Some Fuel for Thought

Eye-watering gas prices can motivate drivers to shift to electric vehicles. But just how much are EV drivers actually saving? Hint: It’s more than you might think.

This is not a typo. Source: (Noah Berger/AP Photo)

Over the weekend I took my infant son on our morning stroll around the neighborhood. We passed by our local corner-store gas station. I did a double-take after reading the marquee.

$5.69 for a regular gallon of gasoline! What?!

After returning home, I had to make sure it wasn’t a typo… or a hallucination from caring for a 4-month old who’s deep in the throws of sleep regression.

It was very real.

The average cost for a gallon of regular gasoline in the US hit $4.25 per gallon this week, a $1.48 (51%) increase from one year ago. My home state of California is leading the pack, at a whopping average of $5.74 per gallon!

With the average fuel efficiency of a US light-duty vehicle at 22.9 miles per gallon, it costs the typical American driver about $19 for every 100 miles of driving.

On the Road Again

So $19 to drive 100 miles seems reasonable, right? But let’s consider American’s affinity for the driver’s seat.

Emerging from our pandemic hibernation, the average US vehicle now travels 13,500 miles every year. That means over $2,500 in fuel costs for every car, every year.

Considering the average US family owns about two vehicles, that’s over five grand in annual household fuel costs.

For Californians driving gas-powered cars, the math looks even worse. With the cost of fuel approaching $6 per gallon, annual fuel costs balloon to over $3,200 for a single vehicle.

Again, that’s only the cost of gasoline – not including insurance, maintenance, or emergency repairs. Don’t believe me? See the numbers for yourself.

For a deeper dive, check out a previous post on total cost of EV ownership.

To Defy, Electrify

Compared with $19 for every 100 miles, the average US electric vehicle driver charging at home pays about $4. That’s 78% lower fuel costs than a gasoline-powered alternative.

Over a 10-year vehicle lifetime, EVs can offer drivers over $20,000 in fuel savings at today’s prices.

And while the cost of electricity can and will increase, changes in electric rates are subject to approval by a state regulatory body. Your local utility can typically apply to increase electric rates a few times a year. And proposed electric rate increases can be denied.

So although global oil prices can influence local electricity markets, electric bills can’t jump at the whim of foreign oil cartels or power-hungry autocrats halfway across the world.

“But won’t my electric bill skyrocket?”

Consuming more electricity will increase your bill, sure. But it’s likely not as bad as you think. To illustrate, let’s walk through a quick example.

The average US driver commutes about 30 miles round-trip to work. For EV drivers, driving 30 miles takes about 10 kilowatt-hours (kWh) of electricity. With the average cost of US commercial electricity at $0.11 per kWh, it costs $1.10 to cover each EV owner’s daily commute.

Keep Them Coming Back

It’s one thing to own an EV, but quite another to have a place to charge it.

With gas prices at record highs and interest in EV ownership already on the rise, businesses and property owners now have a fantastic opportunity.

For businesses seeking to offer employees a valuable perk in a competitive market and tout their environmental creds, onsite EV charging can be a notable decision point in recruiting and retaining top employees.

For HOAs looking to help current residents and attract future neighbors, EV charging can boost property prices and attract higher rents. See my previous post about an HOA horror story here.

Daily Cup of Juice

For less than the cost of a daily cup of coffee (which many businesses already provide for its employees, even non-coffee drinkers) EV charging allows drivers to keep thousands of hard-earned dollars in their pockets each year.

Research shows commuters are six times more likely to drive an EV if their workplace or residence offers charging. Don’t forget that 70% of young professionals want to work for employers that have a strong sustainability focus.

If your business operates a fleet of aging gas-powered vehicles, consider the long-term savings of fleet electrification. Not to mention the security in forecasting corporate energy expenditures and resultant GHG reductions over the next 3-5 years.

Less Pumping, More Power

While we can’t individually influence foreign wars or global oil markets, we all have a choice. Volatile fuel prices don’t have to be your reality.

Imagine if we had that kind of power at the pump! “$6 a gallon? Na, I’m not paying that!”

Or, as NRDC deftly reframed the appeal of EVs: Fight Fascists & Save Money: Go Electric.

Many people are making the decision to go electric, and $6 gas is only accelerating the transition. (See what I did there?)

So whether you’re a business owner seeking a recruitment tool in a competitive market, or a property owner looking to attract residents and improve property values – it couldn’t be a better time to invest in a future supporting clean, efficient electric vehicles.

Electric vehicle adoption is accelerating like a Tesla Plaid at the racetrack.

About the Author

I’m working alongside a talented team to provide organizations with intelligent onsite solutions that enable carbon-free electrification and transportation.

If you’re considering large-scale EV charging solutions powered by renewables, message me to see if I can help. You can reach me at alex.kaufman@powerflex.com.

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