In Which U.S. Cities Is It Least Expensive To Drive Electric?

White 2018 Nissan LEAF charging

SEP 2 2018 BY EVANNEX 15


Sure, charging a Tesla is cheaper than filling the gas tank of a BMW. However, that savings can vary depending on where you live. Jim Gorzelany (via Forbes) reports, “Just as the price of gasoline varies from one part of the country to another, so too does the cost of running an electric vehicle.”

*This article comes to us courtesy of EVANNEX (which also makes aftermarket Tesla accessories). Authored by Matt Pressman. The opinions expressed in these articles are not necessarily our own at InsideEVs.

Above: Tesla’s Model S (Image: Tesla)

It turns out that Crescent Electric recently conducted a study of electricity costs in the 52 largest cities in the United States. So where is it least expensive (based on the typical daily commute) to drive an electric car? According to the study, here are the top five cheapest cities to drive an electric car

1. New Orleans, LA: $54.03/year

2. Salt Lake City, UT: $59.47/year

3. Louisville, KY: $60.70/year

4. Seattle, WA: $61.50/year

5. Cincinnati, OH: $64.00/year

Gorzelany notes that “the above estimates are limited to an average resident’s daily commute, which can vary by city. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, it’s a national average 15 miles each way. Those estimates don’t include weekend driving, running after-work errands, and such, so the aggregate savings of owning an EV can be greater depending how much it’s driven.”

Above: According to the study, New York City is the costliest city to drive to work each day for EV drivers, at an average $157.16/year (Image: Teslamondo)

In contrast, paying a hefty price for fossil fuels at the Shell station can hurt. Compare that with an inexpensive infusion of electrons at the EV charger. Many Tesla owners actually get free lifetime supercharging. And this trend holds true with other EV vs. gas guzzler comparisons. Gorzelany compared an all-electric Chevy Bolt with an all-gas Toyota Corolla using the EPA’s fuel cost calculator. Sure enough, the Bolt was estimated to save about $4,000 over a five-year ownership period when compared to the Corolla.

And, it’s not just gas costs that can save you cash as an electric vehicle owner. Gorzelany says, “Electric cars can further save an owner money with lower maintenance costs. Driving an electric car means being able to avoid oil changes, cooling system flushes, transmission servicing and replacing the air filter, spark plugs, and drive belts. Regular service visits are typically limited to rotating the tires and checking brake pads and other components.”

And then there’s the “$7,500 federal tax credit [which] remains in place to help sweeten the deal for EV buyers… However, because these credits are limited to a set number of units sold per automaker, they’ll begin phasing out this year” for models sold by Chevrolet and Tesla. So if you’re interested in the best-selling electric cars (see below), it’s best you snap one up soon.

Above: The top 5 best-selling pure electrics in the U.S. as of July 2018, ranked according to numbers from InsideEVs (Youtube: Roadshow)

Regardless, whenever you get your first electric car, you probably won’t miss that ATM-like feeling at the gas pump. Sliding in your credit card before you pump gas can leave you feeling queasy. After all, that regular trip to the gas station allows Big Oil to drain your bank account every week. Save that money by driving electric instead. Your wallet will thank you.


Source: Forbes

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

Categories: Charging

Tags: ,

Leave a Reply

15 Comments on "In Which U.S. Cities Is It Least Expensive To Drive Electric?"

newest oldest most voted

It’s definitely less expensive to “fuel” an electric car. The next oil crisis will speed up the adoption of EVs.

It would be helpful for a comprehensive cost analysis, in the “drive electric” comparison, to add in the additional cost of each particular states additional EV registration fees ABOVE those regular ICE vehicle fees.

This is an additional fixed cost that, in some states, significantly lowers the savings calculator, especially if your annual miles driven is below the typical median or average.

The state of Georgia EV VR fees come to mind, as significantly penalizing the annual low mileage EV driver, that unfortunately has to register their EV in that state.

A steep additional $200 for EVs. IIRC.

True, but I found this analysis interesting on it’s own. Props to Evannex on this one.

I think true cost of ownership is important with every vehicle, including the price of the car plus insurance, fuel/charge costs, repairs and maintenance, tab fees, etc. And it needs to be done on an individual model basis. Because operating costs are going to be wildly different on a Leaf compared to a Model S.

one thing I started doing for fun now that I’m in my 50s is adding opportunity cost of tying up investment capital in the car. I may have a $350 down / 0% 72-mo loan on my LEAF but over the 6 years that’s almost $6,000 in opportunity cost @ 6%.

A Model 3 is even more brutal: $9000 down / 3.7% for 72-mo is $5,600 in interest paid + opportunity cost of $13,500.

Sure, but you also have to live at some point. You can apply the same opportunity cost to everything from a house purchase all the way down to buying a cup of coffee instead of brewing it yourself. The key is BALANCE. Quantifying every purchase into an ‘opportunity lost’ seems like a pretty miserable way to go through life, always regretting the missed, better opportunity.

yup, no point being the richest person in the cemetery

Hello… My name is Eric and this is my first comment in this site. I’m on this site 2-3 times a day, daily, seven days a week. This will sound weird and completely abnormal in a way, so please forgive me for saying this in this form. Mr. Troy, the person who raised me, recently passed away. A short while later, my father passed away. All my friends for the passed 20-25 years have turned their backs on me, gotten married and have kids. I see patients everyday and treat all their conditions as best I can. I see millionaires and homeless people. And going through possible depression of how the world works, the corrupt ugly side of things, I over look the beauty, etc. Anyway, leaving the cemetery a few hours ago, I read your comment and as simple and insignificant it was to you, it really had an effect on me. I wanted to say thank you. “No point in being the richest person in the cemetery” It means live life! Enjoy living! Explore, engage, live… Hoarding can only mean so much, but what’s the point if you’ve never fully enjoyed the world? Best cars, best food, best… Read more »

“richest person in the cemetery” .I will always remember the words.

I went searching for the original survey or report but the only hit is the Forbes article. I am curious about their methodology (how is Riverside with a $0.16 average higher than the NorCal $0.19 base?) but there is no list or survey to be found in my searches. ‘Crescent Electric’ only returns an electrical supply company. Where is the source???

The original source is Forbes. The study that they used was done by Crescent Electric. Generally, studies like this are supplied to publications or you have to pay for access to them. We receive emails all the time to buy such studies or are asked to publish them. Sadly, for that reason, you probably won’t be able to find a copy of the study online. If I can track it down, I’ll put the link here.

UPDATE: Ok, I found the Crescent Electric blog site, but didn’t see the study published there yet (I could have missed it). There are other studies, however. I imagine it will end up there eventually when it goes public.


I just personalized the site to my power costs and my Leaf is costing (at least) $500 MORE to drive over 5 years than a 2018 Toyota Camry Hybrid LE (nice car I rent when I need to go somewhere).

This is the untold story of EVs that should be getting more attention. Not everybody is paying $0.13/kW or less.

50mpg is pretty good!

I’m doing 1000 miles a month in my Leaf so at 20 gallons/mo that would be $70/mo in gas costs vs $50/mo in overnight charging (20c / kwh).

Ergonomics of noisy CVT and lack of one-pedal driving are big minuses tho for my cross-town driving, as are the required ICE maintenance and biannual smog checks.

Without the $20,000 in dealer & gov’t incentives I got (e.g. having the Leaf cost the same as the Camry) the cost-benefit picture of a Leaf would be a lot murkier.

I’d like to think I’d go BEV just to do my share for reducing pollution, CO2 increase, and money going to the medieval assclowns in the mideast, but I doubt it as a 2020 Bronco is officially on the wish list!

That’s ridiculous. Your leaf is more than twice as fuel efficient as the hybrid. And anyone’s electricity rates should be less than half of equalivalent gas prices. That means big savings for driving bevs.
A big advantage I use several times a week is free charging stations. There are no free gas stations yet there are thousands and dozens more added every week of FREE ev charging stations around the nation. So just charging at one of these free charging locations, located on PlugShare app for example, a few times a month will bring your fuel costs dramatically down….especially if you have a long range bev low on battery and stay at charging station area for hours…like at a gym, movie house, work place, shopping center, park, etc.
Volta chargers have been springing up for over a year now over so cal…sometimes four chargers to a location.

“am curious about their methodology (how is Riverside with a $0.16 average higher than the NorCal $0.19 base?)”

Average commute by city varies. Cost is not a single variable function.