Are electric cars cheaper to drive than gas-powered cars?

Electric cars are cheaper to fuel because electricity is significantly less expensive than gas. EVs also require far less service and maintenance, making them cheaper to drive than their gas-powered equivalents when factoring the total cost of drivership. An authoritative 2020 study from Consumer Reports found that total ownership costs of EVs more than make up for any price differential at point of purchase. In other words, yes, it’s cheaper to own/lease and operate an electric car than its gas-powered equivalent.

Consumer Reports found that typical total ownership savings over the life of most EVs ranges from $6,000 to $10,000, with the exact margin of savings depending mostly on the price difference between the EV and the most closely comparable gas-powered car.

The consumer watchdog group found the following typical savings in operation costs:

  • Fuel savings: “A typical EV owner who does most of their fueling at home can expect to save an average of $800 to $1,000 a year on fueling costs over an equivalent gasoline-powered car.”
  • Maintenance and repair: “Maintenance and repair costs for EVs are significantly lower over the life of the vehicle—about half—than for gasoline-powered vehicles, which require regular fluid changes and are more mechanically complex. The average dollar savings over the lifetime of the vehicle is about $4,600.”
  • Depreciation: All cars depreciate, but EVs depreciate less quickly than fossil fuel cars. “Newer long-range EVs are holding their value as well as or better than their traditional gasoline-powered counterparts as most new models now can be relied on to travel more than 200 miles on a single full charge. As with traditional gasoline-powered vehicles, not all EVs will lose value at the same rate as they age. Class, features, and the reputation of the vehicle’s manufacturer all have an impact on depreciation.”

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