Electric cars really do cost less to own than gas-powered vehicles, report says
Electric car makers have long claimed that their vehicles are ultimately cheaper to own than their gas-powered counterparts, and it now looks like this isn't just a classic marketing spin. Consumer Reports published a study that found that the most popular electric vehicles are cheaper to own over their lifespan than the best gas-powered cars in their respective classes. For electric vehicles under $ 50,000, the cost typically drops between $ 6,000 and $ 10,000 compared to a car with an internal combustion engine.
The Tesla Model 3 provided the greatest value for CR results. The entry-level luxury EV saved $ 15,000 versus the best-selling car in its class (BMW 330i), but also the best-rated (Audi A4). This was true across the board in general, including plug-in hybrids as well as estimates for upcoming vehicles like Ford's Mustang Mach-E. The savings can be especially big if you buy a used electric vehicle between the ages of five and seven.
Unsurprisingly, fuel savings played a huge role. CR found that EV drivers spend about 60 percent less to refill their vehicles, and owners whose cars have a range of 250 miles or more can do 92 percent of their top-ups at home rather than public quick chargers. However, maintenance was also central - reliability reports indicated that EV owners pay about half as much to maintain and repair their cars as people with gas vehicles. While repairs (e.g. fresh batteries) can go up when buying a used EV, you can still get a large chunk of the lifelong savings.
CR also noted that depreciation was comparable to gas car depreciation even after taking into account the incentives.
There are some limitations. The savings account for federal and state incentives. While federal tax credits no longer apply to brands like GM and Tesla, the value proposition clearly depends on how much your state wants to offer. CR warned that weather and electricity tariffs could play a role. You may not see as much gains by living in a cold state (thus getting fewer miles for a fee) with high overhead costs compared to someone who can drive all year round in warm weather at low prices. States like Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, and Texas are even slapping charges on electric vehicles.
However, this suggests that the higher upfront prices for EVs shouldn't put you off, at least as long as incentives prevail. However, this still involves overcoming public perception - and that may not change until there are truly affordable electric vehicles on the market, which may take a while.
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