All-electric vehicles might be more expensive initially, but once purchased, they bring significant cost savings over internal combustion engine (ICE) counterparts.
According to the Department of Energy (DOE)’s Vehicle Technologies Office, if we compare 2022 model year light-duty vehicles, it turns out that the difference between various vehicles might be thousands of dollars, assuming mileage of 15,000 miles (24,000 km) per year.
BEVs below $1,000/year (at 15,000 miles)
Battery-electric vehicles are the absolute king in terms of energy costs, as all models had annual fuel costs of less than $1,000, regardless of type.
In the case of plug-in hybrids, things are more complex, because a lot depends on the all-electric range, and use case - one driver might be using a PHEV mostly in EV mode, while another one rarely uses the electric range. Some of the PHEVs are also sports cars with an electrified powertrain, so they are usually performance-oriented. Because of that, there is a higher variation in the results.
Assuming EPA fuel economy data, plug-in hybrids and conventional hybrids (non-rechargeable) are the only types with an annual energy cost (electricity and fuel) in the $1,000-$2,000 range. However, many of them are above $2,000 annually.
The annual fuel cost for ICE vehicles starts above $2,000, and varies vastly between $2,000 and $7,000, depending on type and fuel (gasoline, diesel, E85).
Interestingly, the biggest differences between vehicles are in the small car category - because it contains ultra-efficient small cars, as well as luxury sports cars with low fuel economies, according to the report.
Annual Fuel Cost for Model Year 2022 Light-Duty Vehicles
"Each dot represents a base model and is an average cost for all certified configurations of that model. Two models in the small car category exceed $7,000 and are not shown."
"Notes: Assumes 15,000 miles of travel each year, with 55% city driving and 45% highway driving, and fuel costs of $4.87/gallon for regular unleaded gasoline, $5.76/gallon for premium, $5.72/gallon for diesel, $3.54 for E85 and $0.13/kWh for electricity. USD = U.S. dollars.
Sources: Graphic created by Brennan Borlaug, National Renewable Energy Laboratory.
Data: U.S. Department of Energy and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Fuel Economy data, accessed May 5, 2022."