Skip to content
Subscriber Only

In LA, Electric Ubers Stick to Affluent Neighborhoods

A dearth of downtown charging options means income inequality makes for air quality inequality.

A Tesla Charging Station Ahead Of Earnings Figures
Photographer: Nina Riggio/Bloomberg

In Los Angeles, Teslas tend to snooze in the affluent canyons and beach neighborhoods, ringing the city’s urban center like celebrity mansions. Most of the public charging plugs for those expensive electric vehicles, understandably, have been built nearby.

Of course, there are plenty of less affluent EV pilots driving for Lyft, Uber and similar ride-hailing services. But it turns out, those drivers typically follow the plugs to tony zip codes. That leaves gas-powered wheels in the fleet with a greater share of the trips in the city’s poorer neighborhoods, exacerbating the emissions equivalent of haves and have-nots. In this case, air quality, to some extent, has become a mirror of income inequality.