Iowa News

New Mortgages Rates Impact Housing Affordability: A Look at the Numbers

Mortgage rates have seen a sharp rise since late October, but we are still far from the historically low rates of 3% that were prevalent just two years ago. The impact of these rising rates is evident in the housing market, with existing home sales experiencing a significant decline in October.

According to Bankrate, 30-year mortgage rates reached over 8% in October, while Freddie Mac’s survey reported a 23-year high of 7.8%. These figures are more than double the rates seen in October 2021, making monthly costs too high for many potential homebuyers.

In a recent analysis conducted by USA TODAY, it was found that potential homeowners’ buying power has been cut in half in most markets over the past two years. Median family incomes in these markets are well below the amount required to comfortably service mortgages on homes at each city’s median listing price.

To illustrate this impact, let’s take a look at Des Moines, Iowa. In October, the median home list price in Des Moines was approximately $365,000, slightly below the U.S. median. However, mortgage rates in October have significantly affected the affordability calculations. The same situation can be seen across the country, according to the Atlanta Fed’s Home Ownership Affordability Monitor.

The increasing mortgage rates have outpaced the growth in incomes. While Americans’ incomes have risen about 9% since 2021, the monthly principal and interest payments on mortgages have increased by a staggering 81%, as reported by the National Association of Realtors’ affordability index.

The good news is that there are signs that mortgage rates may have peaked. In recent weeks, rates have started to slide as the consensus grows that the Federal Reserve’s policymaking committee may be done or near done raising rates. This sentiment is reflected in the expectations of investors who bet on interest rate movements.

In conclusion, the impact of rising mortgage rates on housing affordability is evident across the country. As rates continue to fluctuate, potential homebuyers need to carefully consider their options and budget accordingly to ensure they can comfortably afford their dream home.


1. How have mortgage rates changed in recent months?

Mortgage rates have experienced a significant rise since late October, but there are indications that they may have peaked and started to slide in recent weeks.

2. How has the rise in mortgage rates affected housing affordability?

The increase in mortgage rates has reduced potential homeowners’ buying power, with median family incomes falling short of the amount needed to service mortgages on homes at each city’s median listing price.

3. Have incomes kept up with the rising mortgage costs?

While Americans have experienced a 9% increase in incomes since 2021, the monthly principal and interest payments on mortgages have risen by 81%, outpacing income growth.

4. Is there hope for potential homebuyers?

There are positive signs that mortgage rates may have peaked, with rates starting to slide and expectations that the Federal Reserve may not make further policy changes in the near future.

5. What should potential homebuyers consider in light of these changes?

Potential homebuyers should carefully assess their financial situation and budget accordingly to ensure they can afford their desired home, taking into account the impact of mortgage rates on affordability.

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20 States with the Cheapest Gas Prices in the US: A Closer Look

While gas prices tend to differ from state to state and country to country, the United States stands out for its remarkably low gas prices compared to other wealthy nations. In fact, the U.S. is home to some of the cheapest gas prices in the world. In this article, we’ll explore the 20 states within the U.S. that offer the most affordable gas prices, shedding light on the factors that contribute to this phenomenon.

The primary reason behind the low gas prices in the U.S. is the country’s massive indigenous oil production, making oil and gas readily accessible and affordable for mass distribution. This abundance of local production saves American consumers an estimated $203 billion annually, equivalent to $2,500 for each family of four. Additionally, the oil and gas industry supports over 12 million American jobs, generates billions of dollars in tax revenue, and ensures energy security.

Aside from indigenous production, another key factor that contributes to the low gas prices in the U.S. is the exceptionally low gas taxes. The federal gas tax, which has remained unchanged since 1993, currently stands at 18.4 cents per gallon. This relatively low tax, coupled with the country’s efficient refining capacity, allows for affordable gas prices.

As of November 27th, 2023, the average price of gas in the U.S. was $3.535 per gallon. However, the prices vary from state to state. To determine the 20 states with the cheapest gas prices, we referred to AAA and the Energy Information Administration. Here are the states, ranked based on their gas prices as of November 29th, 2023:

1. Indiana: $3.074 per gallon
2. Oklahoma: $3.090 per gallon
3. Missouri: $3.091 per gallon
4. Louisiana: $3.148 per gallon
5. Mississippi: $3.158 per gallon
6. Kansas: $3.165 per gallon
7. Alabama: $3.173 per gallon
8. Texas: $3.182 per gallon
9. Kentucky: $3.189 per gallon
10. Arkansas: $3.194 per gallon
11. Tennessee: $3.201 per gallon
12. Minnesota: $3.205 per gallon
13. South Carolina: $3.209 per gallon
14. Michigan: $3.219 per gallon
15. Iowa: $3.224 per gallon
16. Nebraska: $3.226 per gallon
17. Ohio: $3.229 per gallon
18. Wisconsin: $3.230 per gallon
19. North Dakota: $3.230 per gallon
20. Illinois: $3.238 per gallon

By understanding the factors that contribute to low gas prices in certain states, consumers can better plan their travels and calculate their expenses. Factors such as local production, gas taxes, and refining capacity play a crucial role in determining the price of gas in each state.


1. Why are gas prices in the U.S. lower compared to other countries?
Answer: The U.S. benefits from massive indigenous oil production, low gas taxes, and efficient refining capacity, leading to affordable gas prices.

2. What is the federal gas tax in the U.S.?
Answer: The federal gas tax in the U.S. is currently 18.4 cents per gallon.

3. How does local oil and gas production impact gas prices?
Answer: Local oil and gas production in the U.S. contributes to readily accessible and affordable gas prices, saving American consumers billions of dollars each year.

4. Which states have the cheapest gas prices in the U.S.?
Answer: As of November 29th, 2023, the 20 states with the cheapest gas prices in the U.S., ranked from lowest to highest, are: Indiana, Oklahoma, Missouri, Louisiana, Mississippi, Kansas, Alabama, Texas, Kentucky, Arkansas, Tennessee, Minnesota, South Carolina, Michigan, Iowa, Nebraska, Ohio, Wisconsin, North Dakota, and Illinois.

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UNI Diving Team Set to Make a Splash at Hawkeye Diving Invitational

The UNI diving team is gearing up for an exciting competition at this year’s Hawkeye Invitational, which will take place at the Campus Recreation and Wellness Center in Iowa City on November 30th and December 1st, 2023. The event will feature the one-meter springboard competition on Thursday, followed by the three-meter dives on Friday. The preliminary rounds will kick off at 10 a.m. CT, with the finals scheduled for 5 p.m. CT on both days.

This year’s invitational will see UNI go head-to-head against formidable opponents, including Iowa, Iowa State, Coe College, and Colorado State. The competition promises to be intense as each team showcases their diving prowess and aims to secure top rankings.

Spectators who can’t attend the event in person will have the opportunity to catch live coverage of the Panthers’ performances. Dive Meets will provide online coverage, while BTN+ will offer a live stream with a subscription.

UNI’s diving season started on a high note with a dual meet against Iowa in October. Trista Thompson, in her collegiate debut, impressed with a strong performance in the one-meter competition, earning a score of 245.10. She secured a spot in UNI’s top-ten list for the event. Erica Peters also showcased her skills, claiming fifth place on the one-meter boards.

In the three-meter competition, Hannah Taylor and Abby Hutchins made their mark with third and 17th place finishes, respectively. The team’s combined efforts earned them a sixth-place finish in the team diving event.

The Panthers recently competed at the West Virginia Invitational, where they faced off against over 60 divers from the east coast. Abby Hutchins led the team in the one-meter board event, securing 17th place overall. Taylor, on the other hand, showcased her talent in the three-meter competition, finishing in 28th place.

As the UNI diving team prepares to take on their rivals at the upcoming Hawkeye Invitational, they hope to build on their previous successes and make waves in the competition.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

1. Which teams will UNI be competing against in the Hawkeye Invitational?

UNI will be competing against Iowa, Iowa State, Coe College, and Colorado State.

2. Where will the Hawkeye Invitational take place?

The Hawkeye Invitational will be held at the Campus Recreation and Wellness Center in Iowa City.

3. Will there be live coverage of the event?

Yes, the Panthers’ performances can be watched online through Dive Meets, and BTN+ will provide live streaming with a subscription.

4. How did the UNI divers perform in their previous meets?

In their dual meet against Iowa, Trista Thompson secured a top-three finish in the one-meter competition, while Hannah Taylor achieved a third-place finish in the three-meter event. At the West Virginia Invitational, Abby Hutchins led the team in the one-meter board event, and Taylor performed well in the three-meter competition.

5. What are UNI’s goals for the Hawkeye Invitational?

UNI aims to showcase their diving prowess, build upon their previous successes, and compete fiercely against their rivals to secure top rankings in the invitational.

Iowa News

Parent Arrested for Threatening School Staff in Iowa City

Iowa City police have apprehended a man after a concerning incident unfolded at Grant Wood Elementary School on Wednesday. The school was temporarily placed on lockdown following threats made by a parent inside the main office.

While authorities have not provided specific details about the incident, they have assured the public that the situation has been resolved and that the safety of the school is no longer compromised.

During the incident, the parent reportedly threatened multiple staff members while carrying a firearm. However, the individual handed the weapon to another person, who subsequently left the building with it. The district promptly responded by contacting the police, leading to the arrest of the perpetrator without any harm to students or staff.

After the arrest, classes resumed as normal for the day, and counseling services were made available to both students and staff members who may require support in processing the traumatic event.


Q: What happened at Grant Wood Elementary School in Iowa City?

A: A parent in the main office of the school threatened multiple staff members and handed a firearm to another individual who took the weapon outside the building.

Q: Was anyone harmed during the incident?

A: Fortunately, no students or staff members were harmed. The situation was resolved efficiently by the Iowa City Police Department.

Q: Did the school take any precautions to ensure safety?

A: As a safety measure, the school entered a temporary hold mode, which involved closing and locking classroom and exterior doors, as well as restricting movement inside the building.

Q: Are classes continuing as usual?

A: Yes, classes have resumed as normal for the remainder of the day following the resolution of the incident.

Q: Will there be any further investigation?

A: Law enforcement officers are currently conducting an investigation into the incident. They are on-site at the school, conducting interviews and gathering necessary details. The cooperation between the school district and the police department underscores their commitment to ensuring the safety and security of the educational environment.

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Halberstadt’s Men’s Clothiers Expands to Edina with a Luxurious Twist

Halberstadt’s Men’s Clothiers, a well-established fashion brand that has been serving the St. Cloud community since 1975, is excited to announce its expansion into Edina, Minnesota. This marks the first expansion within the state, adding to their existing locations across the Midwest. Aimed at capturing a younger audience, the Edina store will feature the innovative J.H. and Sons concept, offering a luxury Italian branded collection with a higher price point than the other stores within the Halberstadt’s portfolio.

Strategically positioned at The Galleria, Halberstadt’s Edina store strives to provide an exceptional shopping experience with a captivating narrative. President Jeff Halberstadt believes that The Galleria is an ideal location, as it has transitioned into a shopping destination for residents of the Twin Cities metro area. By catering to a wide range of shoppers, the store hopes to attract customers who previously favored downtown Minneapolis or St. Paul for their fashion needs.

Halberstadt’s Men’s Clothiers has a rich legacy, beginning with James Halberstadt and passing down through generations to Jeff Halberstadt, who now leads the company. The company took its most revolutionary step in 2014 when it introduced the J.H. and Sons concept. This move allowed Halberstadt’s to adapt to evolving fashion trends, particularly in the workplace. Jeff Halberstadt acknowledges the growing interest in elevated casual attire among professionals who still aspire to make a style statement. Consequently, the store offers an extensive casual lineup to cater to this demand.

The driving force behind Halberstadt’s success remains its ability to provide impeccable formal wear for special events, including weddings and other formal gatherings. With their expansion into Edina, the brand continues its commitment to excellence and customer satisfaction. Halberstadt’s Men’s Clothiers currently operates stores in Iowa, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, and now Minnesota.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What is the J.H. and Sons concept?
  2. The J.H. and Sons concept is an innovative idea introduced by Halberstadt’s Men’s Clothiers in 2014. It focuses on offering a luxury Italian branded collection with a higher price point, appealing to a younger audience.

  3. Why did Halberstadt’s choose The Galleria in Edina?
  4. The Galleria was chosen because it has become a popular shopping destination for residents of the Twin Cities metro area, attracting shoppers who previously frequented stores in downtown Minneapolis or St. Paul.

  5. What sets Halberstadt’s Men’s Clothiers apart?
  6. Halberstadt’s combines a rich legacy with a commitment to evolving fashion trends. They offer exceptional formal wear for special events while also catering to the rising demand for elevated casual attire in the workplace.

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Circle K Presents Fuel Day Pop-up: Save on Gas and Snacks!

Circle K, a popular convenience store chain, is all set to surprise its customers with a thrilling event called “Fuel Day Pop-up.” On Thursday, for a limited time between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m., drivers in Illinois, Missouri, and Iowa can avail themselves of fantastic discounts at participating Circle K locations.

To show their gratitude to customers during this hectic holiday season, Circle K is offering a whopping 40 cents off per gallon of gas. This is your chance to fill up your tank at a significantly reduced price! Moreover, that’s not all. You can also grab mouth-watering discounts on hot food items, satisfying your snacking needs on the go.

“We believe in creating delightful experiences for our valued customers, and what better way to do it than surprising them with unexpected discounts,” expressed Brandon Smith, VP of Operations, Circle K Heartland Business Unit. “We understand that this time of year involves a lot of travel and errands, so we want to make it a little easier and more affordable for our customers to fuel their cars and satisfy their cravings.”

In addition to the instant savings, Circle K locations taking part in the event will be distributing fuel cards that offer an extra 10 cents off per gallon on future purchases. This means you can save even more money on each visit to Circle K thereafter!

If you’re wondering where your nearest participating Circle K store is located, simply use their convenient Store Locator tool on their website. Find the store closest to you and make the most of this fantastic Fuel Day Pop-up event.

Don’t miss out on this golden opportunity to save big on gas and treat yourself to delicious snacks. Circle K’s Fuel Day Pop-up is definitely an event worth marking in your calendar!


1. How long is the Fuel Day Pop-up event?

The event will run for three hours from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

2. Which states are participating in the Fuel Day Pop-up event?

The event is taking place in Illinois, Missouri, and Iowa.

3. What discounts are available during the event?

Customers can enjoy a discount of 40 cents off per gallon of gas, as well as special offers on hot food items.

4. Are there any additional savings?

Yes, participating Circle K locations will be distributing fuel cards that provide an additional 10 cents off per gallon for future purchases.

5. How can I find the nearest participating Circle K store?

You can use Circle K’s Store Locator tool on their website to locate the nearest participating store.

Iowa News Oil

Empowering Farmers: Continuum Ag’s Vision for Sustainable Farming

Continuum Ag, an agricultural technology company, is embarking on a groundbreaking initiative to revolutionize the ethanol industry. With an estimated six billion bushels set aside for ethanol production next year, Continuum Ag aims to help the industry achieve a Carbon Intensity Score (SCORE) of over a billion bushels by 2024 through their ambitious Billion Bushel Challenge. This initiative seeks to assist one million farmers in improving soil health, thereby enhancing profitability.

By partnering with farmers, Continuum Ag endeavors to demonstrate the value of sustainable farming practices, rewarding growers who produce low Carbon Intensity (CI) grain. Recognizing the pivotal role that grain carbon intensity plays in securing Section 45Z Tax Credits for biofuel manufacturers, Continuum Ag aims to drive awareness and participation among farmers in cultivating low carbon grain necessary for biofuel production. This initiative empowers farmers by providing them with the visibility, control over their premiums, and the rewards they rightfully deserve.

Founder and CEO of Continuum Ag, Mitchell Hora, emphasizes the importance of leveraging technology to enable farmers to better comprehend the intricacies of soil health and its impact on their operations. Through their innovative approach, Continuum Ag aims to activate and encourage farmers across the country to gain a deeper understanding of their soil and utilize technology to optimize farming practices.

The Billion Bushel Challenge heralds a new era of sustainable farming, with Continuum Ag calling upon farmers to spearhead the movement. The initiative was launched with a webinar, where Chad Scebold, Continuum’s Vice President of Sales and a seventh-generation Iowa Heritage farmer, expressed his excitement about partnering with fellow farmers to capitalize on existing practices and reward them for producing low CI grain. Continuum Ag firmly believes that the time is ripe for farmers to take the lead in ensuring visibility, control, and rewards in the biofuels industry.

1. What is Continuum Ag’s Billion Bushel Challenge?
Continuum Ag’s Billion Bushel Challenge is an initiative aimed at helping the ethanol industry achieve a Carbon Intensity Score of over a billion bushels by 2024 through improved soil health practices. It seeks to empower one million farmers by providing them with the visibility, control over premiums, and rewards for growing low Carbon Intensity (CI) grain.

2. Why is grain carbon intensity significant?
Grain carbon intensity is the main driver for securing Section 45Z Tax Credits for biofuel manufacturers. By cultivating low carbon grain, farmers can contribute to the production of low carbon fuel and earn tax credits.

3. How does Continuum Ag utilize technology in their vision?
Continuum Ag utilizes technology to enable farmers to better understand soil health and implement sustainable farming practices. By leveraging innovative tools and data analysis, Continuum Ag aims to optimize farming operations.

4. How can farmers participate in the initiative?
Farmers can participate in the Billion Bushel Challenge by adopting sustainable farming practices that promote soil health and produce low Carbon Intensity grain. Through their involvement, farmers can benefit from enhanced profitability and rewards.

Iowa News

Mount Vernon City Manager Focused on Community Growth and Development

Mount Vernon City Manager Chris Nosbisch has been recognized as Manager of the Year by the Iowa City/County Management Association, but he remains committed to the future of the growing community. With plans to revitalize the downtown area, renovate a former church into a new police station, and potentially build a new pool, Nosbisch’s goal is to leave the community in a better position than when he started.

Despite his recognition, Nosbisch has no plans to leave his role anytime soon. He believes Mount Vernon is an excellent place to work and raise a family. Mayor Tom Wieseler praises Nosbisch, acknowledging that he makes him look good and that the city is lucky to have him.

One of the challenges that Nosbisch faces is being critical of his own work while others may not see the same areas for improvement. However, he continuously pushes himself and his staff to strive for excellence and not settle for mediocrity.

Infrastructure improvement in the downtown district is a major focus for the city. The downtown area is crucial to the local economy, and efforts will be made to minimize disruption during the project. Public communication and engagement with residents will be a top priority to address any potential obstacles and concerns.

The city is also considering the future of its community pool, which is in need of replacement. However, one of the main challenges is securing funding for the estimated $13 million project. Despite the cost, Nosbisch recognizes the importance of providing a recreational space that reflects the genuine character of Mount Vernon.

Overall, Nosbisch’s dedication to community growth and development is evident in his efforts to revitalize the downtown area, build a new police station, and consider the future of the community pool. Mount Vernon is fortunate to have a city manager who is committed to leaving a lasting positive impact on the community.


1. What is the role of a city manager?

A city manager is a professional hired to oversee the day-to-day operations of a city. They work closely with elected officials, implement policies, manage budgets, and ensure the efficient functioning of city departments.

2. How are city managers recognized for their work?

City managers can be recognized for their outstanding performance through various awards and honors. These recognitions often highlight their ability to apply management principles effectively and increase public awareness of the value of professional management.

3. Why is communication with residents important during infrastructure projects?

Engaging with residents and maintaining open communication during infrastructure projects is crucial to address their concerns, gather feedback, and ensure minimal disruption. It allows residents to voice their opinions, understand the progress of the project, and feel involved in the decision-making process.

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A Pioneering Energy Solution: Harnessing Iowa’s Power Potential

Iowa has long been hailed as an energy powerhouse, boasting an abundance of natural resources that set it apart from many other states. With its impressive deployment of wind and solar energy, Iowa has become a national leader, harnessing these resources to fuel a robust economy and benefit its residents. However, this success has not come without its challenges, one of which is effectively managing the surplus energy generated in the state.

Enter the groundbreaking SOO Green HVDC Link project, a visionary initiative that aims to address the issue of excess power in Iowa and strengthen the electric grid to meet the ever-increasing demand for electricity. By leveraging existing railroad corridors, the project will install a high-voltage direct current (HVDC) transmission cable, the first of its kind in the United States.

This innovative approach offers a practical solution to the problem of surplus energy, allowing Iowa to export its excess power to other regions in need. Not only will this prevent waste and maximize the utilization of Iowa’s energy resources, but it will also create new opportunities for economic growth and job creation.

The SOO Green HVDC Link project represents a significant milestone in the journey towards a more sustainable and reliable energy future. With the ability to transmit large amounts of electricity over long distances with minimal losses, HVDC technology is a game-changer in the field of energy transmission and distribution. By pioneering its use in the United States, Iowa is once again at the forefront of innovation.


Q: What is the SOO Green HVDC Link project?
A: The SOO Green HVDC Link project is an electricity transmission initiative in Iowa that aims to convey surplus power to other regions using a high-voltage direct current (HVDC) transmission cable along existing railroad corridors.

Q: How does the project benefit Iowa?
A: The project allows Iowa to effectively manage its surplus energy by exporting it to other regions, preventing waste and maximizing the utilization of the state’s resources. It also creates new opportunities for economic growth and job creation.

Q: What is HVDC technology?
A: HVDC stands for high-voltage direct current. It is a technology that allows for the transmission of large amounts of electricity over long distances with minimal losses, making it a more efficient option for energy transmission and distribution.

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Electric Vehicles: A New Political Cash Cow

After years of debate and controversy, electric vehicles (EVs) have become a significant source of revenue and employment in key swing states. While the divisive nature of EVs may not be as apparent as it is with marijuana, these vehicles have emerged as an important talking point in the current election cycle.

A recent Gallup survey revealed that the approval rate of EVs follows deep partisan lines, with significantly more Democrats seriously considering purchasing an EV compared to Republicans and independents. Currently, a small percentage of Democrats own an EV, while the ownership among Republicans and independents is even lower. Despite this discrepancy, EVs have become a more crucial source of tax revenue and employment than marijuana in swing states.

Since the passing of the historic Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) in August 2022, over $128 billion has flowed into the domestic EV and battery manufacturing sector. Interestingly, more than a third of this investment, approximately $48 billion, has gone to swing states such as Georgia, Arizona, Nevada, and Michigan. These states, alongside others like Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and North Carolina, hold immense political significance in elections.

It is worth noting that the IRA faced resistance from Republicans, with not a single Republican voting in favor of the act. However, red-leaning states have surprisingly benefited the most from the IRA, receiving more funds than their blue counterparts. For instance, the report by Climate Central highlights Iowa and Oklahoma, two states with Republican leaders, leading the nation in wind power production. Texas has also retained its national leadership in both solar and wind power. Republican-leaning states are receiving larger climate investments per capita than Democrat-led states.

The significant investments in EVs in these swing states could potentially influence political narratives in the upcoming elections. As surveys indicate a close race in some of these states, the focus on EV investments could become a crucial factor. EVs have become a cash cow for swing states, highlighting the potential for economic growth and job creation in the clean energy sector.

– Gallup Survey on EV Ownership: [URL]
– Climate Central Report: [URL]

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q: Which states have received the most investment in EV and battery manufacturing?
A: Georgia, Arizona, Nevada, and Michigan have received the most investment in EV and battery manufacturing since the passing of the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) in August 2022.

Q: How do Democrats and Republicans differ in their views on EVs?
A: A recent Gallup survey shows that a higher percentage of Democrats seriously consider purchasing an EV compared to Republicans. Ownership rates of EVs are also higher among Democrats.

Q: Are EVs a more important source of revenue than marijuana in swing states?
A: Yes, EVs have emerged as a more significant source of tax revenue and employment than marijuana in key swing states.

Q: Which states have benefited the most from the Inflation Reduction Act?
A: Red-leaning states, including Iowa, Oklahoma, and Texas, have benefited the most from the Inflation Reduction Act, receiving substantial funds for renewable energy initiatives.

Q: Could the significant investments in EVs influence upcoming elections?
A: Yes, the substantial investments in EVs in swing states could become an important talking point in the current election cycle, potentially influencing political narratives in these states.