DOE Launches Nifty eGallon Calculator to Easily Compare Costs of Driving Electric Versus Gas


DOE's eGallon Cost Comparison Chart

DOE’s eGallon Cost Comparison Chart

“How much does it cost to commute to work or drive across town? The price of gasoline is posted at every corner gas station, but what about the cost of driving on electricity? The Department of Energy’s eGallon provides a quick and simple answer to this question and allows electric vehicle (EV) drivers to see how much they can save on fuel by using electricity instead of gasoline.”

“The price of an eGallon tells consumers how much it costs to drive an EV the same distance you could go on a gallon of unleaded gasoline in a similar car. It’s that simple. We take the average distance that a gasoline-powered vehicle can drive on a gallon of gas (28.2 miles for comparable 2012 model year cars), and then calculate how much it would cost to drive the average EV that same distance.”

eGallon Set to California

eGallon Set to California

“For most drivers, a trip to the fuel pump is an easy reminder of the day-to-day cost of gasoline or diesel. But for electric vehicle (EV) drivers, who typically charge their car at home, there isn’t a similar measurement to determine the cost of driving on electricity. To help both current and potential EV drivers better understand the cost of driving an EV, the Energy Department created the eGallon.”

Those are the words of the Department of Energy’s Director of  Office of Public Affairs, Dan Leistikow.

Here he’s describing the DOE’s just-launched eGallon calculator, which is a nifty tool that assists electric vehicle owners and potential buyers in comparing the cost of electricity per mile to the cost of gasoline.

Again we turn to the DOE for more explanation on how this eGallon comparison calculator works:

What is the eGallon?

“The eGallon represents the cost of fueling a vehicle with electricity compared to a similar vehicle that runs on gasoline. For example, if gasoline costs $3.60 a gallon in your state and the eGallon price for your state is $1.20, that means that for $1.20 worth of electricity you can drive the same distance as you would for $3.60 worth of gasoline.”

How is eGallon calculated?

DPE's eGallon Cost Comparison Chart Shows Stability of Electricity Prices

DPE’s eGallon Cost Comparison Chart Shows Stability of Electricity Prices

“To determine the eGallon price for each state, the Department of Energy calculates how much electricity the most popular electric vehicles would require to travel the same distance as similar models of gasoline-fueled vehicles would travel on a gallon of gasoline. That amount of electricity is then multiplied by the average cost of electricity for the state. This gives consumers a clear comparison of the cost of driving on electricity vs. a similar sized car that uses gasoline.

Why do gasoline prices swing so wildly? Does the same thing happen with eGallon prices?

“Gasoline prices are tied to the global oil market, which is driven by international events that are difficult to predict, control or prepare for. Unrest in an oil producing country on the other side of the world can drive up the price of gasoline in your neighborhood, seemingly overnight. 

In contrast, the price of electricity is determined by local markets or state utility commissions. This means that electricity prices tend to be very stable over time — creating a lot less uncertainty about fuel costs for an electric vehicle”

Click here to try out the eGallon calculator.

Follow this link to a PDF file that explains exactly how an eGallon is calculated.

Hat tip to Joan! via BMW i3 Facebook Group

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3 Comments on "DOE Launches Nifty eGallon Calculator to Easily Compare Costs of Driving Electric Versus Gas"

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Their prices are a bit off. It’s actually $4.20 for gas in Michigan, not $3.84.

Yeah, that really needs to be an editable input. Especially since gas prices are jumping around like crazy lately.

For example snce mid May, Illinois (like Michigan) has jumped 35 cents/gallon. Meanwhile prices in Minnesota have dropped 60 cents/gallon.

I like this metric in general, but it should be more customizable so people could really use it to evaluate their purchasing decisions. For example, one should be able to select whatever baseline ICE vehicle they currently own or are considering purchasing (then it pulls the fuel economy numbers from EPA data). The someone can select the specific EV they are considering (and it can pull the KW/mile number from EPA). Finally they can pick their state for kWh costs or give a specific number if they know it.

The answer can be compared to what the user knows they pay for gas per gallon (type it in, or select state average). Then the user can type miles / year driven and it will give 3, 5, and 8 year fuel savings.