Published on June 20th, 2013 | by Zachary Shahan


Electric Car vs Gas Car Cost Calculators

June 20th, 2013 by  

Continuing the electric car cost vs gas car cost discussion, here’s some rumination on a couple new electric car vs gas cost calculators, via EV Obsession:

Electric car cost vs gas car cost is a perennial issue of discussion. Of course, the result keeps changing, and the options for comparison keep growing (as more and more electric cars are available for sale or lease).

In my last most recent comparisons of an electric car vs its gas-powered cousins, the Nissan Leaf showed serious savings in most scenarios compared to the Nissan Juke or Nissan Rogue. Notably, a lot of assumptions go into making such comparisons, and one really has to run the numbers for oneself.

electric car cost vs gas cost

The US Department of Energy (DOE) recently unveiled an eGallon tool for comparing electric car fuel cost vs gas car fuel cost. The tool offers comparisons by state, with regularly updated state electricity and gas price averages. However, you can’t do a full analysis of total ownership costs with the eGallon tool.


But a new tool called Plugwiz does come a few steps closer to that. Inputting an exact electric vehicle (only 2011, 2012, and 2013 models), some electricity and charging details, miles driven per day, MPG on your current car, and the price of gas in your area, you can see the average monthly cost of fueling that specific electric car you chose vs the average monthly cost of fueling your current car, as well as your estimated monthly savings, CO2 savings, and electric car incentives in your area.

So, in the end, using Plugwiz, you can easily find out the monthly fuel savings of an electric car vs your gas car. You can then plug those numbers into a full electric car cost vs gas car cost spreadsheet calculator like the one I’ve created. I prefer using my own spreadsheet for it all since I then know exactly what assumptions go into the calculation, but whatever floats your boat! And I should note that Plugwiz does offer some extra benefits (incorporation of TOU pricing, variation depending on the charger used, variation by exact electric car model, and incentive details by location).

Thoughts on these tools and comparing electric car cost vs gas car cost?

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About the Author

is tryin' to help society help itself (and other species) with the power of the typed word. He spends most of his time here on CleanTechnica as its director and chief editor, but he's also the president of Important Media and the director/founder of EV Obsession, Solar Love, and Bikocity. Zach is recognized globally as a solar energy, electric car, and energy storage expert. Zach has long-term investments in TSLA, FSLR, SPWR, SEDG, & ABB — after years of covering solar and EVs, he simply has a lot of faith in these particular companies and feels like they are good cleantech companies to invest in.

  • Calamity_Jean

    Unfortunately, Plugwiz has vanished or been renamed. I went to the link but couldn’t find it.

  • kam hagh

    awesome !

  • Leon

    The initial cost of the electrical cars a quite cheap compared to regular gas cars and also a little bit cheaper in costs per mile/kilometer.

    But you have to remember that with the current batteries, electrical cars still don’t drive nearly as far on a full battery as a regular car drives on a full tank of gasoline.

    And at the same time there is far less charging stations around than regular gas stations (depending on where in the world you live)

    So you should probally take your driving habbits into considerations to really know how its going to effect your life and your economy.

  • Marion Meads

    Perhaps the next generation calculator will let you type in home address and work address. From these basic information, you will also deduce from Google’s map, not only the distance, but elevation and traffic by time of your commute and day of the week. Info is available from google. It can all be factored in to the type of car used, especially the gas idling in the traffic during rush hour commute time.

    • There’s definitely a lot of room for improvement for app hackers to step in and offer something better.

  • Marion Meads

    Fuel cost is only one factor that influences my car preference. The feel of the ride is number 1 for me that is why I am not a fan of “tin” box cars, then followed by emissions and environmental impact, then by patriotism, cost of fuel and other minor factors.

    This is complicated by the fact that you will not justify the cost of the car by savings in fuel. How will you justify alloy wheels, sun-roof, leather seats and other options with the savings in fuel? How will you calculate the value of the joy of instant torque, the generally silent ride, the way it can turn on a dime, and other quirks of your personal liking?

    The total cost of your car can be recovered several times over by savings in taxes if you use it for business and charge by the standard mileage when using an EV or plug-in EV, it is a lop-sided calculation.

    • Some very good points. Too much emphasis is indeed placed on cost. But that’s the last branch a lot of people cling to to justify not changing to the next tech faster.

  • Mark Harnett

    Very interesting spreadsheet. The $0.12 /kWh cost for electricity is pretty conservative. If you charge at night with PG&E in California, it drops to $0.05.

    Another big advantage of PG&E electric car rate tariff (E9), is that you can get a huge multiplier effect if you combine it with solar panels and Net Metering. With Net Metering on a normal tariff you make $0.35/kWh during the day while exporting your power, and then pay $0.10/kWh at night. This gives you a 3.5x multiplier on your production. With the E9 rate, this goes to $0.35/kWH in the day to $0.05 kWh at night for a 7 Times multiplier. The net effect here is that buying an electric car combined with Solar Net Metering saves you even more money each year.

    • Great points! I always encourage people to put in their own numbers when I publish the comparisons, bcs there’s so much room for variation. But my understanding is that a lot of utilities now offer attractive EV charging rates. And, of course, anywhere with TOU pricing offers some attractive rates for smart owners.

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