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According to Northeast Group (NG), an energy sector research and consulting firm based in Washington D.C., it's "always cheaper to recharge an electric vehicle than to fuel a conventional gas-powered vehicle." In fact, NG claims that in some scenarios, charging a plug-in costs one-tenth as much as fueling a conventional vehicle. Here's NG's exact wording:
In all scenarios we studied, the costs to recharge an electric vehicle were cheaper than fueling a gasoline-powered car. In the most likely electric vehicle charging scenarios, costs were approximately one-tenth to half the costs of fueling a conventional vehicle with gasoline.
NG briefly justifies its claim, stating:
Electric utilities in the U.S. are encouraging the adoption of electric vehicles by rolling out electric vehicle-specific tariffs to their customers. These tariffs take different forms, ranging from time-of-use (TOU) tariffs to flat rate tariffs. With the TOU tariffs, customers receive cheaper rates when they charge during off-peak times. With the flat rate tariffs – i.e. $40 per month – all charging is typically covered.
The study, titled "United States Smart Grid: Utility Electric Vehicle Tariffs," (pdf order form) includes a breakdown of the electric vehicle tariffs from ten utilities in six different U.S. states (California, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, Oregon and Texas) and proves (again) that plug-ins are remarkably cheap to charge.

[Source: Northeast Group | Images: Copyright 2011 Jeff Glucker / AOL]
Show full PR text
Electric Vehicles are One-Tenth to Half the Cost to 'Fuel' Compared With Conventional Gas-Powered Vehicles

WASHINGTON, July 12, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Under current utility electric vehicle (EV) tariffs, it is always cheaper to recharge an EV than to fuel a conventional gas-powered vehicle, according to a new study released today by Northeast Group, LLC. The study benchmarked and analyzed the first wave of EV-specific tariffs launched by electric utilities across the United States.

"In all scenarios we studied, the costs to recharge an electric vehicle were cheaper than fueling a gasoline-powered car. In the most likely EV charging scenarios, costs were approximately one-tenth to half the costs of fueling a conventional vehicle with gasoline," according to Northeast Group, LLC. The cost analysis looked specifically at "fueling" expenses, and did not consider other operating costs of vehicles.

"Electric utilities in the US are encouraging the adoption of electric vehicles by rolling out EV-specific tariffs to their customers. These tariffs take different forms, ranging from time-of-use (TOU) tariffs to flat rate tariffs. With the TOU tariffs, customers receive cheaper rates when they charge during off-peak times (typically nights and weekends). With the flat rate tariffs – e.g. $40 per month – all charging is typically covered. Utilities are now studying which tariffs will best accommodate the increasing number of electric vehicles on US roads," according to Northeast Group, LLC.

The study, "United States Smart Grid: Utility Electric Vehicle Tariffs," includes a benchmark of the EV tariffs of ten different utilities in six different US states (California, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, Oregon and Texas). It provides a description of the different EV tariff structures offered across the country, a list of utilities and their specific EV tariffs, and a comparison and analysis of these tariffs. For example, the study includes an analysis of how different tariffs' costs vary for EV owners depending on distance driven and the time of day an EV is recharged.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 22 Comments
      David
      • 4 Years Ago
      I'm glad someone cleared that up for me.....
        Edge
        • 4 Years Ago
        @David
        Yeah, makes you wonder, what other insights to EV's will come out. No tailpipe pollution! I think the study was to let people know the extent on savings, where everyone more or less knows it's cheaper, but how much cheaper. I like it. There is a really positive vibe coming all the time in regards to EV's. The charging infrastructure is being built, EV's that actually look like real cars, and are cheaper to own over the lifetime of the vehicle, is all pointing to a great EV future.
      mazdamattyp5
      • 4 Years Ago
      I did this math a while ago but I'll say it again in this article just for those who haven't done their own math yet. My small 4cyl hatchback averages about $0.102/mile My power company doesn't offer off-peak rates anymore. instead charging $0.073/kwh, flat rate. A new focus EV (or Leaf) will cost approx. $0.014/mile to operate based on the flat rate. IF my local utility decides to offer an incentive of some kind the gap will widen. It can only get better!
        montoym
        • 4 Years Ago
        @mazdamattyp5
        I agree with budfox. Federal and state govenrments that rely on road taxes (in the form of a gas tax) are not going to idly sit back and watch some of their revenue just slip away. They are already complaining about the loss of revenue as our national fleet has become more fuel efficient. As EV's become a larger part of our national fleet, look for those governments to come calling to claim their fair share. Currently, the national average for gas taxes is $0.495/gallon (info from here, http://www.api.org/statistics/fueltaxes/upload/GASOLINE_TAX_MAP_MAY2011.pdf) Also, consider that EV's use far fewer "gallons" of fuel than a comparable gas-powered vehicle, so the tax for EV's must be higher to maintain a similar tax revenue outcome. The road tax charges per gallon since it can be generalized that larger, heavier vehicels use more fuel so they will pay more taxes than a smaller, lighter vehicle. Consider a comparison. Take two vehicles, one an EV that has a 100mi range and a gas-powered car that achieves 30mpg, both driven 1000mi/month. The gas-powered car will burn roughly 33.3gallons of fuel in that month which means that driver paid (on average) about $16.50 in fuel tax for that month of driving. Now, for the EV driver. In this case, we'll assume it's a Leaf and also assume it can achieve the full 100mi per charge (24kW-hr), also ignoring any charging losses. So, for that same 1,000mi month of driving, the Leaf driver will use 240kW-hrs of electricity at an average cost of $0.11/kW-hr (based on the average figure used by the EPA). This equals $26.40 in electricity per month. But, add in the equivalent road tax that should be applied to an EV driver and that $26.40 climbs to roughly $42.90/month. I'm using the same $16.50 in monthly tax because it seems a fair amount. A typical economy car on the road today isn't one of the new generation of 40mpg fuel sippers. Additionally, most drivers aren't going to achieve the highway mileage during their daily commute so even that 40+mpg figure isn't a good estimate to use anyhow. Additionally, a Leaf weighs pretty much the same as a typical economy car also, so no freebie there. There's also the fact that this road tax becomes a larger potion of the overall cost of refueling the EV as well. For a gas car, the $0.495/gal tax comes out to roughly 13.4% of the refueling cost based on this week's average of $3.682/gal. For an EV though, that added road tax becomes about 38.5% of the total recharging cost. Then, we have the fact that electricity costs "will necessarily rise" as Obama stated and the "cheap" EV's aren't as cheap as they initially seem. Again, I don't disagree that for now, EV's maintain a much lower cost/mile than their gas equivalents and they probably will for the long term. But, for one to assume that the difference will remain constant or that EV's will forever be cheap to recharge, then one is simply not looking at the big picture.
        budfox
        • 4 Years Ago
        @mazdamattyp5
        "IF my local utility decides to offer an incentive of some kind the gap will widen. It can only get better!" I don't think so! To keep the roads in shape they have to somehow include EV drivers. The price of electricity may stay constant, but a tax or toll is unavoidable.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Fireman, you made some mistakes but no biggie. THe Fiesta is not comparable but the Ford Focus hatchback with similar finishings is comparable and its priced around $18K. The Leaf after tax incentive is $24K. Therefore the Leaf would be $4000 per year for 6 years The Focus would be $3000 per year for 6 years. Considering the next 6 years the average $5/gal assumption is cheap but good and therefore about $2500 fuel consumption per year with the Focus. Goto FuelMileage.gov for stats The Leaf will cost between $500 & $1000 per year to "fuel" therefore saving money and giving the owner a $750 advantage over the the Focus after the payments for the car are factored in. Theres gov stats showing that 85% of people drive 26 miles a day. Considering how easy it was to get a no money down, unsecured loan to get solar panels on the roof and power the house and car for free from the Sun, well just more money in my pocket. Add on top all the maintenance costs associated with ICE cars more money saved. Considering how sluggish at best the US and European economies are right now AND completely forgetting about peak oil, americans are going to get rocked within 5 years from a "pick-up" in the economic demand for oil & gas along with some global event that drives oil & gas prices up closer to what the rest of the world pays ($5/L).
        fairfireman21
        • 4 Years Ago
        I was not comparing cars, I was making a point that you can buy cars that get great mileage for a fraction of the cost of an electric.
      fairfireman21
      • 4 Years Ago
      Every body is also not stating that a Leaf costs about $30,000 to buy. $5000 per year for 6 years without interest. Ford Fiesta $14,000 to buy. $2333 per year for 6 years without interest. Differance of $2667. With 33 mpg average at $5.00 per gallon (not there but maybe soon) the price diferance alone would give you 17,600 miles worth of gas per year. Plus you get the added ability of being able to drive a couple hundred miles in less than 2 days. With the mileage the electrics get there is no savings, unless you can get everything within your city, but most people do not have that ability. Plus something else no one ever states is that the 100 mile range is under perfect conditions, no head wind, one passenger, no cargo, no running A/C or heater, add any of that to the car and you will get under 100 miles. Plus it only takes about 10 min to fill up the Fiesta, not hours or thousands of extra dollars that the Leaf needs. Rural America will not get public chargers till everyone has an electric, and the way the economy is the average person can not afford these things yet. But the best cost saver is a car that is already yours. For example my HHR paid for. $30,000 would buy gas for me for over 15 years with gas @ $5.00 per gal, or for over 130,000 miles.
        EJ
        • 4 Years Ago
        @fairfireman21
        I love people who think like you do, it keeps my oil and gas portfolio churning out dividends. Cracks me up that with my solar sourced EV, I'll be driving for free in an EV that you've help pay for.
        Chris M
        • 4 Years Ago
        @fairfireman21
        17,600 miles? Most average drivers would put that much on their car in less than 2 years, after which the plug-ins still has a substantial fuel cost advantage. As for the short range, 90% of daily drives are under 40 miles, well within the range of the Leaf, even with adverse driving conditions, making it the ideal 2nd car for most drivers. Funny thing is, most "gas + EV" owners end up using the EV for their main daily drive, using their gasser as the 2nd car mainly for the rare longer trips. By all means, if you've got a decent car that's paid for, keep it. But sooner or later, you'll be wanting to replace it, and when that happens you really should consider a plug-in.
        Spec
        • 4 Years Ago
        @fairfireman21
        Yeah . . . no. The Leaf is $25K after tax-credit. You don't need public chargers. Yes, up-front gas cars are cheaper. They will always be that way. But over the long haul, the EVs will eventually win out. The key factor is that gas prices are going to keep going up. You are not going to be paying $5/gallon 15 years from now . . . you'll be paying much MUCH higher. Yes, stick with your paid-off car. And right now, the EV market is JUST getting started . . . it is for early adopters and EV fans. You are clearly not the target market for an EV right now. But in a few years, you'll understand.
          fairfireman21
          • 4 Years Ago
          @Spec
          I understand now, the major thing is We would have to have 3 vehicles for 2 drivers. I have to have a vehicle that will tow and or haul (work), and we need one that will make a 180 mile round trip without having to be pluged in (kids and their sports). I have said this from the begining:"They are only good if everything you need to do is close to home".
          fairfireman21
          • 4 Years Ago
          @Spec
          Forgot, The tax credit is only good if you have that much in deductions. So if you have $3000 in deductions that is all you will recieve.
      • 4 Years Ago
      I'm not sure about this study, particularly its future relevance. Recently, Better Place did a study of the Washington DC area and assumed 1 million EVs added to the grid, and hundreds of millions in extra energy costs per year were accrued. To counter this, Better Place is proposing centralized smart grid technology. Without, electricity rates are certain to increase because of electric car charging. Additionally, upgrading grids will add costs. Morever, as already stated, some kind of 'gas tax' is inevitable. EV charging costs are primed to increase, although they will still be cheaper than gasoline. Nevertheless, without tax credits, EVs are dead in the water. Considering that EVs are being sold without profit margins, for instance, massive cost reductions will be required to replace government subsidies and to make EVs profitable. Ultimately, a major battery breakthrough is still required.
      • 4 Years Ago
      If anyone wants real world numbers to work with here are mine. 2004 Mazda 6 Sport Wagon. In 5 years and 2 months of ownership I spent $7475.54 in gas and $3016.35 in maintenance that only pertains to gas vehicles over 73,887.7 miles of driving.
        plph56
        • 3 Years Ago
        Mike, I spent about $1800 each year in fuel for my 2002 Holden sedan in the first few years and then after working hard to reduce my fuel consumption I was able to cut this to $1500 per year in the last few years. This was done by following some of the tips on http://www.ideas-to-save-money.com/shopping/save-money-on-petrol-or-fuel.php
      • 4 Years Ago
      Some real world numbers. The first 400 miles on my Nissan Leaf cost $6.00 (charged off peak). The same 400 miles with my VW running on Biodiesel cost $40.00 and the Dodge Van $72.00. The Leaf is a lot more fun to drive. These numbers are from the Phoenix area with temps of 118 two weeks ago. They should get a lot better as the temps go down.
        sirvixisvexed
        • 4 Years Ago
        So you own a leaf in a very hot climate? How well do you feel your air cooled battery is performing?
        S
        • 4 Years Ago
        Joieh, just exactly how many days did it take you to travel 400 miles?
      Peder Norby
      • 4 Years Ago
      Having just passed 30,000 miles in a Mini-E powered by sunshine, the 90% number is accurate and perhaps a bit high. I have calculated my cost at $0.35 for 24 miles or driving the equivalent distance for a gallon of gas at $3.80. For a basic rule of thumb using $4.00 a gallon for 24 miles as a basis for comparison, if the utility cost is 7 cents per KWH then your cost is $0.42 for 24 miles if the utility cost is 17 cents per KWH then your cost is $1.02 for 24 miles if the utility cost is 27 cents per KWH then your cost is $1.62 for 24 miles You need to know your utility cost and they can vary greatly. Most electric cars are between 3.5 and 4 miles per KWH. When was the last time you saw gas at $0.35 cents a gallon? And remember, the batteries are warranted for as long or longer than most gas powertrains, so the cost of the batteries at replacement should be judged against the cost of replacing the powertrain of a gas car. Could be higher or lower in 8 years. Cheers Peder Mini-E #183, 31,000 sunshine powered miles.
        q3a7vodk4
        • 4 Years Ago
        @Peder Norby
        [quote]And remember, the batteries are warranted for as long or longer than most gas powertrains, so the cost of the batteries at replacement should be judged against the cost of replacing the powertrain of a gas car. Could be higher or lower in 8 years.[/quote] I don't think this makes any sense. 1. Warrantees are useless for anything but factory defects. Ergo you have to prove they messed up at the factory to get a replacement under warranty. Not to mention battery companies go out of business all the time and have horrible customer service or warranty honoring since they're all out of china. 2. Most modern ICE drivetrains with good reliability scores can easily do 2-400 thousand miles without any major issues and last up to 20 years or longer with good care on orignal parts. I just don't know what major expense you're comparing replacing the batteries with. In my opinion, electric cars do not make financial sense at the moment. They cost more to build, buy or convert; this cancels out any energy cost savings and then the price to replace the battery pack is another expense. Yes they are better from a technological standpoint with less moving parts and easier maintenance, but the batteries just kill the economical viability. And yes they're probably lots of fun and quite practical if well built, but all this aside, they're more expensive at the moment. Maybe some new battery tech will greatly improve this but until then, they're for people who don't mind the added expense.
        sirvixisvexed
        • 4 Years Ago
        @Peder Norby
        Great info!
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