A driver uses a fast-charging station for electricity in the cell phone parking lot at the John F. Kennedy (JFK) Airport on April 02, 2021 in New York City.
Spencer Platt | Getty Images
It’s been like this for years: mile by mile, it’s cheaper – generally much cheaper – to charge an electric vehicle than to refuel one with an internal combustion engine.
That has been a key selling point for Tesla and other EV makers, especially during times when gas prices have risen, such as now. But this time around, there’s a wrinkle: While gas prices have indeed risen in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, so have electricity prices — especially in some parts of the US that were big markets for Tesla’s EVs.
That begs a question: is it still true that it’s much cheaper to “fuel” an EV? The graphs below help us find the answer.
The first chart, using national figures, provides a baseline. The others use data specific to Boston and San Francisco, two markets where EVs are popular — and where electricity tends to be more expensive than the national average.
The answer in all three cases is that – even with regional increases in the price of electricity – it’s still a lot more expensive to fill your gas tank than to recharge your EV’s battery.
Electricity rates have roughly kept pace with gas price increases in Boston and San Francisco. But on average in the US, adding 100 miles of range to your internal combustion vehicle has become more expensive compared to charging an EV an equivalent amount over the past few months.
Will that likely change? While oil prices will almost certainly fall in the coming months as producers increase production, the price of electricity is unlikely to rise enough to make EVs less affordable over their lifecycle than internal combustion alternatives.
Using data from February, Jeffries analyst David Kelley recently calculated that the total cost of ownership of an electric car is about $4,700 lower than an internal combustion vehicle. He said the cost differential is likely to widen as more EVs hit the market — and as battery prices continue to fall — in the coming years.
How we cracked the numbers
We had three questions in mind when we put together these charts:
How much does it cost to add 100 miles of range to the average ICE vehicle and the average EV? How have those costs changed over the past three years? (Going back three years to February 2019, we get a prepandemic baseline.) How did those costs vary between different parts of the US?
For gasoline, the Environmental Protection Agency reported that the average new vehicle sold in the U.S. in 2020 had a combined fuel economy of 25.7 miles per gallon. Driving 100 miles in that average vehicle would use 3.9 gallons of gas. (Figures for 2021 have not yet been released.)
On the electric vehicle side, the EPA efficiency rating for EVs — called “MPGe,” for miles per gallon equivalent — gives consumers an idea of how far an EV can travel on a 33.7 kilowatt-hour (kWh) charge. Why 33.7 kWh? That is the amount of electricity that is chemically equivalent to the energy in a liter of regular gasoline.
The average MPGe rating for model year 2022 EVs sold in the US is about 97, so driving 100 miles in that hypothetical average vehicle would consume 34.7 kWh of electricity.
The charts above compare how the price of 3.9 gallons of gas has changed over time versus the price of 34.7 kWh, using monthly data from the US Energy Information Administration (for gas prices) and the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (for electricity rates) from February 2019 to February 2022.
– CNBC’s Crystal Mercedes contributed to this article.
This post Cost of Charging EV vs. Gas Prices
was original published at “https://www.cnbc.com/2022/03/19/cost-of-charging-ev-vs-gas-prices.html”