Are Electric Cars Cheaper To Run Than Gas? Not What You Thought
Are electric cars cheaper to run than gas or diesel? Yes, electric cars are considerably cheaper to run than either gas or diesel, the main reason is that they are more efficient but that is not the only reason.
EV Costs Per Mile
It is really easy to calculate how much cheaper it is to run an electric car compared to either a gas or an diesel car, all you need are two things.
1. The cost per kWh
2. The miles per kWh your EV will do.
For this example we are going to use the Tesla Model 3 at 4 miles per kWh. The cost to run your car can differ from the cost of the electricity you purchase to the weather conditions as the colder it gets the less efficient an EV is, but for this example we will assume the weather is mild and the cost per kWh is 10 cents as this is the average across the USA.
Cost per 100 miles To Run An EV
We know that the Tesla does 4 miles per kWh so if we divide the 100 miles by 4 we get 25 kWh used. At a cost of $0.10 per kWh that would work out at 25x0.10= $2.50 to cover 100 miles.
Cost Per 100 Miles For a Gas Vehicle
Again the miles per gallon will differ from vehicle to vehicle but lets assume that your vehicle does 25 miles per gallon with a cost per gallon of gas at $3.00. 100 miles divided by 25 miles per gallon gives us 4 gallons used. 4 gallons of gas at $3 per gallon gives you a running cost of $12 to cover a 100 miles distance.
That is a difference of $9.50 for every 100 miles covered.
If we look at an annual mileage of 12000 you would save $1,140 per year.
In this video, we are talking about electric cars and electric bills. Now I've got a lot of people asking me now that you have an electric car what's your electric bill like?
And it's an interesting question, a strange question but if you absolutely must know last month my first full month of owning an electric car my electric bill was $46.71
Now that tells you absolutely nothing and what I think is interesting about this question is people don't ask me now I own an electric car what's your gasoline bill like?
Because you're just replacing one form of energy for another and I think something that people get confused that they don't quite understand is how much cheaper an electric car is to drive.
Now I didn't say electric cars are cheap, Tesla's are not cheap, electric cars are not cheap. Yes, you can get used electric cars for a low price, not necessarily used Tesla's but used electric cars whether it's the Nissa Leaf, the Fiat 500e there are cheap electric cars out there.
The goal of this video, however, is to talk about the energy cost, how much does it cost to move an electric car from this spot to this and the reason why it's cheaper for an electric car to move from this spot to this spot is not because electricity is cheaper than gasoline, in fact, gasoline is very cheap right now in the United States.
The reason why it's cheap to move an electric car from this spot to this spot is that it does it so efficiently and that's what we're going to get into in this video and talk about the actual cost difference of driving an electric car versus driving a gasoline car.
Cost Difference Of Driving An Electric Car Versus A Gasoline Car
Our first question is how much does it cost for one full charge of the Tesla Model 3? So I have a Tesla Model 3 performance and how much does it cost to fill it up from absolute dead zero battery to full? In other words one full tank,
So the cost per tank or full battery size we're looking at what is the size of the battery and then we're going to divide that by it's charging efficiency.
So the Tesla Model 3 performance has a 75-kilowatt-hour battery pack. Now we're just going to use a conservative estimate of 80%, we don't know what it is, it's probably a good bit higher than 80% so I put a nice conservative estimate so that our numbers aren't wrong but erring on the side of caution.
So we multiply that by the cost per kilowatt-hour. Now if we go back to my electric bill you can see that I used 467 kilowatt-hours of energy and that cost me forty six dollars and 71 cents. That makes the math very simple because 467 divided by forty-six point seven equals ten.
So yes there are some fixed costs and some variable costs in there but overall if we just look at the total amount of energy used divided by the total cost we get a charge of ten cents per kilowatt-hour.
So we multiply this by ten cents and that is going to give us the cost of one charge which is going to be nine dollars and 38 cents.
Now how much does it cost per month? Well, that depends on how much you drive, the average American drives about a thousand miles per month I Drive far less than that.
But regardless let's say I were to be a normal human and drive a thousand miles per month we know the range of the vehicle is 310, we multiply that by the cost per tank which is nine dollars and 38 cents and we get a monthly cost of about thirty dollars a month if you're driving a thousand miles per month.
And then if we multiply that out using similar math it's this multiplied by twelve countings for the decimal places that are included within that, we get three hundred and sixty-three dollars per year that are to go twelve thousand miles per year in the Tesla Model 3 performance.
Now I wanted to compare it to a similar vehicle and we'll get into other scenarios with cheaper cars later on in this video but the vehicle which I chose to compare it with is the Jiulia Quadrifoglio, so the Alfa Romeo Jiulia Quadrifoglio they are similar in price, similar and horsepower similar in weight.
Another interesting point the Julie has a range EPA estimated range of 306 miles versus the Tesla Model 3 is 310 miles, interesting that they have the same range.
But regardless we're looking at the cost for a single tank of the Jiulia and so it has a 15 point three a gallon tank, and we'll say premium gas is about three dollars per gallon pretty close to the national average right now for that premium gas and that is going to give us a fill-up cost of $45.90 which is significantly more expensive than the Tesla.
Then we're going to look at the cost per month so we have the number of miles we're going to drive in a month, a thousand, we divide that by its combined fuel economy rating which is 20 miles per gallon we multiply that by three and we get a 150 for the monthly cost and then if we were to multiply that by 12 we get $1,800 a year.
$1437 per year more than the Tesla to drive the same distance. Now yes things will change so if it's cold outside the Tesla is not going to do quite as good but remember we also do have a little bit of a buffer here with this charging efficiency, and you know if you're flooring it in the Jiulia you're not going to be getting 20 mpg, if your flooring it in the model 3 you're not going to be getting 310 miles of range.
So just playing with averages EPA estimates you're going to be $1400 per year cheaper to drive the Tesla Model 3 performance. Now if you go with EPA estimates they say the Jiulia is going to cost you $2,200 per year and that the Tesla will cost you $550 per year so they say the difference is even greater. $1,650 estimated difference in energy costs between the Tesla Model 3 and the Giulia quite significant overall.
Now, remember at the beginning of this video I said the reason why electric cars are so much cheaper to drive them and gasoline-powered cars is not because gasoline is more expensive than electricity, it's because they're so much more efficient.
So let's assume our Jiulia would be equally as fuel-efficient as the Tesla Model 3 performance, so instead of a combined rating of 20 miles per gallon, it would have a rating of 116 miles per gallon.
So if we take 1200 and we divide that by 116 we get 103.4 gallons used in a year, we multiply that by 3 and we get about 310 dollars per year.
So as you can see if the Jiulia was as fuel-efficient as efficient at moving a box of metal from one spot to another spot it would be cheaper per year than a Tesla Model 3 because gasoline is pretty cheap right now.
So to move it the same amount of space if it had better fuel economy the same fuel economy as the Tesla it would be cheaper every year but because the model 3 is so so much more efficient at moving a box of metal from one spot to another it's significantly cheaper to drive.
So another way of thinking about this is that the EPA says one gallon of gasoline is equivalent to 33.7 kilowatt-hours. So the Tesla has a 75-kilowatt hour battery pack we divide that by 30 3.7 and we get about 2.2 which means the Tesla has about 2.2 gallons of fuel at a full charge.
So basically the only reason it's able to go so far is because it's crazy-- efficient. Now if you're paying super close attention you're like wait a minute if I take 116 Tesla's combined fuel economy rating and I multiply that by 2.2 that's going to give me something closer like 260 miles, not the 310 that the EPA says it should be getting.
And part of why this is because this does not account for region, so if you have region occurring which every time you slow down your vehicle the combined fuel economy rating, of course, includes City mileage if you have combined fuel economy rating and have region occurring your vehicle is going to use more than 75-kilowatt hours on a full charge.
So whatever distance it drives on that full battery charge it's going to use more than 75 kilowatt-hours, that's just how much the battery holds but you'll regain some of that every time you come to a stop.
So your actual amount of energy that you have to go whatever distance you're going is dependent on how often you're using regen.
So under that cycle, the EPA is going to give you an estimated 310 miles of range.
So now let's make a comparison that makes more sense on a national broader level looking at averages. So we're going to compare the Tesla, the reason why we're continuing to use the Tesla's because the model 3 performance kind of sits in the middle of the electric cars out there, there are more efficient cars, there are less efficient cars and 116 MPGe isn't all that unreasonable of a combined rating for an electric car.
On the flip side for our gasoline car, we're going to assume a core with a 12-gallon tank and 30 miles per gallon. I chose 30 miles per gallon, the national average is 25 miles per gallon in the United States but that, of course, includes trucks, SUVs which people are going to be buying anyways but we're just going to give it a little bit of benefit here and say let's say you get 30 miles per gallon instead of 25.
Now the national average fuel price for regular gas is 2 dollars and 35 cents, crazy cheap and it's probably going to be the thing in this video that dates it so much is the fact that I'm saying gasoline costs two dollars and thirty-five cents, so it's very cheap at the moment.
So to fill up the Tesla with the electric national average price of 13 cents per kilowatt-hour, twelve dollars and 20 cents. This will be less if the electric car has a smaller battery pack like a Nissan Leaf or BMW i3.
But regardless of filling up a regular car with a 12-gallon tank that gets 30 miles per gallon filling it that car up 28 dollars and 20 cents. So even with gas extremely cheap filling the car up is about double the price and about double the price monthly at thirty-nine dollars per month versus $78
$472 per year for the electric car with national average electric prices versus nine hundred forty dollars with a 30 mile per gallon car per year with getting gas at $2.35.
Now if you were to use premium gas national average is currently two dollars and ninety cents so as you can see that bumps the price and if you were to assume gasoline were to get more expensive which electricity could also get more expensive but we have had you know certainly $4 per gallon gas the united states in recent history. So if it was at $4 a gallon look at how significant that change is.
So if you were to look at it on an annual basis $472 versus $1600, if you were to own that car for 10 years eleven thousand two hundred eighty dollars if gas was four dollars a gallon it's not so perhaps that difference will be somewhere around five thousand to seven thousand dollars over ten years.
Yes you could come up with all kinds of hypotheticals that could happen to either core of why one might be more expensive than the other over a ten year period, the battery could fail in the electric car, the engine could fail in the internal combustion car there's plenty of little items that could go wrong on that combustion engine, there's plenty of little things that could go wrong on an electric car.
It's not necessarily which one is going to cost more long term that we're talking about in this video it's from an energy standpoint how much does it cost to get it from this pot to another and electrics are far far cheaper.
But you don't have to take my word for it you can kind of do it yourself based on what cars you're looking at buying. So if you're looking at buying two different cars here are the equations all laid out for you to determine how much would each of these cars cost per month from an energy standpoint.
So for an electric car you're taking the number of miles that you drive in a month dividing it by that cars range multiplying by the battery size divided by the charging efficiency, in this case, I used eighty percent just because it's a simple conservative estimate that means you'll probably be at least close enough to the right answer and then you multiply that by your electricity cost.
So what that cost per kilowatt-hour for you, that will give you your monthly cost. To compare it to an internal combustion engine you take the number of miles you're going to drive in the month, divided by the internal combustion engines combined fuel economy rating, multiply that by the price of gasoline and that will give you the cost per month.
So you know you don't have to use this specific scenario you can come up with any scenario you like. As you could see if you were to have a car that had 60 miles per gallon that would reduce this cost by about half, meaning you would match the electric car.
So if you were to buy a gasoline car for that had 60 miles per gallon fuel economy and fuel remained at two dollars and thirty-five cents then you could get a similar price as far as moving that car from one spot to another as an electric car.
Now, again that's dependent on energy being cheap or gasoline being cheap so there are a lot of variables here but you have the tool to play around with.