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How Much Does It Cost To Charge An Electric Car?

How Much Does It Cost To Charge An Electric Car?

Key Points

  • Electric cars generally cost less to fuel on a weekly or monthly basis than traditional gasoline-powered vehicles.
  • The average cost of charging an electric car can be around $35 to $45 dollars a month, depending on battery capacity and electricity costs.
  • Electric cars have lower maintenance costs compared to gasoline-powered cars, with fewer routine maintenance appointments per year.
  • Public charging stations can be more expensive and may cause unnecessary wear to the battery, so at-home charging is a more economical and battery-friendly option.

Does it really cost more to own an electric car? While initial costs may be higher, you may be surprised by how much you’d save using an EV as your daily driver. If you’ve been wondering how much it costs to charge an electric car, this guide is for you.

Electric cars generally can cost far less to fuel on a weekly or monthly basis than a traditional gasoline-powered vehicle. With gas prices soaring, switching to an electric car may serve you and your household well.

If you’ve been curious as to what the day-to-day costs of owning an EV are, then let’s take a plunge and get right into it.

Is It Cheaper to Fuel an EV?

Generally speaking, an electric car is far cheaper to keep running on a weekly basis. Electrical power, even in the most expensive states, costs less than gasoline or diesel at the pump.

Gas prices have been hovering well over $3 dollars a gallon for years now. As such, even a modestly sized gas tank leads to fueling costs of well over $40 dollars a week. Over a month, you’re looking at costs of $100 or more just to keep the gas tank at full on a weekly basis.

Over a year, it really adds up. In comparison to the cost to charge an electric car, it is quite a stark difference.

The average cost of charging an electric car can be around $35 to $45 dollars a month. This of course will depend on the battery capacity and the cost of electricity per kilowatt-hour in your locality.

Figuring Out the Actual Cost to Charge an Electric Car

If you’re curious about how to calculate the cost to charge an electric car, you’ll need a few pieces of information. You’ll need to know the cost of electricity per kilowatt-hour from your power company.

You’ll also need to know the capacity of your EV’s battery. The manufacturer of your EV should have this information readily available in a menu for the infotainment system and some other locations.

Using the ever-popular Tesla Model 3 as an example, you would be looking at around $5 to $8 to charge the battery to full. This is going off of Tesla’s provided 50 kWh to 82 kWh battery capacity. This is assuming electricity costs $0.10 per kilowatt-hour.

These figures will change drastically if you’re relying on public charging. You could expect figures well into the cost of gasoline depending on the charging infrastructure you’re choosing to use.

Home charging is a highly economical choice, even in states like California where electricity costs nearly $0.20 per kilowatt-hour.

The Cost to Charge an Electric Car vs. Fueling a Gasoline-Powered Car

cost to charge an electric car
The Ford F-150 Lightning is one of the more expensive EVs to charge, averaging $11 to charge to full.

There are multiple considerations to keep in mind when looking at switching to an EV from a conventional gasoline-powered car. Beyond just the simple cost of fuel, there are other costs associated with owning an EV.

That said, an EV is going to come out much cheaper than a gasoline-powered vehicle when it comes to fuel costs.

Take for example two of the most popular vehicles in the country, the Tesla Model 3 and the Toyota Camry. As previously discussed, the Tesla Model 3 costs around $6 to $8 to fully charge.

The Toyota Camry, for the sake of comparison, has a 15.8-gallon gas tank. With gas prices averaging around $3.58 a gallon across the nation, this makes for a costly weekly transaction. You’d be looking at spending roughly $57 a week just to fill the tank.

You don’t have to be a mathematics whiz to know the difference between $6 and $57 is quite substantial. Going off weekly fueling, you’d be looking at $24 a month to fuel the Model 3 versus $228 a month for the Camry.

Just fueling the EV is an exponential difference in terms of savings. That isn’t diving into the other details like routine maintenance and emissions testing if applicable to your state.

Which is Better for You?

Strictly speaking, the electric car should provide savings all around. This does account for the higher initial costs as well as additional fees some states might charge for simply running an electric car.

Everyone knows a gasoline-powered car is going to be subject to taxes and other fees for your locality. These fees as well as routine maintenance are all aspects of owning an internal combustion engine-powered vehicle that people have grown accustomed to at this point.

If you’re more eco-conscious, then it is also worth mentioning that electric cars don’t produce emissions. Some states have this as part of the standard expectations of owning a vehicle. An electric vehicle isn’t subjected to emissions standards, however.

EVs have no exhaust system, so there is zero need to subject them to the same sort of standards you might expect of any other vehicle on the road today.

Considerations to Keep in Mind

Gasoline-powered cars are complex machines, just like an EV. However, gasoline-powered cars require routine maintenance to a more extensive degree compared to an EV. You’ll have typical things done yearly like fluid changes and flushes.

That isn’t to say EVs have zero maintenance to keep them up and running. You’ll be doing fairly standard things like getting your alignment checked, tire changes, rotations, and brake changes. These routine maintenance expenses are spaced out far more, however.

A gas-powered car will likely have at least a few maintenance appointments per year. When you consider the length of time needed before tire changes and the like, it comes out that an EV is a far cheaper proposition.

Public Charging vs. At-Home Charging

Now, much of this guide is built on the concept of using your own electrical infrastructure at home to fuel your EV. If you’re going on a longer trip that exceeds the overall operational range of your EV, you’ll be planning to use public charging infrastructure.

Some states offer up free public chargers, but you may have to pay. The rates can greatly vary depending on who owns the charging station and how much of your battery has been depleted. You’ll look at an average of $10 to $30 to charge your EV at a public charging station.

Public charging has the caveat of being overall worse for the battery. The lithium-ion battery packs that power EVs respond better to slower trickles of power at 110 or 220 volts. Fast chargers can cause unnecessary wear to the battery, so approach using them with caution.

Other Costs of Ownership

cost to charge an electric car
The Kia EV6 is a great choice for first-time owners looking for an EV that is cheap to charge.

There is a bit of bad information out in the wild about the actual costs of owning an EV. Yes, you can expect to pay more, but that’s only because there isn’t much of a second-hand market. You’ll also likely be paying more in insurance coverage as well.

The main reason for this is that you’re typically going to be getting most EVs new, which means the insurance coverage you need to carry is far more expensive as a result.

This can seem like an EV is more expensive out of the gate. The truth is you’d be paying more on insurance with a new car either way.

Now, there are occasionally other fees, like some states charging an additional EV expense every year or two years. This can seem like it would be more expensive, but factoring in how much you’re saving on gas leads to this being a non-issue.

Your home power bill will likely go up, but in most localities, you’re looking at an increase of between $40 to $60 a month. Compared to spending hundreds of dollars monthly on keeping a gas-powered car on the road, it comes out a fair bit cheaper.

Should You Switch to an Electric Car?

EVs are still in their infancy as a mode of transportation. That said, there are many who have made the switch to alternative fuel sources. The market itself is only growing, and there will be more second-hand vehicles on the market as time goes on.

If you’re on the fence, check around your local area to see what electrical infrastructure is present. You might be surprised as to how much support you’ll have driving an EV, even on extremely long road trips.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are EVs cheaper to fuel than regular cars?

Very much so, you’ll spend far less charging at home than you would at the pump.

Do EVs have comparable range to gas cars?

Not quite, but battery technology is quickly approaching that range.

Does insurance cost more for an EV?

Not really, the vehicle being electric generally has minimal sway on what determines your overall policy cost.

Do EVs cost more per year to run?

No, you’ve got far fewer fuel costs and maintenance costs to worry about.

Is charging an EV at home viable?

It isn’t just viable, it is the preferred method of powering an EV. Home charging is economical and better for the battery health of your EV.

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