The Department of Energy's eGallon is intended to let plug-in vehicle drivers know how much they're saving per mile compared to motorists in gas-powered rides. It's not perfect (the numbers behind the methodology need to be updated, for starters) but it does attempt to give the average driver an easy-to-understand price tag to look at. Turns out, says the Northeast Group, a Washington, DC-based smart infrastructure market intelligence firm, even the low number that the DOE provides isn't accurately low enough.

Michigan and California are the two states with the highest number of EV-friendly utilities.

In fact, the Northeast Group says that charging your car can be, on average, 34 percent cheaper than what eGallon says it is. In a new press release (available below), the Northeast Group says that despite the average nationwide eGallon cost of $1.14, the real number for many should be $0.93 per gallon equivalent, since some electric utilities offer lower EV charging tariffs. The 93-cent number comes from a new study called "United States Smart Grid: Utility Electric Vehicle Tariffs (Volume III)" that includes numbers from the 24 utilities in the US that have a special EV tariff. Those utilities are in 13 states, and if you average out the regular eGallon cost there, you come up with $1.40, hence 34 percent. As a bonus, we now know that Michigan and California are the two states with the highest number of EV-friendly utilities. Ninety percent of Michiganders, and 80 percent of Californians, live in a place where they could get discounted EV charging rates.

In earlier editions of the annual EV tariff study, which have been released in early July in 2011 and 2012, the Northeast Group found that electric vehicles cost a lot less to refuel than gasoline vehicles (Volume I) and that only six percent of US utilities offer electric vehicle tariffs (Volume II).
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Electric vehicle tariffs on average 34% cheaper than eGallon

WASHINGTON, July 8, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- There are currently more than 100,000 plug-in electric vehicles (EVs) on the roads in the United States. A key factor in EVs' rising popularity is charging costs that are much lower on average than comparable gasoline fueling costs. In June, the US Department of Energy increased transparency with its launch of the "eGallon" metric, making comparisons with the price of gasoline easier. With the majority of charging done at home, EV drivers are now looking to their utilities to offer special tariffs to make EV charging even more affordable.

The average national price of a gallon of gasoline was $3.65 as of June 30th. The eGallon averaged $1.14 per gallon equivalent across all 50 states. Electric utilities offering special EV tariffs for their customers were even cheaper at an average of $0.93 per gallon equivalent, according to a new study published today by Northeast Group, LLC. The study United States Smart Grid: Utility Electric Vehicle Tariffs (Volume III) includes a benchmark of all utilities in the US that have launched EV tariffs.

Northeast Group's benchmark found that there were 24 utilities located across 13 states offering EV tariffs. In these 13 states, the average DOE eGallon was $1.40, but the average EV tariff cost was just $0.93. This is a discount of 34 of the state's residents, and has been at the forefront of the EV market for several years. Michigan had four utilities offering EV tariffs, reaching more than 90% of the state's residents, as the state is eager to facilitate the shift for its car manufacturers from conventional vehicles to EVs.

In addition to launching EV tariffs, there are other ways utilities are helping enable electric vehicles. For example, 91 of the 100 largest utilities in the US have sections on their websites with information for EV owners. As EV prices continue to decline, cheaper leasing options become more prevalent and consumers see the clear benefits, the penetration rate of EVs-and prevalence of EV tariffs-is likely to continue to grow in the US.

ABOUT: Northeast Group, LLC is a Washington, DC-based smart infrastructure market intelligence firm. www.northeast-group.com


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 12 Comments
      d
      • 1 Year Ago
      Discounted EV charging rates means you're paying more for standard electric rates. Or higher taxes to support giving people a break on an electric bill. Nearly everyone buying an EV today can afford to pay a little more for charging their car, instead of making other people pay for it. Subsidies are using other people money to support something that might not be successful without them. Where I live they claim I pay $.09 per kWh. That neglects the taxes, transmission fees, and other addons. With that I pay $.14 per kWh. Customers that go over 700 kWh a month are also charged a fee and a higher rate for each kWh over 700. I guess that is why they want the EV charge subsidy. IT'S NOT FAIR THAT I HAVE TO PAY MORE, I HAVE AN EV. Charging an EV would definitely take me way over 700 kWh a month. People outside NY and in NJ pay close to $.25 per kWh. There is a lot more that goes into the eGallon than they claim. You can't just say $1.14 and be done with it. A gallon of gas is a gallon of gas. If it is $3.40 and you're car gets 30mpg. You know exactly how much it costs to fill the tank and how far you can get.
        Spec
        • 1 Year Ago
        @d
        "Charging an EV would definitely take me way over 700 kWh a month" LOL. No. You are just making stuff. Up. Of course it depends on how much you drive. But 700KWH would be 700/30days = 23.3KWH per day. That would mean filling up a Nissan Leaf from completely empty to full EVERY SINGLE DAY. That would be driving some 2200 miles per month. No, a realistic number would be half that amount.
        Spec
        • 1 Year Ago
        @d
        What the heck are you talking about? Time-of-Use metering is a market based system wherein the utilities charge high prices when there is peak demand and they charge low prices when they have excess capacity that is sitting there idle (at night). This has NOTHING to do with any subsidies.
        brotherkenny4
        • 1 Year Ago
        @d
        It doesn't matter what your rate is, for fuel, you will always pay less for electric fuel versus gasoline or diesel. I actually don't know any EV drivers who don't know how to calculate their own savings, so I doubt this egallon sees any traffic by anyone except the most following of people. I have in fact seen, on this website, in the comments, several demonstrations by commenters on how to calculate the overall cost of ownership for EVs or other cars which were well done, straight forward and correct.. It is not difficlut, and you can put in your real cost of electricity. Note above they only talk about the fuel, but there are other costs to be considered. Also, usually the rate schemes of utilities are an attempt to decrease peak load usage to allow the utilities to keep the need for added capacity lower. It's not a subsidy to EVs. There are cost associated with electrical distribution that are passed on to consumers. This is also not an EV issue. If you don't like your utility company, go off grid. The technology exists, and you are not required to stay on the grid. A utility bill of $100 a month is common and not outlandish . If you bought an EV that bill might go to $150 Assuming 12K miles per yearand $0.14 per kWh), but that increase will be more than covered by your savings in fuel cost.
      Anderlan
      • 1 Year Ago
      EVs are cheaper and, contrary to every damn thing we've heard from the tag team of self-interested petrollords and head-in-butt Luddites, GOOD FOR THE GRID. If this wasn't better for the utilities, they wouldn't be charging less. The invisible hand, natch.
        Spec
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Anderlan
        Yeah, utilities are salivating at the prospect of having millions of paying customers to use the massive amount of spare generating capacity they have every night. That will make the grid more efficient since previously unused wasted generating capacity gets used. But a key to the plan is to have time-of-use rates that push people to charge at night instead of right when they get home. A good thing is that most modern EVs have programmable systems that will handle this.
      Anderlan
      • 1 Year Ago
      Time of use rates, lower at night. Why? Technically, why? Is it wasted fuel to keep baseload generators at idle speed when it would be more efficient to run them at a different speed? Does it represent wasted fuel, bled off as heat, not grid energy, that could be 'saved' if late night/early morning demand were higher? If yes, then this represents a major double whammy for electrics. Not only is it cheaper driving, and lower-carbon driving, but it'd be NO CARBON driving. If you are utilizing otherwise-wasted fuel to charge at night, you are adding no extra emissions.
        otiswild
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Anderlan
        Indeed, base load power overnight typically goes wasted, at least if it's coal or nuclear. Gas generators can spin up and down more often and more quickly, and of course renewables can't be depended on for base load without massive overprovision and backup storage.
        Spec
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Anderlan
        Yes, Anderlan, that is indeed the case. Many power plants run through the night generating power that is just wasted because it is difficult to throttle plants back.
      paulwesterberg
      • 1 Year Ago
      I am in the process of switching to time of day use which will allow me to charge my leaf at night for 7 cents per kWh. I will also add a timer to my water heater and dehumidifier so they operate mostly at night.
      Neil Blanchard
      • 1 Year Ago
      In addition to much higher cost of regular maintenance. Typical costs at a dealer for regular maintenance add about 25% per mile to driving an ICE. So, that raises the $3.65 up to $4.56. Also, I notice that they use 28.2MPG for an average car, and that is higher than I have heard before, which is ~25MPG. That would raise the cost another ~12% or so, up to $4.99. My brother and his spouse each drive an EV, and they pay 2-3¢ per mile each - and we have fairly high electrical rates at ~16¢/kWh. That is *less* than the typical maintenance costs per mile on an ICE... Neil
        Neil Blanchard
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Neil Blanchard
        In addition to much higher cost of **fuel, we need to add the costs** of regular maintenance. EV's have virtually zero cost of regular maintenance. So driving a Nissan Leaf saves you about $17,000 every 100K miles you drive, vs a typical car.