Cost to own an electric car vs a gasoline car

Let’s try to calculate whether the vehicle will move towards electric in USA. What is cheaper to own: a car with gasoline, diesel, gas or on electricity?

Counting methods

We won’t take into account all individual cases: Petrol, propane gas, butane, diesel, etc., and we’ll take the most common one, AI92 Petrol. Prices for May 2020. Also, we will not take into account electric cars assembled in the garage, or electric cars with extra high consumption in the category of off-road vehicles. We will make a comparison of the most common cars in the mass market.

We do not take into account the total cost of ownership of a vehicle, such as: Insurance, Repair, Wash, Penalties, Taxes, Winter/Summer Tire Set, Parking, etc., as they are currently the same for both cars with internal combustion engines and electric cars.

The advantages for electric cars include free parking in metropolitan areas and shopping malls, but we did not take this into account, as it is local and temporary. You can consider this parameter on your own. Also a plus is the fact that in electric cars are already factory installed video recorders and navigators.

Lets start

Since there are so many states in the U.S., we took the average price of home electricity. We considered three options for charging: 1 – during the day, this is the most realistic option; 2 – free of charge, there is a large infrastructure of free high-speed charging for residents of megacities, and moreover, many owners of electric cars use only free charging; 3 – paid superchargers for forced charging in an unknown place. As for exploitation in winter, the average value was taken – 20% of days in a year are winter days. For the harshest winter conditions the costs of cabin heating and battery heating reduce the distance by 2 times and thus increase the consumption by 2 times. For internal combustion engines, winter consumption is 10% higher than summer consumption.

Table for comparing travel costs with an electric car per year.

Electric Fuel Comments
Consumption 100 km 15 kWT 8 L
0-Gasoline 1 L – 0.6$ 5
1-Home 1kWT – 0.13$ 1.95 like 3.25 litres per 100 km
14000 km / year – $ 273 672
Winter* 328 685 20% of winter days, electricity twice as much, gasoline 10% more.
2-Free 0 like 0 litres per 100 km
14000 km / year – $ 0
3-Supercharger 1kWT – 0.25$ 3.75 like 6.25 litres per 100 km
14000 km / year – $ 525

Conclusions: we can temporarily pay nothing at all for our movement, in the most expensive case we will pay 25% cheaper than the cost of gasoline.

Description: Let’s say the average American drives 14,000 km per year. This average American has an average car, which on average spends 8 liters per 100 km of mixed cycle. It turns out that gasoline consumes 5 USD per 100 km. If the same average American wants to switch to an electric car, his electric car will consume an average of 15 kW per 100 km. And that’s where three payment options come in: 1 – in the average realities of a fast unprepared transition it will be necessary to pay 1,95 USD, which in recalculation for the usual consumption in liters will be 3.25 liters per 100 km; 2 – an ideal option of state support, but is temporary in capitalist countries, 0 liters per 100 km; 3 – for those who are not interested in the cost of charging, 6.25 liters per 100 km.

From the calculation that the new original battery worth 5-7 thousand dollars for Tesla Model 3 will be enough for 500-700 thousand kilometers, we will take into account possible depreciation. Of course, you can do the repair of individual cells or do not take this parameter into account at all, because the car can be sold in 5 years of operation without repair, but the service of a car with an internal combustion engine on gasoline can not be postponed to better times. It is also necessary to take into account the fact that in 5-10 years lithium-ion batteries will be replaced by fundamentally new batteries, which will increase the service life of batteries until the end of life of the car and more. There are cheap batteries, for example, the cost of battery on Nissan Leaf is 4 thousand dollars. For Chinese electric cars – the homeland of lithium, the cost of battery from CATL will be cheaper than the above mentioned. Of course, it would be fair to calculate for the gasoline engine and its depreciation too, because not all cars walk more than 500 thousand kilometers and require a internal combustion engine with the replacement of valves, cylinders, heads, etc. For electric, no repairs are required, except “brush cleaning”.

Table for comparing the maintenance costs of an electric car for 5 years.

Car running costs for 5 years Electric Fuel
Motor oil 211
Air filter 14
ATCP oil 225
Oxygen sensor 49
Spark plugs 35
FDM Belt 70
Gearbox oil 39
Battery depreciation* 730
Total Difference 769$




Conclusions: if the car owner will sell his electric car, the cost for 5 years will be 39 USD, but for the most rigid assessment, the most critical skeptics, we take into account the full replacement of the battery from the factory – 730 USD for 5 years, more expensive theoretical comparative service is simply not possible.

We will not compare the case when it is clear that owning an electric car can cost 0 USD for 5 years. After all, it is possible: we fill up on free charging, we do not change the oil in the gearbox and we do not fix the battery. Then the savings for 5 years will be exactly what the owner of a gasoline engine would spend on gasoline refueling and car service. If you choose NIO ES8 Performance with engine 544 hp and 4.7 sec. acceleration up to a hundred – you pay nothing for these characteristics, the consumption per 100 km of this model – 16.47 kW, imagine how much you would pay for the consumption of 544 strong V12, for example, like Hummer or Dodge. How much can it cost to maintain a maximum electric car per year? Let’s imagine that the owner of an electric car doesn’t fix the battery, doesn’t change it under the warranty and doesn’t buy a new one from the factory after 600 thousand runs.

Consumption + Costs for 5 years Electric Fuel
1-Home 1kWT for 5 years 2407 4033
Difference 1626
2-Free for 5 years 769 3966
Difference 3197
3-Supercharger 1kWT for 5 years 3394 3966
Difference 572

Conclusions: even in the most unfavorable light we remain in a noticeable advantage. The range of benefits will be from 572 to 3197 USD for 5 years of ownership of an electric car with an average consumption of 15 kW per 100 km in USA for trips of 14000 km per year.

Our future

If we look at a distant, utopian future for our thinking, the movement in the very long term goes into a shared economy, when the vehicle will no longer be owned by the consumer and all fixed and variable costs will be borne by transnational corporations – new owners. Given the huge volumes, corporations will be able to cut their costs for maintenance materials and repairs by several times, and electricity infrastructure will also be significantly cheaper through renewable energy and gas stations of the same standard, as well as through vertical integration in the industry from production to service to the end user, using the Tesla example. Tesla also integrates horizontally across the entire vertical line – becoming a standalone power producer by removing power brokers, it becomes a taxi company – removing brokers like Uber. Buyers will move into the category of service consumers, who will only have to use taxi services on autopilots, and owning a vehicle will be perceived as something judged contrary to the newly established laws of the beneficiaries. An individual electric car and independent driving will be a luxury or sporting entertainment, while a petrol car will be a museum piece. It is not known how soon such a future will come, at least you can trace it by the way the new generation will treat the vehicle – a public electronic device, a tablet on wheels. And we will forget what car drivers looked like – garage masters who gave names to their iron pets, knew every detail in their car, smelled of oil and gasoline.

# electric car consumption
#cost of ownership of an electric car
# electric car vs gasoline