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Poll: Ontarians are interested in electric vehicles, but lack of provincial action is a barrier

In the latest round of survey work by Clean Energy Canada and Abacus Data we surveyed 1,500 residents of Ontario as the province enters a provincial election campaign. 

Key findings include:

  • 55% think climate change is a serious problem and more action needs to be taken to fight it, but only 25% think Premier Doug Ford would agree with that assessment.
  • A majority (63%) of Ontarians now believe that, when you look at the lifetime costs of a car (including maintenance, repairs, insurance and energy to power it), electric vehicles are cheaper than gas vehicles.
  • When informed that EV sales in Ontario lag the pace seen in other parts of the country, a majority are unhappy and would either like to see Ontario keep pace (28%) or lead (28%).
  • When asked what might account for lagging EV sales in Ontario, the top factors according to survey respondents are the lack of a provincial rebate and an inadequate number of charging stations.
  • Thinking about the next car they would purchase, more Ontarians now say they lean towards choosing electric (53%) than gas or diesel (47%). The preference for EVs is particularly profound among younger people.


“For many years, the fate and future of the automotive sector was a conversation that influenced politics in the province of Ontario, and now we are seeing a new phase in that conversation. Many voters want more action to fight climate change and many like the appeal of e-vehicles as a choice they can make to help protect the planet. As people see the array of e-vehicle choices coming online and hear the experiences of others, the public demand for e-vehicles is on the rise, and so too is the expectation for government policies that will help make it easier to switch from combustion engines to electric or hybrid vehicles.”

—Bruce Anderson, Chairman, Abacus Data

“Ontarians aren’t happy about their province’s poor EV performance—and rightly so. There was a higher proportion of EVs sold in the Yukon last year than in Canada’s most populous province. A lack of provincial EV policies has meant that the majority of new EVs made for the Canadian market are sent to Quebec and B.C., making it even harder for Ontarians to get behind the wheel. And with gas prices soaring, the longer the wait, the more wallets will be squeezed at the gas pump. EVs offer a popular and effective solution to both climate change and rising living costs. It’s time for the provincial government to do more to help Ontarians make the switch.”

—Joanna Kyriazis, Transportation Program Manager, Clean Energy Canada


The survey was conducted with 1,500 Ontario adults from May 5 to 9, 2022. A random sample of panelists were invited to complete the survey from a set of partner panels based on the Lucid exchange platform. These partners are typically double opt-in survey panels, blended to manage out potential skews in the data from a single source.
The margin of error for a comparable probability-based random sample of the same size is +/- 2.6%, 19 times out of 20.
The data were weighted according to census data to ensure that the sample matched Ontario’s population according to age, gender, educational attainment, and region. Totals may not add up to 100 due to rounding.


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