The new Prius is cheaper to run on gas than EVs are on electricity
John Goreham's picture

2016 Toyota Prius Two Eco Beats EVs in cost per mile in Michigan

The new Prius is so efficient, it is cheaper to run on gas than EVs are on electricity in the state of Michigan, which has a lower electricity cost than many EV target states.

In a recent test, Patrick Rall here at Torque news put the all-new 2016 Toyota Prius through its paces. His test vehicle was the Prius Two Eco. Although the Prius Two Eco has an EPA combined mileage rating of 56 MPG, in Patrick’s testing over more than 800 highway miles, the Prius Two Eco returned 63 MPG.

- Read Patrick's Full Test Report Here

Using the average cost of gasoline for fuel in the state of Michigan, which AAA says is $2.20, the Prius Two Eco has a cost of energy of just 3.9 cents per mile when we use the EPA’s 56 MPG number. Patrick’s actual cost per mile was lower, at 3.5 center per mile, but for this comparison, we will use the more conservative number of 3.9 cents per mile.

According to the U.S. Energy Administration’s website (, the average cost for electricity in the state of Michigan (May 2016) is just 15.33 cents/kWh. Michigan is far from having the highest electricity costs in the nation. California’s average for example is 17.74 and Hawaii’s is 26.87. In our past comparisons of the Prius to EVS, we have used Massachusetts as the example state. All of these states are popular EV states.

EVs, like the Nissan leaf, measure their energy consumption per mile in kWh/mile. According to EPA, the Nissan Leaf consumes 30 kWh/100 miles, or 0.3 kWh per mile. Calculating the cost in cents per mile is therefore very easy. One need only multiply the 15.33 cents per kWh by the 0.3 kWh per mile consumed and the energy cost of the EV is 4.6 cents per mile.

Photo courtesy of Patrick Rall.

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An excellent analysis and good to see Torque News endorsing the Toyota Level 2 ECO Prius. I'm doing a similar analysis using Huntsville gas, $1.71/gal, and $0.10/kWh. I'm using a BMW i3-REx, 4.3 miles/kWh, versus any car burning regular unleaded and it would have to return 74.4 MPG which is within the range of a 2016 Prius Level 2 ECO. The irony is a local Toyota dealer accidentally sold me on a used BMW i3-REx. Instead of offering a Prius Level 2 ECO with the safety package, TSS-P, the dealer offered an "upscale" Prius (useless moon roof instead of MPG) for a price that matched a used BMW i3-REx with safety package. My used BMW had 6,440 miles; 2 years 9 months and 43,560 miles of warranty, and; 168 hp rear-wheel drive pocket-rocket. BTW, I drove that BMW i3-REx 473 miles home from the dealer. Bob Wilson, Huntsville, AL
I should move to Huntsville! I pay much more for gas and literally double what you do for electricity here in the People's Republic of Mass.
In many states the Prius also beats EVs on CO2 emissions.
My 2012 Prius plug-in has a 3kw-hr battery. A full charge costs me 0.66 in NJ and will run 12 miles in EV mode in local 35 mph zones. To get 48 miles in EV, I need to charge 4 times at cost of $2.64. My local gas is about $2.00 and gives me 50 mpg at minimum in all speed. In conclusion, EV mode is more expensive than HV mode. I still use EV because it reduces gas engine wear and tear. Even though Toyota suggests 10,000 mi oil change interval. Because the engine is on < 70% of the time, the interval could be pushed by 30% safely IMHO.
Some related questions to consider. What will the price of gas be next year? How can you talk about costs per mile and only look at cost of fuel? What was the cost to motorists that traveled behind you while you were spewing poisonous exhaust at them? Why not prepay 30 years of fuel by buying 8-10 solar panels at a cost of $1/"gallon". How many lunch hours will you give up so you can sit around waiting for an oil change? The 0.7 cent per mile calculated fuel savings amounts to $700 over 100,000 miles of use. How much will oil changes over 100,000 miles cost? Do the math, how much would gas prices have to increase for this fuel-only comparison to become equal? ...and have you seen fuel prices higher than that amount in the last 5 years? 2 years? That's right the price of gas only has to go up 37 cents per gallon from the level posted in this article. I've seen that happen is less than a month on many occasions. Should you really be planning a major household investment based on the assumption that gas will continue to be available at the price it is today? Indeed, the AAA also says the price of gas in Michigan just a year ago was 55 cents higher. Comes in at 5 cents per mile at that price. Will your electricity costs double when gas prices double? What was your cost of electricity when gas was $3.50/gal?
All very good questions for green vehicle consumers to consider carefully. We've answered a couple of the ones that relate to cost of ownership in the past. You will have to cut and past the address of the story. Comments does not support direct links: Cost of Ownership - Maintenance Costs: Cost of ownership - Depreciation: