Cost Of Electricity Worldwide; Which Countries Are Electric Vehicles The Cheapest To Operate?

4 years ago by Jay Cole 24

While The Average kWh Goes For Around 12.5 Cents In The US, That Figures Varies Wildly By State

While The Average kWh Goes For Around 12.5 Cents In The US, That Figures Varies Wildly By State

It is a given that plug-in cars are much cheaper to “fill-up” than their gas counterparts.

However, the question of “how much does it cost me to drive electrically” is usually understood on an individual basis regionally, as electricity costs across the US fluctuates wildly.  Worse still by country.

As an example inside the US – the cheapest electricity on average in the US could be found in Washington at 8.87 cents per kWh, while Hawaii is naturally top of the mountain at 36.61 cents, and California checks in at 16.71 cents.  The US national average is currently 12.61 cents. (You can find your home states average price here)

It Costs About $6.50 To Drive 100 Miles In A Tesla Model S In America

It Costs About $6.50 To Drive 100 Miles In A Tesla Model S In America

In simpler terms, if you drive a 2013 Nissan LEAF (or any of the other cars rated around 115 MPGe), you are going to pay around $3.50 cents on average to travel 100 miles – $2.50 in Washington, $10 in Hawaii and a little under $5.00 in California.  If you happen to drive a Tesla Model S you probably don’t really care it costs about 30% more per mile to operate than a LEAF.

So, what about the rest of the world?  The good folks at Shrink That Footprint have put together a handy chart so we can all get a little perspective.

Nutshell:  Denmark – not so good.  India, China and Canada – pretty cheap.

Electricity Costs Are About 525% higher In Denmark As Compared To India

Electricity Costs Are About 525% higher In Denmark As Compared To India

On average in Denmark it costs about $12 to drive 100 miles in a LEAF, $14.50 in a Chevy Volt, $15.50 in a Model S.  (Mind you Danes do pay about $8.25 per gallon on average at the pump)

Thankfully, STF goes us one better and works out the numbers based on US dollars purchasing power parity amongst the countries to give us a little more prospective; surprisingly Germany comes up last – Canada first:

All Things Being Equal, Canada Actually Comes Out On Top For Cheap Energy

All Things Being Equal, Canada Actually Comes Out On Top For Cheap Energy

EIA, Shrink That Footprint

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24 responses to "Cost Of Electricity Worldwide; Which Countries Are Electric Vehicles The Cheapest To Operate?"

  1. David Murray says:

    To make this more relevant, there should be a graph showing the disparity in cost per mile between electricity and gasoline. Many of the countries listed with high electric costs also have high gasoline prices.

    1. scottf200 says:

      Excellent suggestion!

    2. Surdas says:

      Good idea! In Canada, where I am, electricity is cheaper (on average) than the US and gas is substantially more expensive (4.60-5.00/gallon at the moment where I am). Unfortunately, EVs (and other cars) cost substantially more, so I guess it gives you the incentive to drive the crap out of it.

  2. kdawg says:

    I thought we recently learned not to break down electricity costs by states and use markets instead? FYI the rate for Michigan is higher than I pay (9cents/kWh), so they must have used Detroit #’s or possibly a state avg?

    http://esm.versar.com/pprp/ceir16/Images/Figure3_4.jpg

    1. kdawg says:

      Sorry, the article i was thinking of was talking about how “dirty” electricity was and breaking it down by state, which is wrong.

  3. kdawg says:

    Here’s a more detailed US electricity rate map.
    (and you can search by zip codes here http://en.openei.org/wiki/Gateway:Utilities)

    http://en.openei.org/wiki/File:2012_12_14_Electricity_Price-01.jpg

    1. Jesse Gurr says:

      I don’t know how accurate that is when you search by zip code. It is telling me I am paying 4 cents less per kWh than I really am.

      1. Bill Howland says:

        Yeah, this is at best Generalized information, but I appreciate Jay Cole providing it since it is somewhat difficult to find even the generalizations.

        NYC swamps 95% of NY state since it says my marginal cost (assumedly – I would hope they’d factor out billing charges and taxes on those charges, but then again maybe not – sometimes in the spring and fall I use so little electricity that my meter reading charge is a substantial part of my bill and if you divided the total bill by the amount of kwh used, (even with 2 ev’s to charge) then I would pay close to 20 cents per kwh, when my marginal cost is 12. 5 miles from me, a neighboring utility charges 10 cents for every additional kwh, and their time-of-day pricing is a considerable saving on top of that. My utility also offers TOD, but the savings are so trivial less than 0.1% of residential customers bother. If you call them, they’ll say, “Nobody uses this, just use the plain untimed rate, unless you’re a large electric heat customer”..

        Any surprise or skepticism I have about the worldwide info was, I was under the impression electric rates rose 35% in Japan after 2011 since only 2 of their formerly 52 Nuclear reactors are currently running. Besides becoming a large power user instead of generator (the plants have to have circulation pumps running to dispel the decay heat from everywhere), they have to import a large amount of fossil fuel (and pay lots of Yen for it) to make up a portion of what they’ve lost since March 2011.

        France is also much more than I would have thought, 14 cents I think is the figure Laurant Masson gave for Paris. (You’d think European cities, what with the extra cost of buried lines, would charge more in the city centers). Being around 80% nuclear I would have thought the cost would have been somewhat less, though not as cheap as unencumbranced coal fired plants, or hydro power, for instance.

        1. Jay Cole says:

          Indeed you are right Bill, we were just shooting for some broader strokes with this story…especially for the weekend.

          I think sometimes we get a little ‘too technical’ with stories – multi-standard chargers, production of lithium nickel oxide, etc., lol. and need to take a step back and offer some articles for the wider, perhaps a little less informed audience.

      2. Bill Howland says:

        Yeah Jesse, I checked the link for utilities around New York State also. The prices seem quite low, for instance, they say Manhattan is under 15 cents/kwh and Long Island is 9. Since these are the highest prices in the state supposedly, how would you come up with over 20 cents for the main chart? I think they are just including delivery charge and not including energy charge.

  4. Bill Howland says:

    Looking at this chart is very interesting.

    For instance, people wonder why I (along with “Clean Cities”, for instance) also like Compressed Natural Gas. While I hate Horizontal Hydrofracking due to the great environmental damage it does, since most electricity in the US is made by Natural Gas or, in my state – Nuclear, retail $.0282 per kwh compared to $.12 for electric. So its under 1/4 the cost. As cheap as an EV is to run in the spring and fall (about 1/3 the price of gas), a CNG car would be even cheaper. And environmentally in the winter time, you’d use much much less natural gas by using it directly in the car (where you take advantage of the otherwise wasted heat to defrost the windows) than using the electric heat in the Volt and using Natural gas at the power plant. I estimated the difference elsewhere, and its considerable, something on the order of 1/8 the natural gas used for the cng car, than running the volt charged with a Natural Gas fired plant in my area, unfortunately, where none of the waste heat is recovered thru a cogeneration plant, (i.e. no hot houses nor factories or refineries colocated to make use of the otherwise wasted heat),

    Too bad they don’t sell “Utility Steam” in my area to let customers try using the heat for useful purposes (heating, water heating, snow melting, adsorbtion air conditioning) instead of throwing it unused in the river.

    1. kdawg says:

      Couple more maps.

      Nuclear plants in the US (no the red dots are not future Tesla Nuclear Supercharging Stations).
      http://www.world-nuclear.org/uploadedImages/org/info/Country_Profiles/Countries_T-Z/us_nuclear_map.jpg

      And gas fracking stites.

      1. Bill Howland says:

        HI Kdawg,

        Thanks for the info.

        Californians can breathe a bit easier knowing that San Onofre (SONGS), out of serivce since january 2012 is scheduled to be decommissioned.

        Chrystal River in fla is another never to operate again. Vermont Yankee will be shut down next year after its fuel is depleted.

        Here in Buffalo I have more worry from the old Pickering and Darlington CANDU nuclear plants around Toronto than I do anything in the States.

        Many Canadians are under the impression their environmental laws are stricter than the States. Totally untrue, for instance, since Candu reactors emit very high levels of Tritium, the Canadian standard for it is tolerance of 10 times what the (in my mind) Lax USA standard is.

        One thing about the Natural Gas chart. These are for perfectly safe conventional wells, not the VERY environmentally dangerous Horizontal Hydrofracking currently banned in NY State (although we still get radioactive waste water from pennsylvania DUMPED in our state through a loophole in the law.)

        1. pjwood says:

          Bill,

          This post highlights a strong aversion to anything conventional. Is 500PPM CO2 safer than hydrofracture, or tritium? CA was .7% solar watts last year. When you take such positions, you imply we can either turn a lot of lights off, or magically come up with alternatives. How do you get practical?

          1. Bill Howland says:

            Its an unpopular view on this blog, but Global Warming has, sorry to say, proven to be a scam.

            Carbon Dioxide (It’s as much Carbon as Oxygen is to Water) is one of the building blocks of Life, and its currently at such a tiny percentage of the atmosphere (something like 400 ppm) that its a miracle plants can suck it out of the air. Its not toxic in normal concentrations anymore than pure water is in normal concentrations. Increasing to 4000 ppm (ten times) makes the most delicate flower flourish..

            This year (2013), the Arctic Ice Extent has increased by 929,000 square miles (about 19 manhattan islands, or if you discount the buildings, about 50 of them).

            The 60 plus ‘proven’ computer models have not forecast this. Not one of them. Thats no track record to brag about.

            20 Yachts were frozen in the Ice, and one cruise ship turned back since everyone was sure there was going to be an Arctic Northwest Passage, as there was, for instance, 100 years ago. Tough luck this year.

            The real “Climate Deniers” have been those caught fudging data, and not reporting that there has been no world wide temperature increase in 16 years. Meanwhile, Al Gore has been made rich beyond his wildest dreams by selling Carbon Credits..

  5. Spec says:

    Such cost maps are misleading because you can get much lower rates by using special Time of Use rate plans, special EV rate plans, or by installing solar PV at your home.

  6. Spec says:

    How the heck is Australia so expensive? They’ve got massive amounts of coal that I thought they were burning.

  7. ItsNotAboutTheMoney says:

    11.90 to 32.49? WTF! I’m sorry, but somewhere in that range it crosses over to “it’s cheaper to drive a Prius” so you should be breaking that up.

    For example, in Maine, ignoring fuel taxes and generously using an underlying $3/gal gives you something like 6c/mile at 50mpg. Using a conservative, winter-state adjusted 2.5mi/kWh gives you 15c/kWh as break-even. The standard electricity price for the majority of people in Maine is currently $13.718, now with 5.5% tax on use over 750kWh in a billing month, so even marginally it’s only 14.47c/kWh. But there’s a TOU supply option available which would make marginal cost significantly cheaper overall, with the off-peak rates being no more than 0.2c/kWh more expensive in two winter months, cheaper in the other 10 months and at least 1.8c/kWh cheaper in 7 months. Given that we don’t have a plug-in, but we’re on TOU anyway and it’s saving us money it seems pretty obvious to me that lumping Maine in with other states is meqna.

    1. pjwood says:

      1.8 cpkwh is no great shakes cheaper than your base rate. Most off-peak I can say anedotally, amounts closer to about 5 cents off. A very limited group of MA Wholesale (public) customers, with share in the Seabrook NH nuclear plant, pay 4-5 cents all-in versus north of 10 cents on-peak. The entire NEPOOL (ME, MA, NH, VT), or other areas for that matter, will see compression in off-peak and peak pricing when events like Vermont Yankee shutting down ocurr. Good or bad for the environment, the economics of nuclear running 24/7 explain a good part of the peak/off-peak price spreads. Hydro and wind follow close behind. Even solar serves to blunt the peak price.

      Consider, too, that natural gas in CCGT, or simply CT (combustion turbine) are much closer to “as-needed” technologies. Growth in their use will also serve to compress the peak/off-peak spread. A lot going on, before battery storage arbitrage goes away. This is about the future.

  8. ItsNotAboutTheMoney says:

    I’d also add that average electricity price is one thing, but we really need to see off-peak rates and the fuel prices for the different countries because it’s the differential that matters.

  9. Francis L says:

    Quebec is a part of Canada where EV are really cheap to use compare to ICE. Electricity is 95% hydro, and cost around 7 cents/kWh. Gas, on the other hand, is much more expensive : around 1,40$/L (or 5,30$ per gallon). You also get a rebate of 8000$ when you purchase an EV.

  10. pjwood says:

    The disparity of rates is much bigger than this. I wonder why EIA would provide such a graph when millions of Bonneville Power customers pay less than 7 cents per kwh in the Pacific Northwest? And covering 11.9-32 cents per kwh, in one block, similarly takes a great leap. I don’t think there is anyplace in the CONUS where utility rates, and I stress, AVERAGE, 32 cents per kwh. I challenge anyone to come forward with such a residential rate. Including HI, wildly skews that last block, while excluding over-night rates and hydro rich pockets under represents just how cheap electricity is. I am talking about all-in delivery, and energy charge, rates. whatsmypower.org is one access point where anyone can see for themselves how cheap rates can be.

    The broad distribution of electricity prices is one of the biggest untold stories about EVs.

    1. Bill G. says:

      Even in California, off-peak power can be gotten for about 3.8 cents/kwh, which for me translates to less than 1 cent per mile! This may change, especially as nuclear plants are shut down permanently, as they are the most likely to be run full-blast at night when power is needed the least. This generates mixed feelings in me about those nukes.

      1. Bill Howland says:

        The problem with Nuclear Power. is that It can be made cheap, and it probably can be made safe, but not both at the same time.

        When I was a kid they’d always go on about Nuclear Power being as radioactive as your wristwatch, when they’d lie about daily tritium and noble gas radioactive releases necessary for the operation of the plant. The Atomic Energy Commission Chairman, of course, was never called to back up his statement that Nuke power would be “Too Cheap to Meter”.

        Fukushima’s 3 “China Syndromes” remind us that Nuclear can have 40 perfect years, and 1 bad day.

        WE can relax, because there are only 23 General Electric Mark I and II reactors in this country, of the same type and brand that caused the worst industrial accident of all time in Japan.