#1 cleantech news, reviews, & analysis site in the world. Subscribe today. The future is now.

Cars no image

Published on January 30th, 2014 | by Zachary Shahan


Buy Electric Car, Watch Your Electric Bill Go Down?

January 30th, 2014 by  

Some of the more interesting stories I run across these days come from the GM-Volt.com forum. There’s quite an active community over there, and a great mix of EV experts and EV newcomers (note that, as always, EV is a term that I consider to be inclusive of PHEV). In a post just added 12 hours ago, a Volt newbie shared an interesting and exciting personal finding: his electric bill has gone down since he got his Volt.

Confused? Here’s his full post from wmwest74:

I purchased my Volt with the expectation that my gas savings would more than offset any increase in my electric bill. Weird thing is my electric bill has gone down and not up.

I never quantified how much changing all my lights to CFL would save, but apparently my lighting upgrades have more than offset charging the Volt every night. I’ve never gotten a good feeling from an electric bill before.

Chevy Volt; the gift that keeps on giving.

Makes more sense now, eh? But still, it highlights a couple of key points:

  1. If you’re still using incandescent light bulbs, you’re throwing your money away! (Also note that there are several affordable LEDs on the market now that are even better than CFLs for reducing your energy costs.)
  2. Charging an electric vehicle doesn’t actually require as much electricity as you might have thought.

There are already plenty of useful and interesting replies in the GM-Volt.com forum. I’ll share a few more below in case you don’t want to click over.

First of all, also note that time of use (TOU) pricing can also help you to lower your electric bill. From VikAiRious:

My overall yearly pre-Volt charging electric bill went down when I got my Volt and moved to the Time of Use plan

Funny thing is – PG&E offers a new EV car electric plan – and it’s higher than all the other plans listed on their plan comparison page on their website.

The TOU plan I currently have is $300 a year less than all other plans. I’m sticking with this plan, I’m doing OK!

Replying to that comment, rduniii concurs:

Ditto. EVA is quite the deal isn’t it. I’ll stick with E9A as long as they will let me. My electric bill hasn’t changed up or down. If you are already in tier 3 or 4 then EVA can save you some big bucks. I’ve got a friend with a Leaf whose electric bill went down $250/month with EVA.

Yet another forum member, Phronesis, echoes the electricity savings he/she saw after getting a Volt and switching to a TOU electricity rate (something ~80% of California EV owners do):

I really didn’t notice any change when I first got my Volt. Then we went to a whole house TOU rate for EV owners. The drop was about 25% on average, adding to the savings I was seeing by not going to the gas station every week or two. Adding a second Volt didn’t even cause a ripple. All charging is done off-peak to maximize the savings.

blackmamba notes that his/her electricity bill didn’t go down after getting a Volt, but it did remain stable. This Volt owner also tags on the big question:

Can’t say our electric bill has decreased post-Volt, but has remained stable and we still come out using “less than your average neighbor” for a Good Rating from our electric company. We have also replaced some but not yet all lights with leds. Oh, but how much less expense at the gas pump altar!

And a senior forum member with a license plate spelling out “SUN FUEL,” flmark, adds a note regarding how you can go even further (something CleanTechnica readers would certainly consider):

Not really surprising. The Volt makes you think about kwh as a resource. Once you do that, you start seeing all the ways resources can be conserved. We were well down this path before we got the Volt. I have written a bunch of articles on such items. (ie, http://gm-volt.com/2013/04/16/new-le…evse-possible/) We now get paid by the utility for the annual excess of kwh that our solar produces. Unfortunately, they pay you at wholesale rates, so I now have very little incentive to see where any more kwh can be saved- at either home or office.

And in one final comment (so far), Aus1 chimes in with a key place you can save even more electricity:

The usual biggest consumer all year round is a fridge.
Down size and buy the most energy efficient fridge…….
In my case New Fridge payed for itself in less than 5 years, less cleaning – now I’m enjoying the savings.

When ever I buy a new appliance energy efficiency is the most highest requirement and that usually allows a good selection and not necessarily the most expensive either.

ps. I too have not noticed any Volt electricity expense (Must be offset with my on grid solar array and savings made in the house)
Even I hadn’t it would consume like a small bar fridge and that’s NOTHING considering how far you can drive on that!

So, next time I run cost comparisons between an EV and a gas drinker, maybe I should actually make the EV’s “fuel” costs negative. 🙂

Here’s some more recommended EV reading:

1. Chevy Spark EV vs Chevy Spark Gas Drinker — Which Is Cheaper? (Oregon & California)

2. Owners Of Solar Panels & EVs Get Solar 1st, 85.5% Buy Their Solar Panels (CT Survey Results)

3. Understanding Electric Car Owners & Potential Electric Car Owners (14 Charts & Tables)

4. 39% Of California EV Owners Have Solar Panels (Infographic)

5. 13 New Electric Vehicles For Sale In 2014

6. 11 Electric Cars That Cost Less Than The Average New Car In The US

7. Electric Cars For Sale In US In 2014

8. 8 Reasons Electric Cars Kick Your Car’s Boot


Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

About the Author

Zach is tryin' to help society help itself (and other species). He spends most of his time here on CleanTechnica as its director and chief editor. He's also the president of Important Media and the director/founder of EV Obsession and Solar Love. Zach is recognized globally as an electric vehicle, solar energy, and energy storage expert. He has presented about cleantech at conferences in India, the UAE, Ukraine, Poland, Germany, the Netherlands, the USA, and Canada. 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. But he offers no professional investment advice and would rather not be responsible for you losing money, so don't jump to conclusions.

Back to Top ↑