Does Getting An Electric Vehicle Make Financial Sense?

10 June 2022

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Auto experts say it’s too early to tell if these record prices will increase demand for electric vehicles in Minnesota.

But a recent CBS News poll found almost 60 percent of drivers would consider getting one.

Diana McKeown bought her Nissan Leaf three years ago.

“It’s super fun to drive,” McKeown said. “A full battery is about 220 miles, a little bit less in the winter.”

She says she’s grateful to now be driving an EV as gas prices continue to soar.

So is it cheaper in the long run to own one? WCCO spoke with EV policy specialist Moaz Uddin.

“Yes, and it’s going to vary with what you’re driving,” Uddin said.

It’s hard to give one answer to this question, but let’s try. We started with the cost of charging versus fuel. The average cost for gas in Minnesota right now is $4.66 per gallon. The average gas-powered car gets 26 miles per gallon. The average American drives 15,000 miles a year.

“You’re getting $2,688 dollars per year on gas,” Uddin said.

For figuring out the cost of charging an EV, we use kilowatt hours. You would need about 2,750 kilowatt hours to go 15,000 miles – at 15 cents a pop.

(credit: CBS)

That would cost you about $562, and that’s now counting if you charge overnight at lower rates. Then, it’s $150 a year.

You also save on maintenance, again on average, about 60 percent.

“The only thing I have to do is get my tires rotated and windshield wiper fluid,” McKeown said.

But EVs cost more to buy. McKeown says her Leaf cost $42,000.

On average, EVs cost about $10,000 more than their gas counterparts. But, there is a federal tax incentive of $7,500 dollars for EVs that aren’t Tesla or GM.

Many people also pay between $500 and $1,500 dollars for a charger in their home. Using last year’s gas prices, studies found eight years was the average break-even point – and that eight years is probably less now than with gas prices the way they are. But how much less depends on you.

While Teslas are still the most popular EV, there are dozens of other options, and about half of them are cheaper than the average cost of a gas-powered car.

But the market for EVs is tough right now. Just like their gas counterparts, there are waiting lists for many models.

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