If you've ever wondered how much it would cost to drive to work using electricity as a fuel, the US Department of Energy (DOE) has an answer for you.
A new tool called an eGallon calculator tells you how much it costs you to drive an electric vehicle the same distance that you could go on a gallon of gas in a similar car. The unveiling of the new calculator is part of an effort by the DOE and the Obama Administration to get more drivers to consider electricity as a fuel.
The fuel for a vehicle such as the Nissan Leaf costs, on average, about one-third that of a similar gasoline-burning car. (Source: Nissan)
"Because electricity prices are a little different state to state, our eGallon tool shows how much an eGallon costs in your state, and compares it to the cost of gasoline," the DOE
website explains. "As you can see, on average, fueling your car with gasoline costs roughly three times more than fueling with electricity."
The website also provides a graph comparing the volatility of gasoline prices versus those of electricity. Predictably, gasoline prices on the graph are far more erratic.
The tool also shows that states vary dramatically in terms of the cost differences. In Idaho, for example, the cost of a gallon of gasoline is 4.4 times higher than that of an eGallon. In contrast, the state of Hawaii shows virtually no difference at 1.01. The national average is currently 3.2, with an eGallon running at $1.14.
The unveiling of the calculator is part of an effort to boost consumer interest in electric vehicles. A study by Pike Research earlier this year predicted that less than 1 percent of vehicles would be pure electric by 2020.
In determining the cost difference, the website does not factor in the higher initial costs of electric vehicles. A Ford Focus Electric, for example, costs approximately $20,000 more than a gasoline-burning Focus, and a Chevy Volt costs at least $15,000 more than a gasoline-burning Chevy Cruze, before incentives. The website also does not factor in the cost of home charger installation or battery replacement.
...what about the other costs that add up to your bills. I think we should look at how much we spend on fuel including taxes and other chargers.
I don't follow. This is just a fuel calculator. KBB and Edmunds have total cost calculators. I think one of the points of DOE's is to show that electricity has not risen like gasoline has and is almost impervious to periodic spikes. That's because the supply/demand is steady or at least predictable, and there is a portfolio of various fuel sources that compete to make electricity. So this is a big benefit over oil. ICEs are stuck with oil and can't lower their consumption easily or by very much.
Oddly, the USA Today column linked to by Mr. Murray tried to imply the opposite, that we're due for some big crash of the grid and big price spikes if too many EVs are sold before we upgrade the grid! Like there's any possibility that might happen!! But yes, let's upgrade the grid now. Why would we not do that, with or without EVs?
@Charles – Yes the calculator looks at the fuel or energy cost, what about the other costs that add up to your bills. I think we should look at how much we spend on fuel including taxes and other chargers.
@saw911 – We are already seeing many Electric cars on the market, the question is how is electricity generated? (Gasoline, Nuclear power plants, or renewable energy sources). I think we need to look at ways of powering cars from renewable energy sources.
Except that in California they all demand their air conditioners.
Really?! I lived in southern Cal. for many years and AC was not used there nearly as much as it is here in the upper (humid) southeast, and even less so in northern Cal. Of course there are desert regions there but not so populous. There's also Arizona, Nevada, NM, Texas, and many other high pop areas where it's much hotter or more humid than California.
For the biggest simple gain in city traffic MPG, nothing would beat the stop-start system with added manual control. Except that in California they all demand their air conditioners. But it would work well in all of the normal world.
There is another way to make vast improvements in fuel economy, and it does not require any change in the vehicles at all. That method is to improve traffic flow and reduce or eliminate all of the waiting times when the MPG of any vehicle is ZERO!
Agreed. Let's do more to improve traffic flow. Except a lot of $$$ already gets invested in that and the general trend still is toward slower traffic. The equivalent MPG for an EV in that scenario, though, approaches INFINITY!
No, I REALLY don't want to move anywhere, especially not Amsterdam. I don't claim that my proposed solutions can be implemented, only yhat they would provide the desired results. It would be up to others, (Possibly a king or emperor) to make them happen. Possibly a hundred years ago those kind of rules might have passed, but I don't think that would happen today. BUT that does not make them bad ideas, only unworkable.
...carbon dioxide. And now it has become the villian because some folks say that it is trapping the sun's heat. It may also be reflecting heat back into space, and, in a more interesting possibility, it may be that global warming causes increases of carbon dioxide.
Please point to any scientific study that casts doubt as to whether CO2 traps more heat or to one that theorizes that CO2 reflects more heat or rises as a result of GW.
In my opinion, William K., I think sometimes politics is involved in these arguments against particular technologies. The oil and automobile lobbies have traditionally been so strong in the U.S. that they seem to find something wrong (and can vocalize it and get support for their dissent) with anything that could be a threat to them. I think the reason some of these alternative vehicle technologies have not taken off has nothing to do with the science of them, and I'm sure many would agree.
Some cars are more reliable than others, but even the vehicles at the bottom of this year’s Consumer Reports reliability survey are vastly better than those of 20 years ago in the key areas of powertrain and hardware, experts said this week.
As it does every year, Consumers Union recently surveyed its members on the reliability of their vehicles. This year, it collected data on approximately 1.1 million cars and trucks, categorizing the members’ likes and dislikes, not only of their vehicles, but of the vehicle sub-systems, as well.
Focus on Fundamentals consists of 45-minute on-line classes that cover a host of technologies. You learn without leaving the comfort of your desk. All classes are taught by subject-matter experts and all are archived. So if you can't attend live, attend at your convenience.