No, electric cars are not only for the rich, and in fact there are dozens of models available for less than the average cost of a new car sold in the United States. There is also a rapidly growing used car market for electric vehicles, with many coming off of leases every year.
American car buyers could find at least 22 plug-in models that cost less than the average cost of a new car sold in the United States. According to data from Kelley Blue Book, the average transaction price for a new vehicle is up to $37,851, as of February 2020. The base price of at least 17 models of plug-in vehicles is already lower than that average new car cost, and that’s before including savings from the federal electric vehicle tax credit. Including the EV tax credit, 22 plug-in car models cost less than the average new car sold in the U.S.
The EV tax credit can also be used by the car dealer to lower the base price for a lease. This effectively lowers monthly lease payments into ranges that are comparable—or even lower than—comparable gas-powered vehicles.
On the used car markets, sellers have to “price in” the savings offered by the federal electric vehicle tax credit. Meanwhile, as the vast majority of EVs are leased, an increasing number of leased plug-ins hit the used car market every year, typically at prices well below their gas-powered counterparts.
As Consumer Reports stated back in 2018, “For car shoppers who are interested in trying out electric-vehicle technology but who don’t have Tesla money to spend, now is a great time to buy an emissions-free car for less than $15,000.”
Finally, EVs offer cost savings throughout the life of the vehicle, as they require far less service and maintenance, and are far cheaper to fuel. A 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, it’s cheaper to own/lease and operate an electric car than its gas-powered equivalent.
To find an EV that fits your family’s budget and lifestyle, visit Plug In America’s dedicated EV shopping site: PlugStar.com.
- InsideEVs, on why leases can’t be ignored and how they make EVs affordable to all income classes: “The Hill Contributor Claims Electric Car Tax Credits Benefit The ‘Elite’“
- PlugInCars.com: “Compare Electric Cars and Plug-in Hybrids By Features, Price, Range”
- Consumer Reports: “It’s a Great Time to Buy a Used Electric Vehicle”
- Guardian: “Electric cars are already cheaper to own and run, says study”
- Consumer Reports: “EVs Offer Big Savings Over Traditional Gas-Powered Cars”