Why electric cars are cheaper to drive than gasoline cars
Among the benefits of electric cars is cheaper fuel costs, that is the cost per mile for fuel to run the vehicle. A couple weeks ago Consumer Reports released a report comparing gasoline and electric cars, showing electric car fuel cost was a fraction of gasoline car fuel cost. A recently released video from an electric car fan, Peder Norby (below), claimed his electric car (a leased Mini-E) costs 30 cents per gallon equivalent in fuel costs, giving us an excuse to go over the figures.
Consider that companies around the country with delivery truck fleets are buying electric trucks. This isn't even primarily for for ecological reasons, but because electric trucks cost less to operate than do equivalent diesel trucks. Fleet owners know to the penny what it costs to operate their truck fleet, and know that switching to fuel efficient or electric trucks saves money helping their business bottom line. The key is lower fuel and maintenance costs, adding up to a lower cost of ownership, so long as the electric trucks' range fits delivery route distances.
Retail vehicle owners don't have quite the same need to minimize costs. Lord knows there are many factors going into why someone buys one car or another, but we, the retail car consumers, could still benefit from the savings.
To make one thing very clear, this comparison is looking solely at the operational cost to drive an electric vehicle, and not at the total cost of ownership.
Let's compare two hypothetical cars, one is electric having a 24 kilowatt-hour battery pack and a 90 mile range (essentially the Nissan Leaf), the other is a similar sized gasoline sedan getting a typical 30 miles/gallon. Traveling 90 miles in the gas car requires 3 gallons of gasoline, costing $10.50 if gasoline is $3.50 per gallon, while the electric car would require 20 kilowatt-hours (or more) costing $2.20 for the electricity if electricity is 11 cents a kilowatt-hour. Same distance traveled, quite a bit less cost. A 90 mile daily trip is more than the typical daily commute because most people drive less than 40 miles/day commuting.