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USA: Consumer Reports: Leaf and Volt cheaper to run than gasoline cars

Electric cars are more efficient and use less actual energy to move the same distance than do the gasoline cars, shows the Consumer Reports testing of Chevy Volt and Nissan Leaf.

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On Thursday, Consumer Reports released figures from testing the Leaf and Volt showing that both have lower per-mile operating costs than gasoline cars. The savings come from the higher efficiency of electric vehicles, and the lower relative cost for electricity versus gasoline. Their calculations left out a few cost-of-ownership factors, but it is in line with other studies of electric vehicle operating costs. For example a few months ago the New Zealand government declared the iMiev (the only production electric car being imported to that country) was the cheapest to operate.

According to CR’s figures the Nissan Leaf costs 3.5 cents per mile to operate based on the national average electricity cost of 11 cents per kilowatt-hour. Of course electricity costs vary from place to place and it’s your cost per kilowatt-hour that determines your cost per mile. This cost is less than half what CR calculates it costs to run a Prius. The Chevrolet Volt is a little heavier and costs a bit more electricity to run, and when in electric drive mode it will cost you 3.8 cents per mile. When it switches to gasoline mode (the Volt is a plug-in serial hybrid design), because it requires Premium gas its cost per mile is higher than even typical gasoline cars.

CR’s report did not say this, but the comparison is also based on the cost for gasoline. A cost which varies from place to place and from day to day. Over time the cost of electricity is a lot more stable than gas prices, and in the long run we expect gas prices to continue going up, because of the effects of peak oil discussed in ExxonMobil predicts electrified vehicles will be mainstream by 2040.
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