One of the main reasons people purchase electric vehicles (EVs) is because of the price tag at fill up. Historically, it’s been cheaper to fully charge an EV than to fill the tank of a gas vehicle. But in the wake of what’s happening around the world, particularly with wars breaking out in various countries, gas prices are once again soaring. That’s nothing new. The difference is that the price of electricity is also rising. So, how does this affect the cost of charging EVs? Is it still cheaper to charge an EV than it is to fill a gas tank? Inquiring minds want to know. So, we’ve done the research to give you an answer.
The Cost of Charging an EV
The cost to charge a vehicle depends on a number of factors: The type of vehicle, the battery size, and the price of electricity where you charge it. As a general guide, the average cost to charge an electric vehicle is about $0.10-$0.20 per kWh. That means if you have an electric vehicle with a 100 kilowatt hours (kWh) battery, it would cost anywhere from $10-$20 to fully charge your vehicle.
The Cost of Filling a Gas Tank
The cost to fill a gas tank depends on a number of factors: The size of your vehicle’s gas tank, current gas prices (as prices change daily), and the fuel economy of your vehicle. The average fuel economy is about 25 miles per gallon (mpg). According to AAA, the average gas price in the U.S. when publishing this piece is $3.45, with some states being much higher. My gas tank holds 16 gallons of gas. That means it would cost me $55.20 to fill up my tank.
Another colleague lives in California, where the gas price averages $5.30. For her 16-gallon tank, it would cost almost $85 to fill up.
Is It Still Cheaper To Charge an EV?
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and the U.S. Energy Information Administration, even with the price of gas and electricity rising, it still costs more to fill a gas tank than to fully charge an EV. Although electricity rates have risen, they have not risen as far North as the price of gas. Even as the price of gas is sure to fluctuate in the future and fall at some point, it is still unlikely the price of gas will beat out the price of electricity.
The Cost of Owning an Electric Car vs. a Gas Car
Most people will tell you they save money when they purchase an EV. On average, the cost to own an EV is about $12,000 more than the industry average for a new vehicle. So, you’ll pay more on the front end for an EV. However, the real savings come during maintenance. Here are some advantages and disadvantages to owning either one.
Advantages of Owning an Electric Vehicle
- EVs are cheaper to charge and maintain
- They produce zero emissions, which is better for the environment
- The government offers incentives to own
Advantages of Owning a Gas Vehicle
- Gas vehicles are cheaper on the front end, so they’re more affordable.
- More options are available to fill up the gas tank.
Disadvantages of Owning an Electric Vehicle
- EVs are more expensive than gas vehicles
- Electricity rates vary by state
- Electricity rates vary by the type of outlet you use and the time of day you charge your vehicle.
- Owners pay a premium when they charge up on the road
- Charging stations have different charging levels depending on how fast you charge. Level 3 charges cost more than level 2 or level one.
- The lower the level of the charging station, the longer it takes to charge.
- If you install a charger at home, you’ll need to make sure you choose the right one and that it’s up to code.
- You risk being stranded if you travel in areas without public charging stations.
- EV owners pay about 25% more in car insurance, so expect your insurance to increase.
Disadvantages of Owning a Gas Vehicle
- Historically, filling a gas tank costs more than charging an EV.
- Gas vehicles produce CO2 emissions that contribute to global warming and air pollution that harm your health.
- Gas vehicles cost more to maintain
The Bottom Line
There are advantages and disadvantages to owning either an EV or a gas vehicle. If price motivates you, it’s important to know where you want to gain the most advantage – on the front end or the back end of the purchase.
If fuel is the driving factor in your purchase, then electric vehicles seem to be the most advantageous. For a more beneficial purchase, it’s best to consider all the factors of owning one or the other.