Price of charging EV vs. gasoline costs


A driver makes use of a fast-charging station for electrical within the cellphone lot at John F. Kennedy (JFK) airport on April 02, 2021 in New York Metropolis.

Spencer Platt | Getty Photos

It has been true for years: Mile for mile, it is cheaper — usually less expensive — to recharge an electrical car than it’s to refuel one with an internal-combustion engine.

That has been a key promoting level for Tesla and different EV makers, notably in occasions when gasoline costs have soared, corresponding to now. However this time there is a wrinkle: Whereas gasoline costs have certainly soared within the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, so have electrical energy costs — notably in some components of the U.S. which have been massive markets for Tesla’s EVs.

That raises a query: Is it nonetheless true that it is less expensive to “refuel” an EV? The charts beneath assist us discover the reply.

The primary chart, utilizing nationwide figures, supplies a baseline. The others use information particular to Boston and San Francisco, two markets the place EVs are common — and the place electrical energy tends to be costlier than the nationwide common.

The reply in all three instances is that — even with regional surges within the worth of electrical energy — it is nonetheless fairly a bit costlier to fill your gasoline tank than it’s to cost your EV’s battery.

Electrical energy charges have roughly stored tempo with gasoline worth will increase in Boston and San Francisco. But, on common throughout the U.S., including 100 miles of vary in your internal-combustion car has turn into costlier, relative to charging an EV an equal quantity, during the last couple of months.

Is that prone to change? Whereas oil costs are practically sure to fall in coming months as producers enhance output, it is unlikely that the worth of electrical energy will rise sufficient to make EVs much less inexpensive over their life cycles than internal-combustion alternate options.

Utilizing February information, Jeffries analyst David Kelley not too long ago calculated that the entire lifetime price of possession of an EV is about $4,700 lower than that of an internal-combustion car. He stated that price distinction is prone to enhance as extra EVs come to market — and as battery costs proceed to fall — over the subsequent couple of years.

How we crunched the numbers

We had three questions in thoughts after we put collectively these charts:

For gasoline, the Environmental Safety Company reported that the common new car offered within the U.S. in 2020 had a mixed fuel-economy score of 25.7 miles per gallon. Driving 100 miles in that common car would use 3.9 gallons of gasoline. (Figures for 2021 have not been launched but.)

On the electric-vehicle facet, the EPA’s effectivity score for EVs — known as “MPGe”, for miles per gallon equal — offers customers an concept of how far an EV can journey on 33.7 kilowatt-hours (kWh) of cost. Why 33.7 kWh? That is the quantity of electrical energy that’s chemically equal to the power in a gallon of normal gasoline.

The typical MPGe score for 2022-model-year EVs offered within the U.S. is about 97, so driving 100 miles in that hypothetical common car would use 34.7 kWh of electrical energy.

The charts above evaluate how the worth of three.9 gallons of gasoline has modified relative to the worth of 34.7 kWh over time, utilizing month-to-month information from the U.S. Vitality Info Administration (for gasoline costs) and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (for electrical energy charges) from February 2019 by February 2022.

– CNBC’s Crystal Mercedes contributed to this text.

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