Fifty-five percent of California drivers “are likely to consider an electric vehicle (EV) in their next vehicle purchase or lease,” according to a new survey conducted by the Union of Concerned Scientists, an advocacy group of scientists and engineers, and Consumers Union, the policy and advocacy arm of Consumer Reports.

The survey also shows that 65 percent of respondents in California have an interest in electric vehicles and their technology, and that same percentage would like to see more electric options, from sedans to SUVs to minivans.

While 55 percent of drivers in nine Northeastern states say they have interest in EVs and their technology, fewer there are thinking of buying or leasing one. Just 35 percent of drivers in Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Vermont, New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania are likely to consider buying or leasing an electric car for their next vehicle.

The survey was taken in April of 1,213 randomly selected licensed drivers in California and the nine northeast states.

The poll focused on these geographic areas because California is a leader in electric vehicle sales thanks in part to its California Zero Emission Vehicle program, which, according to the California Air Resources Board, “is designed to reduce emissions from all sources of mobility.” CARB also has set stricter emission standards than the Federal Clean Air Act. And California’s moderate climate is better for electric-vehicle range, which is affected by both extreme cold and heat.

The nine Northeastern states have adopted California’s stricter emissions standards, which is why drivers there also were surveyed.

“There’s a real market opportunity for automakers to offer electric vehicles to the millions of California consumers who are ready to go electric,” says Shannon Baker-Branstetter, policy counsel for Consumers Union.

While California is the undisputed EV sales leader, with 200,000 such vehicles sold to date, plug-in cars only represent 3 percent of the new-vehicle market in that state. This low percentage may be partially because of a lack of knowledge regarding EVs. For instance, the survey showed more than three-quarters of California drivers weren’t aware of the state and federal tax credits available to EV buyers—which together could drop the vehicle’s price by more than $10,000.

Survey respondents cite a number of concerns about owning an EV, giving a glimpse into why electric vehicles have a low market penetration. The top reasons for their hesitation were the lack of charging stations where they travel, the perceived high cost of EVs, and the concern that an electric vehicle can’t travel far enough on a full charge.

2016 Chevrolet Volt electric vehicle

Growth could be a bit more difficult in the Northeast, where fewer EVs are available for sale, both in terms of the actual models and total numbers. Even if there are fewer types to choose from, more EVs need to be on dealer lots—borne out by the fact that 88 percent of respondents say they wouldn’t buy a vehicle without first taking it for a test drive.

Further hampering growth is that consumers in the Northeast aren’t well informed about EVs. The survey shows many were unaware they could charge an EV on a regular home outlet, that EVs reduce oil use, or that EVs are often cheaper to operate than a gasoline-powered vehicle.

“With better vehicle availability and consumer awareness, automakers could serve the millions of Northeast consumers who are open to going electric,” says Baker-Branstetter.

Consumer Reports’ surveys have shown that those who buy EVs are generally quite happy with them, with ownership satisfaction of the Tesla Model S at 97 percent, the Chevrolet Volt at 82 percent and the Nissan Leaf at 76 percent.