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Posted on EVANNEX on December 10, 2021, by Charles Morris
Is driving an EV really cheaper than burning gas or diesel? As you, dear readers, surely know, the short answer is yes. Most of us are saving anywhere from 50 to 70 percent on our energy bills since going electric. However, there is a longer answer—the cost of charging depends on many factors, and topping up on the road is quite a different proposition from charging overnight at home.
The Wall Street Journal is generally a reliable EV skeptic, but a recent article entitled “How Much Do Electric Vehicles Cost to ‘Fill Up’ Compared With Buying Gasoline?” presented a pretty balanced picture of charging costs. For whatever reason, the authors ignored the most efficient EV on the road, the Tesla Model 3, and chose instead to compare the 2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E and the Toyota RAV4.
The WSJ correctly notes that charging at home is much cheaper than buying gas, but that the amount of savings varies widely depending on where you live. The WSJ analyzed 15 cities, and found that the Mach-E beat the RAV4 in every case. In Spokane, Washington, which has relatively expensive gasoline but cheap electrical power, a Mach-E driver could save $899 a year compared to a RAV4 owner. On the other hand, in New York City, where both electricity and gasoline are pricey, the Mach-E driver would save only around $428.
Of course, buying and installing a home charger has its costs. EV owners can expect to pay around $500 for a good UL-listed charging station, and other grand or so for an electrician. In some areas, local incentives can ease the pain—for example, Los Angeles utility customers may be eligible for a $500 rebate. Some homeowners, particular those living in older buildings, will find that their electrical panel lacks the capacity to add a dedicated 240-volt circuit for EV charging, and installing a new one can be expensive. Fortunately, there’s an affordable workaround: a handy gadget such as NeoCharge’s Smart Splitter or the simpleSwitch from B&B Technology Solutions allows you to safely piggyback on an existing 240-volt circuit.
So, charging at home is convenient and cheap, and polar bears and grandchildren love it. When you head out on the road, however, it’s a different story. Highway fast chargers are steadily becoming more numerous and more convenient, but they will probably never be cheap. The WSJ calculated the cost of a 300-mile road trip, and found that an EV driver can usually expect to pay just as much as, or more than a gas-burner would.
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