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Real talk: Is EV charging really more cost-effective than buying gas?

When it comes to buying a car, many consumers are now opting for all-electric options. Thanks to the environmental initiatives going on globally over the last few years for lesser vehicle emissions and more climate-friendly cars, consumers are taking note when researching their next vehicle purchase. It’s common knowledge that vehicle owners see the ever-fluctuating prices at the gas pump. It can make owning an all-electric vehicle appear to be the smarter option. 

Many potential EV buyers wonder what the actual cost is to own an all-electric option versus a traditional gasoline engine vehicle. However, when future EV owners start pricing and comparing their options with the current and projected EVs on the market, many struggle to justify the sticker, let alone the cost to own. Therefore, let’s dive into what potential EV purchasers can expect when buying an EV and if these vehicles genuinely are more cost-effective than a gasoline engine car. 

Gas pump in a car

Charging vs. gasoline

One of the most significant expenses that vehicle owners face is gas and oil prices. The cost to run combustible engines is the most influential and most frequent expense for drivers. Oil and gas prices often fluctuate with market supply and demand.

For example, the recent highest increases in gas prices made car owners cringe at the pumps in 2014 and 2021. In recent years, vehicle owners have seen upward of over $3.20 per gallon for regular unleaded gasoline. It can make the average fill-up for a 10-gallon gas tank over $30, and if consumers commute often, the cost skyrockets more from there.

When the market sees an upswing in gas prices, especially over the last decade or so, consumers start researching and considering alternative vehicle options, such as hybrids or all-electric vehicles. The benefit of this is that alternative options drastically reduce or eliminate the need for gas, and consumers believe that will minimize the cost of running a vehicle.

In many more populated areas, you can now quickly locate charging stations to charge EVs, and often for free or cheaper than gasoline. According to Kelley Blue Book, there are many low-cost or free options for charging EVs and several apps to help owners find these locations.

Anticipated expenses of owning an EV

While there may be inexpensive or free costs to charge an EV, there are other expenses to consider with the cost of ownership. Many potential EV buyers can often misunderstand that owning an all-electric vehicle will not completely cut expenses in half.

Although EVs usually eliminate the need for regular maintenance, such as oil changes, fuel, and other combustible engine repairs, there are still costs involved when owning an EV. For example, some routine vehicle maintenance, such as tire replacement, is still a regular cost to consider with any vehicle, including an EV. Also, owners need to have elevated power outlets installed in their homes by an electrician for higher-level charges.

Advantages of EVs vs. gas vehicles

EVs have countless advantages that include more than just the lack of fuel and maintenance costs. Many electric companies offer power incentives on EV charging for owners at home. Additionally, the U.S. government provides a tax incentive refund of $7,500 when you claim the purchase of your new EV on your last year’s tax return.

A study done in 2020 by Consumer Reports reviewed the cost comparison of EVs versus gasoline vehicles, and the result concluded on several factors. These factors ultimately determined that the average cost of owning an EV is significantly less than a gasoline-powered vehicle. Here are the areas where the most savings to own an EV were found:

  • Fuel savings – The study established that EV owners who opt to charge at home can expect to save an average of $800 to $1,000 a year on costs versus a gasoline-powered car.
  • Maintenance – The study also concluded that maintenance and repair costs for EVs are significantly lower over the life of the vehicle than gasoline-powered vehicles. 
  • Depreciation – It was additionally discovered that more advanced, long-range EVs could hold their value compared to their traditional gasoline-powered counterparts.

EV charger in all-electric vehicle

The takeaway

In looking at the cost comparison of EVs versus gasoline vehicles, purchasing an EV is an intelligent choice for many auto consumers. Not only are these all-electric vehicles becoming more and more desirable to drivers, but they also allow owners to save money in the long run.

While there may still be some maintenance or repair work necessary on EVs, such as tire replacement and installing a home charger for Level 2 charging, EVs will save consumers fuel costs in the long term, which could be significant.

Additionally, the electrical benefits and the tax credit for EV purchases can lessen the sticker shock potential buyers may see when researching EVs as their new vehicle. EVs are set to increase in popularity and availability, while fuel costs may continue to fluctuate. Therefore, EVs are more cost-effective in the long run than their gasoline counterparts.

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