Cost of charging EV vs. gas prices

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

Spencer Platt | Getty Images

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 gas prices have soared, comparable to now. But this time there is a wrinkle: While gas prices have certainly soared within the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, so have electrical energy prices — notably in some elements 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 under assist us discover the reply.

The first chart, utilizing nationwide figures, supplies a baseline. The others use knowledge particular to Boston and San Francisco, two markets the place EVs are in style — and the place electrical energy tends to be dearer than the nationwide common.

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

Electricity charges have roughly saved tempo with gas value will increase in Boston and San Francisco. Yet, on common throughout the U.S., including 100 miles of vary in your internal-combustion car has turn into dearer, relative to charging an EV an equal quantity, during the last couple of months.

Read extra about electrical automobiles from CNBC Pro

Is that prone to change? While oil prices are almost 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.

Using February knowledge, Jeffries analyst David Kelley lately calculated that the entire lifetime value of possession of an EV is about $4,700 lower than that of an internal-combustion car. He stated that value distinction is prone to enhance as extra EVs come to market — and as battery prices proceed to fall — over the subsequent couple of years.

How we crunched the numbers

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

  • How a lot does it value so as to add 100 miles of vary to the typical ICE car and the typical EV?
  • How have these prices modified during the last three years? (Going again three years to February of 2019 provides us a prepandemic baseline.)
  • How have these prices diversified between completely different elements of the U.S.?

For gasoline, the Environmental Protection Agency reported that the typical new car bought 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 gas. (Figures for 2021 have not been launched but.)

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

The common MPGe score for 2022-model-year EVs bought 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 3.9 gallons of gas has modified relative to the worth of 34.7 kWh over time, utilizing month-to-month knowledge from the U.S. Energy Information Administration (for gas prices) and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (for electrical energy charges) from February 2019 via February 2022.

– CNBC’s Crystal Mercedes contributed to this text.


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