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True Cost of Owning a Tesla After 32,000 Miles

After driving a Tesla 32,000 miles, what is the true cost of ownership. Is it truly less than a gas powered car? Let's look at one Tesla owners experience to answer this!


True Cost of Owning a Tesla After 32,000 Miles

Kim Java, a 2018 Tesla Model 3 long range owner with her husband, ended up driving about 32,000 miles in a year. She's gone over how much it cost her to drive her Model 3 long range over gas cars. Using, she used U.S. Department of energy data to compare costs of any EV with a gas car.

She lives in Georgia, where gas is about $4.05 per gallon. She drives a lot with 3 kids at different schools and shares her car with her husband as the only car they drive. They both drive about 32,000 miles a year which is about 3 times the national U.S. average.

Gasoline prices are continuing to rise and you are seeing many pictures of outrageous gas prices, which are pushing $7 a gallon. A couple years ago, Kim posted a video comparing a Tesla Model 3 with a Toyota Camry. She showed that a Model 3 would cost less than a Toyota Camry after 5 years.

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This shows a base price Tesla Model 3 of $38,900 in 2018, with a Toyota Camry LE base price of $24,600 in 2018. The study looked at all metrics in an average car ownership period of 5 years and compares the total cost of each vehicle. Here's what she came up with:

 Tesla Model 3Toyota Camry LE
Purchase Price$38,900$24,600
Tax, Title, and License$3,025$2,050
Resale Value($18,988)($8,905)
Cost Per Mile$0.46$0.49

The Tesla Model 3 is the clear winner in Fuel, Maintenance, and Resale Value. This is what caused it to cost less than the Toyota Camry LE. The upfront costs for a Tesla Model 3 are more, but over time, it becomes less expensive - especially if you sell it. And that last point - if you sell it, is key. Because if you don't sell it, it will take longer to be less expensive - although with gas prices going up the way they are, it's likely going to not take as long.

Today's Cost Comparison

Using, Kim put the national average of $4.05 as a baseline for gas, and an estimate MPG of gas at the national average of 24.9 MPG. She then put in the Est. mile/kWh for her EV to compare, which she put her Tesla Model 3 long range at 3.860 mile/kWh. Her home utility kWh rate is $0.12.

When look at this comparison, you can see that the $4.05 used for gas will take you 24.9 miles, whereas the same $4.05 will take you 130 miles in your EV - about a 5x efficiency in range -vs- cost. Filling an 18 gallon gas tank at this price would cost you around $72 with the national average. At the national utility average, filling up the Model 3 is about $9.75, making it around 9 times more efficient to "fill up" an EV.

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Currently, the standard range Model 3 costs $44,990. According to Kelly Blue Book, the national average for a new car in the U.S. was just over $46,000 in 2021.

The more you drive an EV, the more savings you get. At 32,000 miles driven in a year, you have $5,204 in gas -vs- $994 for an EV. Now, Kim's case is a little extreme, but the more you drive, the better the savings become. For her, it's a big no-brainer to have an EV with the sheer amount of driving she and her husband do. After 5 years, the fuel cost will be about $26,024 for a gas car, and about $4,974 for an EV for the large amount of driving she does.

Imagine owning your Tesla for 15 years and the savings get even more. I've owned my Honda Fit, 2008, for a while now - going on 14 years, and it has been a good car. It gets about 30 MPG and I have it paid off. But, it's getting old and won't last forever and my next car, the Model 3 RWD, will be a much better car to own with gas savings, efficiency, performance, lower cost to maintain. I will just take an initial hit to pay it off first.

Is this a good representation of the true cost of owning a Tesla? Is the Model 3 standard range the most efficient vehicle ever built?

Leave your comments below, share the article with friends and tweet it out to your followers.

Jeremy Johnson is a Tesla investor and supporter. He first invested in Tesla in 2017 after years of following Elon Musk and admiring his work ethic and intelligence. Since then, he's become a Tesla bull, covering anything about Tesla he can find, while also dabbling in other electric vehicle companies. Jeremy covers Tesla developments at Torque News. You can follow him on Twitter or LinkedIn to stay in touch and follow his Tesla news coverage on Torque News.

Image Credit, It's Kim Java, Screenshot


Carol (not verified)    March 13, 2022 - 5:59PM

In reply to by Ron (not verified)

Because the truth is that the enormous cost of battery replacement makes the entire electric vehicle issue cost prohibitive as the replacement batteries are very VERY expensive. And the manufacturing of those batteries is way more dangerous to the environment than gas and oil required by conventional internal combustion engines. The public is being feed a line of bull that by purchasing and using electric vehicles they are somehow helping to save the environment. The vast amount of misinformation regarding electric vehicles is a pure and simple mass marketing project to sell more expensive vehicle that are ultimately NOT better for the environment and will not make the earth a healthier place. The powers that be must think we are all a bunch of empty headed idiots that will buy anything if they tell us less than the entire facts about this issue. Consider asking lots of questions and getting all of the true facts from real experts, not just what you’re being told by the electric vehicle manufacturing industry or the wealthy investors that stand to profit big time by constantly making the public feel guilty because we haven’t bought into the “clean electric vehicle” mass marketing blitz. Don’t be sheep…think for yourselves before blindly following along to the slaughter. There is a limited place for electric vehicles in our world, but they are not the “end all” answer to slowing global warming and saving the environment. Oh, and if we don’t fall for the mass marketing blitz and don’t totally buy into the all electric vehicle future, our gas prices will continue to rise until the average American can not afford to put gas in their tanks. Then most internal combustion engine vehicles will become obsolete and basically worthless. Not too many average Americans can afford to park/abandon their $30,000 to $75,000 (or more) vehicles and then turn around and spend another $50,000 or more to purchase and electric vehicle that will ultimately cost them a lot more down the road. REALLY? Get real! Please think before you buy.

Dave (not verified)    March 13, 2022 - 5:31PM

If this is over 5 years she would have driven over 150,000 miles potentially needing a new battery. Where is that factored in???

Mark Day (not verified)    March 14, 2022 - 6:08AM

A Tesla owner reported a battery replacement cost of $22,000. Slightly more than flashlight battery replacements.

Daryl Diamond (not verified)    March 15, 2022 - 12:42PM

Batteries are designed to last 1 million miles.
At 32000 miles per year, that would be about 33 years.
Cars don't last that long, so battery replacement is not a worry.

Mark Day (not verified)    March 16, 2022 - 3:58PM

In reply to by Daryl Diamond (not verified)

“Expect EV batteries to lose about 2.3 percent of their starting range per year, according to Geotab, a transportation technology services company in Oakville, Ontario, that analyzed data from 6,300 real-world EVs.”

Dude named ben (not verified)    September 30, 2022 - 11:37AM

What Maintenance/Repairs in 32000 miles costs $4000. That's 3 oil changes, a cabin air filter and tire rotation. Your numbers are made up.

Jim Nguyen (not verified)    October 24, 2022 - 9:13PM

These numbers looked wrong, the insurance for a Camry is not $6,060 a year. I'm paying around $2100 a year for a 2017 Camry with AAA. Not sure where you are getting these BS numbers from, but they look fudged and dishonest just like your mugshot.

Watto (not verified)    November 7, 2022 - 4:31AM

Your figures don’t add up mate, insurance downunder is less than AUD $1000.00/year, or about USD =$610.00
The average battery doesn’t last a 1,000,000 miles typically.
Tesla is the 3rd most unreliable brand of car in Australia.
And yet you are telling your audience this tripe, You are a Greeny with an agenda or a Tesla car salesman

Koakamaka (not verified)    September 3, 2023 - 2:06AM

The statement, “imagine owning a 15 year old Tesla…” OK, the hardware & software alone are going to make it virtually worthless. Now compound that with replacing the batteries…remember the value of and depreciation of the original Tesla sports cars? What’s the value of a 5 year old PC? Let alone 15 year old PC? 🤔 and I like Tesla. Consider the early model S and the problematic sunroofs. Those are discontinued for a reason. The air suspensions are fantastic until those break & need replacing. Do you know how expensive it is to replace?!? 😓