How Much Does it Cost to Charge an Electric Car in Your City?
November 28, 2017 David Reichmuth
Most drivers know how much it costs to fill the tank with gasoline. It’s
hard to miss the glowing numbers at the corner station. But how much does
it cost to recharge an electric car? And how much money do EVs save drivers
compared to gasoline-powered cars? To help answer these questions, our new
report, “Going From Pump to Plug,” looks at the price of recharging an EV at
home in the fifty largest cities in the US, as well at public charging
Charging an EV at home can be much cheaper than gasoline
After comparing the findings for large cities across the US, the answer is
clear: for every electricity provider we looked at, charging an EV is
cheaper than refueling the average new gasoline vehicle.
Compared to using the average new gasoline car, driving on electricity would
save on average almost $800 per year in fuel costs.
Find EV savings in your city:
However, where you live and what electric rate plan you choose can change
your savings. For almost all EV drivers, choosing a time-of-use (TOU)
electric rate plan is needed to see the largest savings.
A TOU plan gives cheaper electric rates during off-peak periods (often late
at night), with higher rates for using electricity during high-demand times.
Because most EVs are parked at home overnight, TOU rates are a good fit for
most EV drivers.
In some cities, especially in California, TOU rates are essential for saving
money on fuel costs. For example, in my home in Oakland, CA, recharging
using the standard electricity plan is equal to buying gasoline at
$3.34/gallon, while using the TOU plan only costs the equivalent of
Public EV charging costs are variable
Costs to charge at public charging stations varies considerably. Some
stations are free, while others can cost over twice as much as home
charging. However, the impact of public charger costs is often muted by the
high preponderance of home charging. For example, a San Francisco driver
that uses higher-cost DC fast charging for 20 percent of charging would only
see their average fuel costs increase from $0.78/gallon equivalent to
Savings on maintenance, too
Drivers of battery electric vehicles also can have significantly lower
maintenance costs. These EVs have no engine, so no oil changes, spark plugs,
or engine air filter to change. Instead, the electric motors and batteries
require little to no attention. This means less time and money spent on
routine car maintenance. Comparing the Chevy Bolt EV to the Chevy Sonic
gasoline car, the Bolt owner will spend over $1,500 less on scheduled
maintenance over the first 150,000 miles.
Policies needed to ensure all can access these EV benefits
Electric vehicles can save drivers on fuel and maintenance costs, at the
same time they help reduce global warming emissions and air pollution.
However, good policies are needed to make sure that all can access the
benefits of EVs.
Buyers need to be able to afford EVs. Currently, EVs cost more to
manufacture compared to similar-sized gasoline cars. These manufacturing
costs are coming down as EV production volumes increase and technology
advances, but federal, state, and local purchase incentives are vital to
accelerate the transition from gasoline to electricity.
Policies are needed to ensure that everyone can recharge an EV at a
price lower than gasoline cost. Regulators and electricity providers should
ensure that EV customers can access lower-cost electricity rate plans, which
are key to making EVs a reliable and affordable alternative to gasoline
vehicles. Solutions are needed for those who cannot charge at home and those
that must drive long distances. Therefore, access is essential to reliable
and affordable public charging, especially fast-charging stations. Also,
public policies that improve charging options at apartments and multi-unit
dwellings will broaden the base of drivers who can choose an EV.
Public policies should require manufacturers to produce higher volumes
of EVs and encourage a greater diversity of electric-drive models and sizes.
There are many more models of EVs available now as compared to just a few
years ago, but there is still a lack of some types of vehicles with electric
such as pickup trucks. Also, not all manufacturers offer EVs nationwide,
making it more difficult for buyers to find and test drive an EV.
Policies like these can help ensure that everyone has access to EVs and can
make personal transportation choices that both save them money and reduce
their carbon footprint.
In Cities Across the Country, Driving Electric Is Cheaper Than ...
Nov. 28, 2017 It's much cheaper to charge a car than fill it with gasoline,
according to the study Going from Pump to Plug: Adding up the Savings from
Electric Vehicles, released by the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS)
Tuesday. The analysis compared electricity rates and gasoline prices in 57
cities around the country. The study ...
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