About two weeks ago, a commenter on a CleanTechnica electric vehicle article who identified as a female EV owner posted an intriguing insight. She wrote that owning and driving an EV was safer for her because she did her charging at home, meaning she no longer had to drive to a gas station to get fuel. As a result of being able to avoid gas stations, she is not exposed to gas station crime.
On the surface, you might not think there is that much crime at gas stations, but if you do a little research you might be surprised at the amount. Taking a look at the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) website is revealing.
As it relates to gas station robberies in particular, the most recent FBI crime report data seems to be from 2019, so it’s obviously not very current. The total number of gas or service station robberies in the US for the year 2019 was 6,739. The same total for 2018 was a little over 7,000. For 2017, it was about 8,400. The point is the total for 2019 was not extraordinarily high. The average for the three years is roughly 7,000 gas or service station robberies per year. Though this data point is not that current, it still demonstrates there is indeed a fair amount of crime at gas stations. So, hat tip to the CleanTechnica reader and commenter.
Unfortunately, robberies are not the only crimes committed at gas or service stations. Shootings also take place at these locations. Aggregate data for the most recent fatal shootings at such sites is not all that readily available.
There is a little from quite a while ago, “Nearly two-thirds of all homicides in the retail trade sector during the 2003–2008 period occurred in two types of retail establishments: food and beverage stores (41.4 percent) and gasoline stations (22.0 percent).”
The Centers for Disease Control has some much older data which, when put into words, presents as this statement, “Workplaces with the highest rates of occupational homicide were taxicab establishments, liquor stores, gas stations, detective/protective services, justice/public order establishments (including courts, police protection establishments, legal counsel and prosecution establishments, correctional institutions, and fire protection establishments), grocery stores, jewelry stores, hotels/motels, and eating/drinking places (see Table 1).”
The CDC data is not current at all and yet it still provides some indication of the trend that there are fatal shootings at some gas stations.
Scanning the relevant recent online news is an indication despite it not being aggregate data. Here are some examples.
You get the picture. Gas station crime is real. (Who knows exactly why there is so much of it, and digging into those reasons is beyond the scope of this article.)
EV drivers are not exposed to gas station crime because they don’t frequent gas stations. About 80% of American EV charging happens at home and mostly at night. Because most driving trips in the US are short, some EV owners charge 100% at home. For work commuting, some EV drivers may be able to do all their charging without using any public EV chargers.
EV critics might try to speculate that EV drivers who occasionally use public EV chargers might get robbed or shot too. However, EV chargers don’t have attendants that take money and there are no cash registers at EV chargers. There isn’t anything to steal. Also, some EV drivers can charge in broad daylight at workplace chargers where crime is not at all likely to occur.
Electric vehicles are slowly and steadily replacing internal combustion engine vehicles. At some point, gas stations will no longer exist and the world may be a safer place when they are gone.
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