Study Says Electric Cars Cost Less Than Half As Much To Operate

electric car cost

FEB 15 2018 BY EVANNEX 55

electric car cost

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A common misconception is that electric cars are more expensive than their internal combustion engine equivalents. When looking at the total cost of ownership, this just isn’t the case. Furthermore, Forbes reports: “Electric vehicles cost less than half as much to operate as their gasoline-powered counterparts, according to a study of fuel costs released Thursday by the University of Michigan.”

*This article comes to us courtesy of EVANNEX (which also makes aftermarket Tesla accessories). Authored by Matt Pressman.

What were the numbers? It’s reported that, “The average cost to operate an EV in the United States is $485 per year, while the average for a gasoline-powered vehicle is $1,117, according to the study by Michael Sivak and Brandon Schoettle of Michigan’s Transportation Research Institute.”

That said, costs can vary dramatically from state to state skewing the results. However, the study notes that: “in no state is it cheaper to fuel up on gasoline,” compared to charging an electric car.

electric car cost

Instagram: learntesla

In fact, in some states, the results are especially compelling. For instance, “The difference is greatest in Washington state, where gasoline will cost that average motorist $1,338 [per year], compared to $372 to charge up.”

In addition, there are other cost savings that come with electric vehicle ownership including: “the maintenance cost for electric vehicles [which] has also been found to be lower because they have fewer moving parts, no exhaust system, less need for cooling, less abrasive braking options, and no need to change oil, fan belts, air filters, timing belts, head gaskets, cylinder heads and spark plugs.”

electric car cost

Instagram: learntesla

Forbes spoke with Harvard scientist James Anderson who came up with similar findings based on his own comparison. A noted atmospheric chemist, Anderson concludes: “Electric cars are vastly better than internal combustion devices. I mean they are incredibly fun to drive, they’re quick, fast, quiet… [and] they don’t have carbon dioxide spewing out of the back.”


*Editor’s Note: EVANNEX, which also sells aftermarket gear for Teslas, has kindly allowed us to share some of its content with our readers. Our thanks go out to EVANNEX, Check out the site here.

Source: Forbes

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55 Comments on "Study Says Electric Cars Cost Less Than Half As Much To Operate"

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And with home solar pv, operating costs along with greatly accelerated payback periods on the pv makes as low a TCO as you can get for like 30 plus years as shown here by Peter Nordby:

And when compared to the wildly inefficient H2 unicorn promoted by the resident serial anti-Tesla trolls and fool cell shills zzzz and his little mouse the numbers are even more astounding.

Exactly! We will be getting a 10.1 kW solar PV system, that will pay for itself in about 5.1 years. And it will reduce the cost of driving our EV’s by at least half, and probably 80%.

We will get much cheaper electricity (which we use for nearly everything in our house), AND we drive for a small fraction of even the highest efficiency ICE cars.

Join the club! Come on in!

You could sell your PV power for 10 cents per kWH to the grid or charge your car instead of $3 gas. The car is the best return.

And, if you add heat pumps instead of regular furnace ….

Too bad the state pushing EVs the hardest also has the highest electric prices in the country, and most of the rest of the developed world. There was a time about a year ago in which electric was nearly on par with a comparable gas car in California.

The only resort to this thievery and monopolistic behavior of the regulating authorities and power companies is going off-grid, which is thankfully getting easier and cheaper all the time.

I’m pretty certain that your state (California?) can’t match the very high electricity rates of my state, Hawaiʻi.

So you guys have 50 cents a kWh rates? last I checked you guys were in the high 30s 🙂

Thanks SDGE!

Quoting the peak rate is misleading. Do you drive around to find the most expensive gas station and when there offer to also pay for other’s people gas? Charge at 22c like everyone else in SD or even better get pv.

If you have a large house a pool and an electric car you are in the top tier for 50% of your electricity

What’s stopping you from adding pv? If you have all of that you have to have panels too. I was constantly in the top tier before adding pv, now i fill up for free.

proppo said:

“Too bad the state pushing EVs the hardest also has the highest electric prices in the country… California.”

Here are the States with the highest average prices for residential electricity; price in ¢/kWh:

30.58 Hawaii
21.90 Alaska
20.70 Connecticut
20.48 Rhode Island
19.88 New Hampshire

By comparison, California’s average price is 18.77.

I’ve also read that there is at least one market in New York State with a price for electricity above 30¢/kWh.

* * * * *

“…and most of the rest of the developed world.”

Reality check #2:

Top five international markets:

41 Denmark
35 Germany
30 Spain
29 Australia
26 Japan

DK an other EU country’s has a big difference in price of electricity for company and households.,_first_half_of_year,_2015-2017.png

The city of Palo Alto got a renewable power contract for less than 5 cents per kWh.

Yeah, but not for customers i bet…

Customers in Palo Alto use PG&E, I said the CITY, that means city buildings.

At least half of my charging is on free public chargers, so who cares what the peak rate is?

Hmmm. I live in Anaheim and electricity is $.14/khr. I calculated the crossover cost gas/elec about $2.50/gal. Since gas here is over $3.00/gal, my Volt runs exclusively on elec.

Gas is closer to 3.50 now so your Volt looks pretty god.

This all depends on the cost of electricity. The meaningful cost and CO2 emissions are those for the marginal additional generation capacity added to supply the EV.

Quoting article:

” … the study notes that: ‘in no state is it cheaper to fuel up on gasoline,’ compared to charging an electric car.”

These studies are misleading. They’re only accurate if the driver in question actually needs a new car when they buy their EV. In other words, would they have bought a new ICE if EVs didn’t exist.

While I’m sure it is usually cheaper to operate an EV, I have yet to meet an EV driver who needed a new car when they bought theirs. They all traded in or sold a perfectly working and paid off ICE, that would have lasted them at least another 5 years, for an EV that they will wind up trading in or selling early in order to keep up with the latest EV technology. Financially speaking, every EV driver I know (and I don’t live in CA so I know I’m not dealing with really high gas prices) would have been better off just keeping their ICE. In other words, they bought an EV because they simply wanted it and not because they were going to buy a new car anyway.

However, taking the larger perspective, that car sold on the used car market will find a buyer who would have bought a car anyway, so the total number of cars on the road would not increase as a result of the sale of an ICE for an EV.

Well, my Spark EV replaced a 1994 Honda Accord with over 250,000 miles (dash stopped working about three years earlier with 247,000 so I don’t know the exact mileage). So while it could maybe have been kept alive a bit longer, it would have been expensive to do so as it needed shocks, bushings, brakes, water pump and timing belt etc.

“While I’m sure it is usually cheaper to operate an EV, I have yet to meet an EV driver who needed a new car when they bought theirs.”

I suggest that says a lot more about the segment of society you live in than it does about the average car buyer.

EV forums are filled with people who talk about needing a new car, not just wanting to drive an EV. This is especially noticeable in comments from people with Tesla Model 3 reservations; a lot of them talk about what will happen when their current lease runs out, or whether or not it makes sense to keep paying for the increasingly expensive repairs on an older car, while waiting for their TM3 reservation to get to the top of the list.

Somewhere down the line, cars get scraped. It does not matter whether the original owner keeps it for 1, 3, or 8 years. If all new cars purchased were BEV’s then eventually there would be no ICEs on the road. Whoever owns the BEV, first, second or third owner, they will benefit from the lower cost of fuel.

Please allow me to introduce myself. A bit over 3 years ago I leased a 2015 Leaf for my daughter who was about to turn 16. We didn’t replace a car, we needed to add one, and I wanted to try out an EV in a relatively inexpensive way. Short story, loved it, bought it out before the lease was up, got a great deal and never pay for gas.

Because of my experience with the Leaf, I recently placed a reservation for a Tesla Model 3. My current vehicle has over 100k miles and I will replace it in about a year. Could replace it with another ICE but I ran my own TCO analysis and determined that for my use case (planning to keep the car for 8 – 10 years and put about 200k miles on it during that time) the Model 3 will SAVE ME THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS over the life of the vehicle compared to the other vehicles I was considering.

I hope my example helps change your mindset a bit.

Anecdotaly, I traded in a 10yr old paid off ICE with 130kmiles that was beginning to show its age and only a matter of time before maintenance costs were going to be excessive. Could I have made it last another 5 years? Probably. Instead I traded it in for a used EV, and my car payment is about the same as what I was spending in gas on the old ICE.

I sold a ’99 gas sucking RX to get my ev. I’m sure there are plenty in this situation.

Of course EVs have an average lower cost of ownership then ICEs. EVs, on average, are much smaller. No SUVs, trucks, large tourers, etc.

These types of studies should really normalize by the volume of the vechicle.

Dude, have you seen a Tesla? They are huge!

Supposedly, he owns a few…but to answer your question…no, he did not see a Tesla.

All Six Pretend Electrics has to do is close his eyes and think hard, to see that Tesla Model X he pretends to own! 😀

The Model X is a large vehicle.

Hey 6, weren’t you driving an X….lol. You will have to excuse him, so many lies how could he possibly remember everything.

If you read Newsmax December 2017 article on “the hidden costs of electric cars” you would believe that EVs are more expensive than gas guzzlers. BELIEVE ME CONNECT THE DOTS ON CLEAN AIR WAKE UP FOLKS

Newsmax? Let’s see what Mr. Google has to say:

Newsmax – Media Bias/Fact Check

It operates a multiplatform network focused on conservative-leaning media, including the news website, publishes the Franklin Prosperity Report and Newsmax magazine, and the cable news channel Newsmax TV. This source has a right wing bias editorial bias through reporting and wording.

So no, I do not believe that either your opinion or Newsmax’s opinion is unbiased regarding electric cars.

That’s not to say that Evannex’s opinion is unbiased, either. EVs have only half the TCO (Total Cost of Ownership) of a comparable gasmobile? That seems more than a bit skewed. I know that TCO for plug-in EVs is lower, but that much lower? I’m rather skeptical.

Thank you Pushmi

I would argue that ev’s are not a lower tco. Due to high initial cost and low resale, depreciation easily is a larger cost than fuel. For comparison my Tdi cost $22k in 2014, my bolt was $42k. The Bolt is $.02/mile fuel cost, the tdi was $.06. If both depreciate 50% in 4 years and 100k miles. There is still a huge cost of the vehicle depreciating. I would guess the Bolt will be lucky to hold 30% value.
Sure the tdi would need oil changes, but that is only $800 for the usable life. It was a manual, so brakes easily last 100k.
For the numbers. Tdi, depreciation $11,000, fuel $6000, oil changes $800 for a total of $17,800.
Bolt depreciation $21,000, fuel $2000. A total of $23,000.
That does not count the much higher cost of registration at almost $400/year since the Bolt is a much higher priced car.

You paid 42k for a Bolt?


Note that you can get a used Fiat 500e for about 6k.

You didn’t include the $7,500 tax credit.

If you are going to include the higher depreciation, it seems like you should include the tax credit and any tax/rebate benefits at the state level received by buying the Bolt.

“…my bolt was $42k… I would guess the Bolt will be lucky to hold 30% value.”

Given that you vastly overpaid for your Bolt EV — reports the average price paid at $29,720 — and that the amount of depreciation is utterly a guess on your part, your assertion here doesn’t seem to have any objective value, nor even any logical value.

Depreciation depends a great deal on which car you buy. Tesla cars hold their value much better than the average gasmobile. Leafs’ resale values drop like a rock.

But regardless of what car you buy, if you overpay for it by a whopping ~$12,000, then the depreciation is going to be a lot steeper than it will be for the average buyer.

i got my bolt right after they were released, so while I got a couple k off, it is not the current climate. If we look at used leaf prices as a guide, they are going for less than $10k today for a say $35k sell price. If the Bolt sees that level of depreciation which I expect it will, even the $7500 fed rebate won’t make up for the extra $$ of the original purchase price. We are not counting the extra yearly registration fees either. Much higher for the Bolt. Fuel is cheap today and most people don’t drive enough to really save much because fuel doesn’t cost that much. If I really wanted a cheap tco, I would have simply bought a gas Golf. I could probably get it for under $20k, get 35 mpg which would maybe be $.08/mile. I could literally throw the car away at the end of 5 years and be money ahead of buying a bolt. The difference is the Bolt is more pleasant to drive. That’s why I bought it. Trying to sell ev’s on saving the world or tco only works on a small portion of the population. Sell ev’s… Read more »

The Leaf has a huge depreciation because it has a crap battery. The Bolt appears to have a better battery. I’m talking in terms of degradation, the actually battery performance of the Leaf is actually pretty good.
It is doubtful the Bolt will have as bad depreciation compared to the Leaf because after 3-5yrs the Bolt will still have basically the same range as the new Bolt, compared to a Leaf that might have lost 1/2 it’s range.
$0.08/mi is still 4x the $0.02/mi, so an average 10,000mi per year is the difference between $800 vs $200,I think you would prefer that $600 in your pocket.
TCO is a complex thing to compare different vehicles, but one thing is for sure, plenty of people are buying EV’s where the cost of the EV is less than, or equal to, the amount they were spending on fuel. Now that is real money each month in your pocket and there is no denying that.
Maybe the sweet spot for EV purchase is 2nd hand.

It’s well and simple to figure you are going to save about 2/3 of the costs you would incur driving an ice.
Now with gas on the rise and proposals by our wonderful President on upping federal gas taxes +25c on each gallon of gas, it will be even more skewed in favor of evs.

Actually, Tesla’s used prices have dropped like a rock.

A friend of mine paid $105K for his Tesla S five years ago – the Tesla dealer recently offered him $35K on a trade-in.

How is that different than any other car? You can get 2012 7 series BMW that was 100k Eur for 25k Eur in europe right now.

Whether an electric car is cheaper or not depends on your circumstances such as where you are, and whether you have access (and desire) to use the lowest-cost charging available.

In my state – so called Downstate NY is almost never cheaper than plain old gasoline, and while in such places they offer time-of-use rates, no one would actually take them since while charging overnight would be lower cost ALL YOUR OTHER ELECTRICITY USAGE would be astronomical, – what with Super onpeak rates being over $1 /kwh during the summertime.

Europe seems to be a much better place for this article’s comparison since although the electricity is somewhat more pricey the gasoline most certainly is – being in the $6 – $10 range for a 128 ounce gallon versus usually no more than $3 in the States. Plus another consideration is in parts of large cities in the future, you simply will not allowed to drive a non-zero-emission vehicle there anyway. This is apparently driving the PHEV market in china, where the car HAS to have a zero-emission mode while in the city.

I’d like to see a State by State chart of actual electricity prices, i.e. the total price per KW including the delivery charge. I pay 21.4 cents/KW in MA, which means that it cost me about the same to run my Volt on gas or electric, about 6 cents/mile. I understand that it’s much cheaper in other parts of the country, but I don’t understand why.

In WA I pay about 12cents/kWh. There are no time of use differences. It’s cheap because most of it comes from hydropower and those dam projects were long ago paid off.

I should note that’s after delivery fees and taxes and other such stuff

Your Electricity comes from OIL and Nuclear – both high cost generators, and the Natural Gas you get is much higher priced than mine is since you get the gas through NY State and there are not enough pipe lines to both HEAT and MAKE ELECTRICITY for New England at the same time.

They keep trying to build new pipelines but New Yorkers keep protesting.

Oregon PGE power is solely renewable available and I can charge at night for . 08!