# Estimates of EV Charging Costs vs. Gas Car Fueling Costs Are Misleading

I just saw a featured headline on Google yesterday: “Is EV Charging Cheaper Than Gasoline? Here’s What the Math and Experts Say.” Right away, I thought, “ugh….” I conducted cost of ownership analyses and comparisons between gas cars and electric cars for years, and anyone who has done even one of those knows there are a lot of different factors that vary from person to person. Now, on the plus side, this article was not about total cost of ownership, so we don’t need to factor in resale value/depreciation, maintenance, insurance costs, etc. That makes it much simpler. But it’s still not a simple math equation that’s going to be the same everywhere for all people.

There are a few key factors that influence fuel versus charging costs: 1) the average price of gas for the timeframe you’re considering, 2) the average price of electricity for the timeframe you’re considering, 3) the efficiency of the vehicles you’re comparing.

Taking the national average on the first two and then picking two similarly shaped vehicles on the third is not going to be helpful or relevant to most of us. That means giving someone a simple mathematical answer without explaining the nuances to them will be misleading, potentially highly misleading.

Also, within #1, realize that you need to figure out the average you would pay over the course of the time period you’re comparing. 3 years? 5 years? No one knows the answer, because we don’t know how gas prices, which can be highly volatile, will change in that time. Within #2, what is critical is not just how home electricity prices will change in that same timeframe, but also how much you are charging at home versus using free charging at work or shops versus using much more expensive high-power fast charging. I charged using free chargers for years, so my charging cost was close to \$0 for a long time. Some people regularly drive long distances and use fast chargers frequently. Also, again, within the compared timeframe, one must consider if those habits and norms will change.

Regarding the compared models, maybe you’re genuinely comparing two similarly efficient models, but maybe you’re comparing a large inefficient truck and a much more efficient crossover. This matters a lot, of course. What are your priorities and what models pull on your heart strings?

All in all, as you can see, you can’t say across the board that an EV is going to be much cheaper, or more expensive, than an alternative gas vehicle. That said, electric drivetrains are about 3–4× more efficient than internal combustion engines, and charging with home electricity is much cheaper than adding the same amount of driving power from gasoline. But, yeah, generalizations are just that — they may apply to you, or may not.

Anyway, getting back to that article I referenced at the top, it’s hard not to be intrigued with what their math or experts had to say. Here’s the key summary:

Using US averages, we found the monthly cost of charging an EV to be \$66.66 versus \$182.50 to fuel an ICE car.

Using the same figures above, here’s a yearly costs comparison:

• \$2,190 yearly average cost to fuel an ICE car
• \$799.92 yearly average cost to charge an EV
• That’s a yearly difference of \$1,390.08

Now, they did also make note of the various nuances and matters to consider. So, the article itself was good. But I’ll say one last time: you have to input your own assumptions in order to really do a relevant comparison for yourself. The good news is, based on the averages, many of us can expect to save a lot of money by driving a car on electricity rather than gasoline. That’s certainly been the case for me!

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