Fueleconomy.gov is the EPA’s website that lists official fuel economy numbers. It is also offers other information calculated by the EPA. One interesting rating that each vehicle receives is the “Cost to drive 25 miles.” This is strictly an energy cost calculation, and the EPA uses the average cost of gasoline and the average cost of electricity to calculate the number. Currently, the 2016 Prius Eco has a cost of $0.77 to drive 25 miles. The Nissan Leaf’s cost is about 20% higher at $0.98.
The 2016 Prius Eco is the new Prius model optimized for fuel economy. The “Prius” model we all know and love is also still offered, and it also beats the battery-electric cars with a cost to drive 25 miles of $0.83. The cost per 25 miles of the Chevy Volt is presently $1.01 when driven on electricity alone and its rating on gasoline alone is $1.02. The reason the Volt has a higher cost per mile when driven on gasoline compared to the Prius is that it is less efficient due to its heavy batteries. The Tesla Model S with its 70 kWh battery pack (the smallest) has a cost to operate over 25 miles of $1.23.
You can look up the car of your choice on Fueleconomy.gov. Start at the home page and then click “Find a Car” in the top left of the screen. Then click your model year, make and model. The page will show you both 2016 and 2017 models on the same page if you are looking for those model years. Prior years are shown individually (2015 for example). The Cost to Drive 25 miles rating is shown right under annual fuel costs. Taking the 2016 Prius Eco and the Leaf as examples, the cost per year for fuel of the Prius Eco is $450 and the Leaf $600.
Keep in mind that these numbers will change over time as the cost of gasoline and electricity go up and down. For more information on the cost of ownership of hybrids versus electric vehicles, please see our prior story “Myth Busted, Electric Vehicle Cost More To Maintain Than Gasoline Powered Cars Do.”