A new study out of the University of Michigan’s Sustainable Worldwide Transportation group shows just how cost-effective electric vehicles are, and how fuel efficient an internal combustion engine car needs to be to be the cheaper alternative.
The report, authored by Michael Sivak and Brandon Schoettle, break down the cost in each state to run both a BEV and a ICE vehicle for a year based on current energy and fuel prices. Then, they list how fuel efficient an ICE vehicle needs to be in order to have the cost savings advantage.
For example, both gasoline and electricity is expensive in Hawaii. Based on the average miles driven per year of everyone in the United States, they determined that it’d cost a driver $1,509 for gasoline in Hawaii and $1,106 in electricity for the same distance. The breakeven point is 34.1 mpg. In this case, a fuel efficient car like the 2018 Honda Fit would be less expensive to run.
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In California, the car would need to achieve 60.6 mpg or better in order to be less expensive to operate. In Michigan, that number shifts to 52.1 mpg.
Taking the nation as a whole, one year operating an ICE vehicle would cost $1,117 and just $485 on electricity. That means that the gasoline powered car would need to get 57.6 mpg or better to negate the cost benefits of driving an EV.
According to the report, the average fuel economy of new vehicles sold in December 2017 was 25 mpg.
Depending on where you live, the money you save by driving a BEV will vary. In a place like Hawaii, there are several vehicles that exceed the BEV operating cost, but in a state like Washington, ICE vehicles are a long way away. Your mileage may vary.
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