‘They need to make this a federal offense’: EV Users Are Falling Victim to Frustrating Trend at Charging Stations Across the US

By: Lauren Fokas | Published: Jul 07, 2024

Electric vehicles have certainly been making headlines over the past several years. Many, including US President Joe Biden, believe that EVs are the future and the best possible way to save our planet from climate change.

However, not everyone is as excited about the transition from gas-powered to electric vehicles, and some people have even taken it upon themselves to vandalize EV charging stations to make their point. EV drivers are furious; one even said, “They need to make this a federal offense.”

Americans Need Every EV Charging Station They Can Get

As of February 2024, there were more than 61,000 publicly accessible EV charging stations across the United States. While that may seem like a lot, that means only 61,000 cars can be charging at any given time, and there are 3.3 million EVs on the road.

A photograph of several cars parked and plugged in at an EV charging station

Source: iStock

Therefore, each charging spot is absolutely necessary to ensure that the millions of EV drivers have the opportunity to charge their cars when they need to.

EV Vandalism Is on the Rise

Alongside the fact that there are fewer EV charging stations than the country actually needs, some Americans have taken it upon themselves to vandalize, take over, and even destroy the existing stations.

A gas-powered pickup truck is parked in an EV charging station

Source: Reddit

One of the most common ways drivers are “ruining” EV charging stations is by parking their gas cars (which obviously don’t need to be charged) in one of the coveted spots. While this may seem like a harmless crime, it takes the spot away from an EV driver who may desperately need to charge to get where they need to go.

Other Americans Are Vandalizing EV Pumps

Additionally, several cases have been reported on Reddit of Americans actually destroying EV charging stations by cutting the electric cord and removing the pump.

A photograph of an EV charging pump that has been cut in half

Source: Reddit

In fact, earlier this year, 63 EV charging cables were cut in Minneapolis alone. This form of vandalism does nothing except endanger EV drivers who are counting on those stations to ensure they have enough power in their vehicles.

Some Americans Are Making Money by Destroying EV Charging Stations

As well as parking in EV charging spots and cutting off electric pumps, some Americans have even started destroying stations and stealing the copper wiring inside. Each EV charging station holds about 65 feet 5 mm of copper wiring, which is quite valuable.

A close-up photograph of a large spool of copper wiring

Source: Freepik

Depending on the quality of the wire and how much they get, reselling the copper wiring stolen from within just one charging station would only mean a couple of hundred dollars for the burglar. So the question remains: Why are people destroying and blocking EV stations for little or no personal gain?

Why Are Americans Destroying EV Stations?

Sadly, the main reason why dozens of Americans have taken it upon themselves to destroy EV charging stations, even though they get nothing out of it, is to make a political statement.

An angry man with a megaphone at a protest

Source: iStock

The destruction of EV charging stations is meant to make a statement: Americans don’t want to transition from gas-powered to electric vehicles.


A Divided Nation: Americans and EVs

The current President of the United States, Democrat Joe Biden, believes wholeheartedly that moving America from gas-powered cars to EVs is one of the most efficient and affordable ways to combat the growing side effects of climate change. And he has created several pieces of legislation to ensure that happens within the next decade.

A photograph of President Joe Biden and candidate Donald Trump during presidential debate

Source: @MSNBC/YouTube

However, some Republicans, including former president and 2024 candidate Donald Trump, argue that Biden’s EV mandate is not only anti-American but could also be extremely detrimental to the economy.


Other People Are Attacking EV Drivers While on the Road

The destruction of EV pumps is extremely frustrating and dangerous because drivers need those stations to ensure their vehicles function. But some Americans against EVs have even taken it upon themselves to actually hurt their environmentally conscious co-patriots.

A stream of toxic smoke pollution coming out of the back of a car

Source: iStock

Coal-rolling, i.e., driving closely past EV drivers, pedestrians, or cyclists, while releasing toxic fumes from their cars has become increasingly common around the country.


Law Enforcement Is Struggling to Crack Down on EV Crimes

Many people argue that the people committing these acts need to be detained and prosecuted for their crimes. But local law enforcement agents report that it’s been extremely difficult to keep up with the vandalism of EV stations in their areas.

Two police officers escort an arrested man in handcuffs to their patrol car

Source: iStock

Over 50 of the 88 charging stations have been vandalized in Fresno, CA, and five were destroyed in Houston, Texas, just last month. In fact, hundreds of pumps have been destroyed across the country in 2024. And that doesn’t even include the other crimes like blocking the stations or coal-rolling.


Is Destroying an EV Station Actually a Crime?

Even when law enforcement are able to catch those committing these crimes, they’re not quite sure what to charge them with.

A photograph of a wooden judge’s gavel on a wooden table

Source: Freepik

Coal rolling is only illegal in six states, and blocking an EV station is only considered a civil infraction. Destroying an EV pump is illegal, but it’s not a federal offense and some states are far more lenient than others.


Crimes Against EVs Should Be Federal Offenses

Several Reddit users commented on this reality, stating that if the US federal government wants to stop anti-environmentalist Americans from destroying EV stations, “They need to made this a federal crime.”

An electric vehicle plugged into a EV charging station

Source: Freepik

Another noted, “This is nothing short of an attack on America’s critical transportation infrastructure. Copper thieves and vandals need to be arrested and prosecuted with severe felony charges. It’s just a relatively few perpetrators but they do severe damage and prison is where they need to be.”


Denying the Changing Climate Is Futile and Dangerous

Denying the fact that climate change is happening right now is not only futile, it’s also dangerous.

A digital illustration of planet Earth sitting on a dried lake bed, signifying climate change

Source: Freepik

There is no doubt that electric vehicles can help save the planet we live on; fighting against them won’t help anyone. But sadly, that truth won’t stop people from destroying EV stations in the name of politics, only cracking down on the prosecution of these crimes will do that.