Basic Electric Vehicle Math

When thinking about the cost of using a traditional vehicle versus that of using an electric vehicle (EV), there can be many factors that can be incorporated in to the equation that can make it very confusing. These can include the varying blends of gasoline by season, driving conditions and driving style, electricity sources and efficiency of delivery, air resistance, tire inflation and tread patterns, vehicle weight, and more. To simplify things; it is easy to have some real data for comparison when narrowing the focus to the price per mile of operating the vehicle, taking the original cost of the vehicle and all of the other factors out of the equation temporarily.

In the chart below, I took 3 common gasoline vehicles and 3 readily available electric vehicles (assuming the Volt is not using gasoline). For the comparison, I used $3.25 per gallon gasoline prices and have two separate costs of kWh from an electric company. The first price (0.10 / kWh) implies you have taken no special action and are just plugging the car in to an electric outlet. The second price (0.04 / kWh) assumes you have coordinated with your local electric company to get their EV rate. Most electric companies will charge a reduced rate for charging EV’s off hours; for example my local utility company charges 4 cents per kWh between the hours of 11pm and 7am for charging an EV.


The basic data here can be pretty interesting. Assuming you drive 10,000 miles annually, you could save close to $1,000 per year on fuel costs alone when comparing to a Toyota Camry. In addition, walking out to a fully fueled car each morning and never having to stop at the gas station has it rewards as well. EV’s now can also be set to pre-warm the cabin before you ever step in to the cold garage, set to only charge at certain hours, and more. When it comes time to consider a new vehicle, I encourage you to go take a drive as the fear that it is like a flimsy golf cart is not warranted. The safety and technology has improved and the vehicle pricing continues to decrease, making arguments adopting an EV even more compelling.

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