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Electric Cars Equal $1/Gallon Gas For Life + $1,200 Cash A Year

Car buyers are notoriously fond of focusing only on the purchase price of new vehicles, without much thinking about the total cost of ownership.

For electric cars that may cost twice or more what a similar-size gasoline vehicle does, that’s a problem.

Still, two separate pieces of evidence begin to make a compelling case for the huge running-cost advantages of plug-ins.

They’ll prove useful in conversations over the next few years, as friends, relatives, and neighbors question electric-car buyers about their new vehicles: why they did it, how much hassle it may be to plug in, and–of course–how much it cost.

First is a post entitled Buck-a-Gallon Gas for Life?

Author Max Baumhefner, a Natural Resources Defense Council staffer, simply plots the equivalent cost of gasoline and electricity under different oil-price scenarios.

Gasoline vs. electricity price in $/gallon equivalent, under 3 scenarios (by Max Baumhefner)
Gasoline is high, higher, or very much higher; electricity stays cheap regardless of what happens to oil prices.

Even more compelling is a chart (at top) from the Edison Electric Institute, showing the volatility of gasoline prices and the minimal variation in electric costs over the same period.

In other words, plugging in your electric car to recharge it is the equivalent of paying a dollar a gallon for gasoline–forever.

Second is State of Charge, a study issued last month by the Union of Concerned Scientists on a variety of electric vehicle issues. (We’ll cover more of that study later on.)


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