Union Of Concerned Scientists Says It’s Cheaper To Drive An EV Than A Conventional Car


The Union of Concerned Scientists has released a new study that finds it is cheaper to drive an EV than a conventional car — about $770 a year cheaper, on average. Let’s begin by acknowledging that numbers can be interpreted in many interesting ways and those savings may or may not apply to you and the way you drive. But looking at American drivers as a whole and adjusting for regional variations in electricity costs and other factors, that’s the number the UCS says it is comfortable with. Electric car study UCSThe study looked at electricity prices in 50 metropolitan areas in the US and researched what off-peak rate plans were available. It found that savings if a driver uses electricity instead of gasoline range from a low of $443 to a high of $1,077 a year. The difference between rates for electricity during peak periods and off peak periods ranged from $0.03 per kilowatt-hour to $0.21 per kilowatt-hour. You can investigate the city nearest to where you live by clicking on the link above. Tesla was impressed enough by the report to tweet about it to its millions of Twitter followers.

The status of EV incentives is up in the air right now due to the scramble by members of Congress to jump to the tune called by the Koch Brothers and their greed crazed ilk on tax cuts to benefit the super rich, but UCS has advice for those interested in purchasing an electric car regardless of what feckless leaders in Washington do.

  • Evaluate the ability to get electric power where you intend to park an EV.
  • Find out about rate options available for charging an EV, especially whether your electric provider offers time-of-use rates.
  • Research the availability of state, local, and electricity-provider incentives for buying an EV or EV charging equipment.

It also has a list of recommendations for policy makers and utility company managers.

  • Access to lower-cost electricity rate plans are key to making EVs a reliable and affordable alternative to gasoline vehicles.
  • Access to reliable and public charging, especially fast-charging stations, are needed for those drivers who cannot charge at home and those who must drive long distances.
  • Public policies that improve charging options at apartments and multi-unit dwellings will broaden the base of drivers who can choose an EV.
  • Making separate rates for EV and household electricity available could lower the cost for EV charging for more consumers.
  • Rate plans, pricing mechanisms, and smart-charging technologies that encourage the coordination of EV charging with the availability of renewable electricity sources will decrease charging costs and further reduce heat-trapping emissions.

In other words, EV incentives are not the only reason to buy an electric car. Lower maintenance costs and lower operating costs combine to save EV drivers money. That’s the bottom line. As the price of electric cars continues to fall, local governments and utilities must do their part to create an environment that makes driving an electric car worry free. In the end, EVs have to be as convenient to drive as conventional cars if the transition from fossil fuels to EVs is to be successful.

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Closely following the transition from internal combustion to electricity. Whether it’s cars, trucks, ships, or airplanes, sustainability is the key. Please follow me on Google + and Twitter.

  • RobSez

    Where I live the UCC calculates $0.82/gallon-equivalent. I calculated $0.89/gallon-equivalent last year. So, if we split the difference gasoline would have to be about $0.86/gallon for an ICE to refuel as cheaply as I charge my Leaf. I don’t see that ever happening. I’ll stick to driving an EV. I average around 1,500 miles a month and it costs me about $40/month, including charging away from home for the electricity. Occasionally, it might cost me $50. Most of the people I know spend $40-$50 a week for all that ‘cheap’ gasoline I keep hearing about that’s supposedly killing EV sales. No thanks.

  • bioburner

    Well yes. The study focus on fuel cost. My 2016 Volt delivers way over 4.5 miles per KWH and my electric prices are around 8 cents per KWH. The cost of fuel on an EV is not expensive. Having to buy 2 EVSEs in the last 5 years pretty much cancelled out any monetary savings I realized on fuel and the killer loss in value for a Nissan Leaf at trade in time has definitely put me in the RED. I’m thinking the Volt I got last year will provide a better cost analysis.

  • Jim Smith

    I love the leftist propaganda…of course any tax cuts will “be for the rich” because the “rich” pay the vast majority of all taxes.