastic waste has various negative implications for the environment, especially as it can take hundreds of years to decompose.
Millions of tonnes of plastic waste flows into the oceans every year, accounting for at least 85% of all marine garbage. This poses a major threat to aquatic life because fish and other organisms can get entangled in plastic waste and ingest plastics.
On land, plastic waste threatens the quality of the soil and its surrounding ecosystem. Additionally, burning plastic waste releases toxic particles that have a detrimental impact on air quality.
If current trends continue, over 12 billion tonnes of plastic waste is expected to end up in landfills by 2050. Although recycling rates are expected to improve, increasing the availability of adequate waste management systems will be important in preventing plastic waste from entering the environment.
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