Rising Gas Prices Driving You To An Electric Car? Cost To Charge A Tesla Model 3 Vs GasMay 22, 2021
You will save money on “fuel” costs with an electric car. That’s certain. But how much?
Let’s start with the basics. A report from Kelly Blue Book said this:
“If you put 1,000 miles on your vehicle each month, for example, and pay 10 cents for each kilowatt-hour of electricity, this pegs your at-home EV recharging bill at $25 to $33 dollars* per month (based on the calculation of 3-4 driving miles equaling one kilowatt-hour).”
And the report added that even if you double the rate to 20 cents per/kWh, your monthly EV recharging cost will still be comparatively cheap at be $50 to $66 dollars.
Compare that to a gas car that gets a combined average of 30 miles per gallon. If you’re theoretically driving 1,000 miles per month, you’ll likely spend between $70 and $100 (see this calculator) depending on the price of gas — with trends this summer on the high end of that range.
Tesla Model 3:
Let’s take a Model 3 with a range of 322 miles.
There are long discussions on how exactly to calculate the cost of charging a Model 3. Calculations vary but here’s one calculation (Autopilot Review) using California as an example:
“Let’s say you live in California and your average cost per kWh is $0.20. Then filling up a Model 3 or Model Y Long Range with a 75 kWh battery pack from 10 kWh to 70 kWh (you usually don’t fill up to 100% as that degrades the battery more quickly), would cost $12.00 (60 kWh x $0.20/kWh).”
Compared to a gas car like the Honda Accord, the annual ‘”fuel” costs as calculated by the U.S. Department of Energy based on 45% highway, 55% city driving, 15,000 annual miles and current fuel prices are as follows:
2020 Tesla Model 3 Long-Range — annual fuel cost of $500
2020 Honda Accord — annual fuel cost of $1,450
The DOE’s numbers are estimates. Needless to say, there are a lot of variables for EVs, which include:
- Whether you charge at home or use a public charging network, e.g., Tesla Supercharger, EVgo, or Electrify America. Public fast chargers, such as Level 3 chargers, typically cost more
- Home charging rates (including the cost of installing a Level 2 charger)
- Less obvious things like vampire drain
- Driving habits (e.g., how fast you drive, whether you use the AC a lot) which affect range
But the bottom line is, you will save money. Since switching to an electric car, in addition to saving hundreds of dollars per year on fuel costs, I’m also saving on things like maintenance. My EVs have been almost maintenance-free — with the exception of things like tire rotation.
In Los Angeles, before I converted to an EV in 2013, I was paying closer to $150 a month for gas for roughly 1,000 miles. Now, if I charge exclusively at home, I typically pay no more than $50 a month, based on my calculations.
*To calculate your kilowatt-hour rate, divide the total of power bill by your total power consumption (minus any taxes). “For example, if your total monthly power bill is $327, your electricity taxes are $27, and your monthly power consumption is 2,500 kWh, your power cost is $0.12 per kWh,” according to NEC Co-op.
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