As average U.S. gas prices hover over $4 a gallon, the thought of purchasing an electric vehicle (EV) is sounding more and more attractive to many consumers. While owning an electric or hybrid vehicle certainly reduces pain at the pump, there are costs associated with buying, charging, and driving an EV.
Retail electric provider Payless Power helps Texans purchase affordable electricity, which in turn reduces monthly costs. Here’s a breakdown of the costs of charging an electric vehicle and its impact on your electricity bill.
How and Where Do I Charge an Electric Vehicle?
Electric vehicles require frequent charging, and most homes are equipped for Level 1 charging with a regular 120-volt AC adapter plug. EV cars come with portable cordsets and require no special equipment for charging as long as your home’s circuit can handle it and an outlet is available near your parking area (inside or outside). The biggest factor in this type of charging is time, requiring about one hour to charge for 5 miles of drive time. A 40-mile drive, which is the average American daily usage, would require an eight-hour charge.
Level 2 charging on a 240-volt plug may be required for drivers with longer commutes or less predictable driving needs. A qualified electrician will need to evaluate if your home has the capacity for Level 2 and can install extra circuits if necessary.
For Level 2 chargers, one hour of charging generates about 25 miles of driving, or 200 miles for an eight-hour charge. There may be costs to installing the necessary equipment, but alternative energy incentives exist in each state to help offset some expenses. Most public charging stations, like those at local stores or public parking lots, are Level 2 chargers which charge a fee for usage that is typically higher than your at-home cost.
If you live in a single-family home, charging may be easy and efficient. It’s even safe to do in the rain. Multi-unit homes, like apartments or condos, may or may not have charging stations for residents. Look into your options here.
A third option, DC fast-charging stations, allows for rapid charging in stations along heavily-trafficked roads, with about 15% of public chargers offering this type of charge. Experts advise to reserve fast-charging for road trips and emergencies (aka needing some juice to get home), considering the long-term impact on your EV’s battery life.
Will an Electric Car Cause a Huge Spike on my Electricity Bill?
The cost of charging and driving an electric car depends on several factors:
- The price of electricity in your area (cost per kilowatt-hour, or kWh)
- The amount of electricity an electric vehicle uses per 100 miles
- The number of miles driven per month
Consider this example from the U.S. Department of Energy: “If electricity costs $0.13 per kWh and the vehicle consumes 33 kWh to travel 100 miles, the cost per mile is about $0.04. If electricity costs $0.13 per kilowatt-hour, charging an EV with a 200-mile range (assuming a fully depleted 66 kWh battery) will cost about $9 to reach a full charge.”
Based on this example, if you drive 1,000 miles a month, it would cost an additional $45 each month on your electricity bill. At 12.24 cents per kWh, Texans pay less per kWh than the average U.S. household at 13.72 cents, according to the EIA. In total, Texans pay about $140 on average each month for electricity. Charging an electric car would increase that cost by about 30%.
However, EV owners should look at the big picture when weighing the costs of charging their vehicles versus filling the tank. Electrek offers a cost-per-mile comparison (which vary based on local gas and electricity prices):
- Gas-powered cars currently range from 13 cents to 20 cents per mile (from Honda Civics to Ford F150s).
- Electric and hybrid vehicles range from 3 cents to 6 cents per mile.
As you look at your overall budget, you’ll quickly be relieved when you subtract the significant savings from not putting gas in your car each month. If you’d like to save more money, look into state incentives for purchasing an electric vehicle and equipment or consider a hybrid electric vehicle that requires less kWh to charge but gets higher gas mileage.
Payless Power offers flexible, reliable electricity plans that help electric vehicle owners drive even more affordably. Find a plan in your Texas zip code and start saving today.