Find Out How Much It Costs To Charge Tesla Model 3


One of the biggest considerations when buying a new car is how much it will cost to “fuel” it, so here’s an idea of what that might look like for the Tesla Model 3.

YouTube vloggers Zac and Jesse from NowYouKnow have been driving their Model 3 for several months now, so they have a good idea about how much it has cost them to keep it charged. In fact, they’ve been putting together informative Model 3-related videos since just about the first day they received the car. The nice part is that their videos are short, to the point, and easy-to-understand, especially for those that are new to the segment.

Related: Tesla Quietly Jacks Up Supercharging Rates In U.S.

Red Tesla Model 3 SuperchargingFor those that don’t know the process, the guys take you through exactly how to figure out fuel costs. They use an Audi A4 for the ICE portion, since its pretty comparable to the Model 3 in many ways. Their quick math (because the calculations for an ICE car are pretty straightforward) puts its fuels costs at $933 per year.

You’ll need a much bigger napkin to figure out the math for the Tesla Model 3. This is because you have to deal with MPGe and kWh, etc. While this info is old hat for long-time EV owners, the general population probably needs some coaching. Fortunately, NowYouKnow does a stellar job of making sure that this information is crystal clear.

Anyhow, in the end, the Model 3 costs as little as $231 and as much as $636 to travel the same amount of miles as the gas-powered Audi. This is because electricity rates vary geographically. Taking an average, they figure a savings of $558 per year. They also briefly touch on off-peak rates and how to figure out Supercharging costs.

Keep the conversation going on our Forum. Start a new thread about this article and make your point heard.

Video description via NowYouKnow on YouTube:

On this episode, Zac and Jesse do the math to find out how much it will cost to charge your Tesla Model 3! Now You Know!

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67 Comments on "Find Out How Much It Costs To Charge Tesla Model 3"

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Only beacuse there is a Fuel tax. Let everyone drive electric there will be an electricity tax and savings will be 0 or worse

Except when you live in a state that charges an EV surcharge. I have it in MN, I know it’s in Oregon and Georgia.

And oh, I already pay a tax on my electricity, thank you very much.

ICE plant.

Your electricity tax doesn’t go to road upkeep. As the transportation section moves to EVs, states will need to implement mandatory annual inspections (if they don’t already) and this will allow for an annual road tax assessment based on actual miles driven.

My state (and most, if not every state) pulls money out of the General Fund to fund the gap between gas tax income and road work expenditures. The sales tax on my electricity goes into the General Fund which is then used to repair/build roads.

EVs already are taxed on their “fuel” and that money pays for road work through the General Fund. To claim otherwise is either disingenuous or an honest mistake. I hope it was an honest mistake and I hope I have provided good information.

Actually many states (if not most) do not do what yours does. Some unfortunately do the opposite, siphoning off gas tax revenues to supplement shortfalls in general revenue (I’m looking at you Kansas). It all depends on how the state’s law is written.

The only thing that is consistent across all states right now is that there is no tax on electricity specifically set aside to fund infrastructure. As EVs go mainstream this will likely happen. Or there will be a simple annual tag fee to replace the gas tax, but I wouldn’t count on it. Whatever solution seems simple and logical is likely the one government will reject.

I know the Tesla-driving legislator who pushed for the EV license fee in Minnesota. It’s based off a national average of driving. I am spending more on taxes to drive my car in Minnesota than I am on the electricity to drive it. Even more if you count the sales tax on said electricity.

Of course, we keep electing politicians who focus on increasing state revenue through higher taxation.

Incorrect. There is no state where gas tax & vehicle registration is sufficient to fund the road infrastructure. All states use federal money for road upkeep, and all states and especially localities use general funds for roads. Without exception.

The best proposal I’ve seen for road taxes is to do it all by tire. Since road damage isn’t just a factor of miles driven, but weight (most important factor) and number of tires, it accounts for the most variables in a pretty fair way.

However none of the taxes properly account for localities. Some roads are federally maintained (really only those through the NPS) some roads are state maintained with federal money, some roads are state maintained with state money, some roads are county, some are city/township/borough/other locality.

Most of these funds come from taxes that have absolutely nothing to do with transportation.

Spreading the money around properly is non-trivial.

If you tax by tires sold, the outcome will be dangerously worn tires on the road as people attempt to get the most out of their tax dollar. You can’t move transportation tax to tire sales without also adding mandatory regular tire inspections.

The easiest and fairest way to do it is by manufacturer-specified gross vehicle weight rating, paid at yearly registration.

So the 1-ton truck I’ve got sitting behind the shed that pulls the camped to the lake once a year will cost the same as the guy who drives the same truck to work and back every day?


Best solution is toll roads everywhere with tolls based on weight. That way the money is collected where it’s needed.

As usual, you know jack!
Let the gasoline price be truly free and see the difference increase even more. Some states already charge or plant to start charging the road tax through registration. Bottom line, it’s cheaper to fuel on eletrons so get your head out of the sand.

It all depends on the cost of the electricity per unit (typically $/kwh) and the average miles per kwh (input kwh to account for charging losses, typically 10 to 20% for AC charging at home or level 2) for the EV and the cost of gasoline per unit (typically US gallon) and the average miles per gallon. Depending on the vehicles compared and the above noted costs and consumption it is by no means the case that the EV is always cheaper to “fuel”. If you simply use your home electricity in the S.F. bay area where I live (and where there are many EVs) to charge your EV and have the standard E-1 electricity service you will typically pay $.30 to $.40 per kwh input. Meaning $.09 to $.14 per mile. In your prius or Ioniq averaging say 45 real world mpg and gas here at a high $3.40/gallon you’ll be paying about $.075/mile. At the EV go charging station near me (where I get “free” charging with my lease) the can be even per kwh can be even higher although it is very obscure because the charge (for paying customers) by time connected or time connected (a lower… Read more »

Do you and your other clones posting on this web constantly search for the most expensive gas to fill up your trucks? The premise that you pay 40c in SF to charge your ev is just laughable! I’m in SoCal so you don’t have to explain these kind of things to me, unlike you I actually live in CA. I can charge at 40c too if i want to but why? On the PG&E website they have the ev rate listed at 15c, mine here is 14c. Before i got my pv and was on a regular plan i was charging at 19c anytime. If you want to do a fair comp do it between identcal cars like the Golf and eGolf (what i drive daily) and do it at a price that most people pay for charging and you will see that in CA the difference can get up to x3 depending on which plan you use. Keep trolling.

It’s simple math and the EV still saves money.

They article claims that the Model 3 costs as little as $231 and as much as $636 to travel the same amount of miles as the comparable gas car which costs $933.

In GA they charge me $206 a year to drive an EV. For 12,000 miles that’s like paying gas tax driving a large SUV which isn’t exactly fair but for this math it doesn’t really matter.

So with the exorbitant GA EV tax it still costs only $437-$842.

Really fun when the STATE Government attempts to give an Incentive to a GAS Vehicle, so that the state gets MORE POLLUTED with higher illness generally and specifically higher Asthma rates, and therefore Higher Healthcare costs.

Especially when it follows closely after a repeal of a state tax incentive of $5,000 that they quickly pulled when it became clear it was becoming popular and people were actually buying EVs by the thousands.

Your comparison of the GA fee to the gas tax paid by a large SUV only works if you ignore the federal gas taxes paid by that SUV. When you add the federal gas tax that SUV pays almost double the tax annually that you pay for the annual EV fee. And that’s for 12k miles per year. As miles go up the gasser pays more and more tax, while the EV fee stays the same.

I’m a former Leaf owner in GA and hopefully a future model 3 owner, and I don’t mind paying the fee because we use the infrastructure and we need to help pay for it.

Ok then let’s look at it like this. A 2018 regular Toyota Camry gets a combined 34 mpg.

Federal gas tax is $.184 a gallon. 12,000 miles/34mpg = 353 gallons x $.184 = $65

GA gas tax is now $.31 a gallon. 353 gallons x $.31 = $109

So a typical car like a Toyota Camry pays a total of $174 a year in gas tax compared to my much cleaner EV at $206. That’s still not close to being fair. Put a gas Prius into the equation and an EV pays double.

I applaud you for looking to buy an EV but let’s make sure we don’t incorrectly rationalize our legislators’ actions on EV taxes when the math doesn’t add up. EV infrastructure taxes need to be about half of what they are now.

In reality as EVs gain popularity they need to switch over to one system for all light duty vehicles rather than have two sets of rules.

And I could change the math based on 15k miles instead. Or based on a V6 Camry that gets far less than 34 mpg combined. Heck the way traffic is in Atlanta the average 4 cylinder probably gets less than 34 mpg. The point is there are way too many combinations to make all of them make sense. The legislators had to pick a number so they did. Oh and life’s not fair, thinking it is will only disappoint you.

I totally agree that eventually we need to get to one way of doing it across all vehicles. How long that takes is anyone’s guess.

They wanted to try to penalize EVs. Don’t buy into the propaganda justifications.

Once again, the non spelling Jack *#@& proves he is not just an anti-Tesla POS troll like MadBro–he is an all around anti-EV troll on InsideEVs.

What losers these Koch Roaches are!

Missouri has an alternative fuel tax of $75 yearly for passenger EVs. (This whether you drive 100 miles or 100,000.) So yes, we pay our share already.

Don’t bother…trolls will be trolls. Even CA will have it starting 2019. They all will.

“According to a 2015 estimate by the Obama administration, the US oil industry benefited from subsidies of about $4.6 billion per year.[29] A 2017 study by researchers at Stockholm Environment Institute published in the journal Nature Energy estimated that nearly half of U.S. oil production would be unprofitable without subsidies.”

Take that away, then let’s talk about the real cost of gas in America.

Put half a dozen solar panels on your roof and offset the cost of your car while doign something for the planet!!

leave it in the ground

Maybe, it’s nice to know that in the Netherlands and some other countries in the EU, you can triple the ICE fuel costs, mentioned for the Audi A4.

And double it in Canada!

I don’t think that it’s fair to say that ICE pricing is a simple $933//yr and EV is hard to calculate.
Fuel prices change daily, at each store, and seasonally. AAA indicates that we’re 11% higher today than last year.

My leaf shows 4.1 miles/kWhr. At my EMC in GA, the blended yearly rate is $0.09. That’s $263. Add the GA $200 tax and that’s $463 for 12,000 miles.

Yes, gas prices fluctuate a bit and it’s different in many markets. But still, it had been pretty solid lately at ~$2.30-3.50 per gallon depending on geographic location. That’s just an average, which is what’s needed and accepted for making a comparison. Electricity rates are hugely different from market to market as well, so we have to estimate based on the current situation.

RE: “Huge”

It’s someplace cold, where gas is $2.50/gal and you have $.24/KWh, where “fuel” breaks-even, depending upon what you drive. The upper extreme.

Then, in more temperate WA state, there’s Douglas County PUD’s all-in $~.03/KWh rate. It shows if you are selective with geography, the electricity price gap isn’t <3X, from low to high. It's closer to 10X, which is truly "Huge" for something as undifferentiated as watts.

No ICE compares to 4KWh/mi BEVs, like Model 3, Leaf, i3, Bolt, etc. In the above utility district, 12.5k miles would cost these car owners <$100 per year. This is also where people take computers, to mine bit coin.

..s/b 4 mile/KWh, not 4KWh/mi. Who is that other Pjwood1 😉

Vancouver, Canada, $7.25 CDN for a CDN gallon

Just as a note gas prices fluctuate around the country as well. The price for gas in California is almost $0.40 more then here in NH.

Leasing the BMW i3, fuel savings make 2 of my lease payments.

And if you’re looking for a deal.
A used BMW i3 will literally pay for itself in Fuel Savings.

Currently (pun intended) it is clear than driving an EV saves between 25-75% on “fuel costs” vs a comparable ICE vehicle, BUT this superficial summary of savings DOES NOT include the additional savings on upkeep and maintenance costs. I now have 54,000 miles on my Tesla Model S, and it has not had ANY regular upkeep/service cost (Yes, I have installed a new set of tires at 49,800 miles, and since I do not have the costly “performance” tires that tire change was $940 total). If one is going to compare “running costs” for an EV vs an ICE, it seems absolutely necessary to also factor in the additional service costs required to maintain an ICE vehicle (oil changes every XXXX miles, anti-freeze, possible spark plugs and certainly TUNE-UPs every XXXX miles). Further what about brake pad replacements on an ICE, as most EVs, with regenerative braking, see little wear on the brakes for projected use life upwards toward 200,000 miles…. Just saying…The total savings in ‘running costs” will be MUCH, MUCH more than just the savings on fuel vs. electricity. Additionally many EV adopters will either already, or soon go to, have SOLAR PANELS on their homes, so much… Read more »


John Gillies have had my tesla five years no maintenance except tires. My brakes will surely last 200,000 miles as with regenerative braking recharging the car I rarely every even tap the brake pedal. Have charged my car only at my home where the cost is $0.10 a kwh. The tesla averages 0.33 kwh per mile so my fuel cost is three cents a mile versus twelve cents on our lexus. Therefore over the 50,000 miles I have driven the fuel savings are $4,500 not insignificant but I also have saved probably the same amount on maintenance. However the real savings came from my believe in Tesla when I bought the tesla for $75,000 I also bought $75,000 of Tesla stock which I sold for $200,000 awhile back and I have had a beautiful high performance car all these years. Hardly a day goes by that someone does not comment “what a beautiful car “ what kind of a car is it ?

It cost you almost a thousand dollars for new tires? That seems insanely high. I wouldn’t expect a new set of tires to set you back more than $200-300.

Really, you think a set of 4 tires for a 5000 pound sedan can be purchased for “$200-$300?” These cars require LARGE and strong tires for their mass. 19″ 245 x 45 size tires. Real “performance tires” in these dimensions are more than $400 PER TIRE ! Perhaps you have not actually shopped tires for a recent Mercedes S class, BMW 7 series or Audi A8 recently ?

Another Euro point of view

For first years of ownership of a car that cost above $40k+ real costs will be yearly depreciation, also insurance can be rather expensive as often do cover all possible damages. After those expenses a difference of few hundred $ per year of energy cost will barely make a difference in total ownership costs. Now Tesla have a good resale value so I would put this forward rather than a few peanuts of energy cost difference.

Peanuts? … of course the location WHERE you do your driving, whether buying gas or kWh makes a difference …. it’s pretty straight forward high school math which tells me that in 5 years my fuel savings will be about 10K … certainly not peanuts to me.

Another Euro point of view

OK, but I take it your yearly $2k saving includes mostly home charging.

It’s screwy, and shows how far infrastructure has yet to go, but mx is probably better off with destination charging. Many pay-for parking areas supply ~6KW, without charging any more for the EV space. This, too, shall end.

Why shouldn’t it be calculated using mostly home charging? For Tesla cars, slow charging at home or work is about 93-95% of all kWh used.

It irks me to see yet another article about the cost of charging illustrated with a photo that shows a Tesla Supercharger, suggesting — wrongly — that most EV charging is done at fast chargers.

A much more relevant picture would show a Tesla car plugged into a slow charger in a garage or a parking lot!

Another Euro point of view

Yes, those comparison between gas costs and charging cost at public chargers is still meaningless for vast majority of EV buyers.

Number. You can count miles, hence *number* of miles. I just had to get that off my chest before I even read the article. Sorry. Next comment will be on topic, I promise!

In CA everything is expensive. It means I pay ~3.50/gal for gas, but also pay $.20/kWh for the first 300 kWh and $.27/kWh for anything over 300. So my costs per mile on gas on my Fusion PHEV (my actual results) is ~$.08 per mile and on electricity is ~$.05 per mile. That is a $37% savings.

37 cents per kWh under SDGE and then up to 43 cents. Before I got solar it was more expensive to run on electricity than it was gas and that’s just sad.

It’s not in everyone’s favour to switch to TOU pricing, even with an EV, especially as the new TOU is 5-9 when a lot of people are at home running their appliances and what not!

I hear you. I chose to NOT do TOU because the daytime rates were highway robbery ($.45/kWh). My wife is a homeschool mom and is home all day. I would have lost my shirt going to TOU.

What isn’t happening is offerings for TOU that, I believe, accurately reflect its cost. Day costs become an absurd penalty, in the rate-design, so you won’t switch. I don’t believe the CPUC stands around to audit actual hour-costs for watts from CA-ISO.

Fundamentally, if you drive an electric car and charge at night, there is NO WAY your per-KWh rate should average higher than your neighbors (on base rate tariff).

Personally I thought the TOU rates were a joke. 1c more per kWh for on peak and 1c less for super off peak. It was such a small difference that it was irrelevant. Maybe in the future they’ll make the difference more steep but right now it makes no difference. If you do nothing but use power on peak you’d pay no more than $5 extra per month.

The solution to your dilemma is solar pv.

No dilemma. I’m saving $ by using my elec supplier (which BTW is 100% carbon free). Solar PV would cost me $17,000. It would take over 18 years before I got my investment back in savings. I won’t own the house long enough to reach that payback. Not worth it.

That’s pretty hard to believe. Are you sure you’ve run the numbers right? PV payoff period is now generally only 4-5 years. If you really need a $17,000 system to meet your needs then you should be paying a pretty penny each year for electricity.

If you live in CA I don’t think your numbers make sense. Even if you only spent $2000 a year on electricity the investment would pay off in less than 8 years.

If you spend less than that at current electric rates then you don’t need such a large system.

I live in a rather small house. My electric bill is <$75 a month average. That's why it would take so long. Granted the $17K was before rebates, so it would be 12K after, but that would still be 13 years.

Someone gave you some very bad info. I live in a small house too, my averege bill was $112/month and my 5.4 kw pv system that costed $12k after credits is enough for the house and 15k/year electric miles (usIng the eGolf i have). The prices are even lower now. It’s absurd not to go solar in CA!

No such thing as “100% carbon free” electricity.

Northern California rates are tiered too, the base rate is $0.18/kWh. until you actually start using some, then up to $.22, Tier 3 $.28 and Tier 4 is $.32. I believe last month we averaged $.24/kWh. with a Leaf and a small house. Night rate plans only work out if nobody uses any electricity during the day.

When gas was $2.50 here briefly over a year ago, a comparable compact ICE cost $.06/mile, my Leaf a bit under $.05/mile.

Another thing to bear in mind, the cost of gas does not include the costs to keep those lines secure and stable.

DGAF. I’m on my fourth year of driving electric and it has never been about the money. It’s about doing less harm to the planet.

Good for you. But that argument won’t win everyone over. However, an economic argument will win many people over. It certainly worked on me.

$933 a year?!

Who’s driving this Audi… grandma? Seems like a low-ball figure to me.

Figuring 15,000 miles per year, at 25 mpg, that’s 600 gallons consumed yearly. At $2.50 per gallon (today, just wait til Trump starts a war in the Middle East) is $1500.

Not to mention oil changes (not really “fuel”), but lubrication oil is a “consumable” for ICEs, and not for EVs


Google “Tesla Model S P85 Drive Unit Fluid Service”

Less lubrication consumed than an ICE but not none.

On my Focus Electric, there is one quart of oil that is meant to last the lifetime of the vehicle. There is no scheduled maintenance to change it. So yes, in some/many cases it is none.

The Model 3 includes a drive unit fluid filter and pump unlike the Model S. This will reduce the need for fluid replacement by years.

Unfortunately I can’t find any info on what Tesla is suggesting to customers who have taken delivery of their Model 3s.

I’m sure Tesla will make this standard going forward on all their vehicles.