Department of Energy chimes in on cost of driving an EV

by Ernie Hernandez on June 11, 2013

DOE eGallon image

US average regular gasoline costs three times electric eGallon

First you should know that there is no such thing as an eGallon of gas. What the Department of Energy (DOE) is saying is that from an economic perspective, you can drive your electric vehicle (EV) the same distance as a gasoline powered vehicle for roughly one third the cost. Here is a link to the DOE information (found here). Not only does the DOE provide a national average, they provide the information for you to determine the difference in your state. We looked at every state and we think that the DOE needs to verify some data.

In California, the home state of Living LEAF, DOE claims that a gallon of regular gasoline goes for $3.08. A quick check of the gasbuddy.com website shows an average cost in San Francisco currently of just over $4.00 per gallon, while San Diego is currently averaging $3.95, so it seems that the government data lags the real world.

Let’s give you a quick example. Based on the DOE data, if you used 100 gallons of gasoline each month, you would spend $308 on gasoline. In that same month, driving the same distance (in California), you would spend $101 on electricity. Run that out over a three year time frame and gasoline costs $11,088 compared to an electric expense of $3,636 – or a savings of $7,452 for the EV owner.

We applaud the effort by the DOE to educate the public about the dramatically lower cost to operate an EV compared to a gasoline powered vehicle regarding the largest operating expense – fuel. Taking the above noted disparity in real California gasoline costs and that provided in the government data, by our reckoning it is at least four times more expensive to drive a gasoline fueled vehicle in California than it is to drive electric. Remember this the next time you have a conversation with someone who thinks that your EV is impractical and just won’t work for them. With current low lease rates and low cost of daily operation, EVs are becoming more attractive to more people every day.

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