A typical reaction when a person learns I own an electric car is “you must save a ton of money on gas”, well, yes, but the total gas savings may not as much as you think, and there are some really awesome benefits to owning an electric car you may not be thinking about.
What are the gas savings …
- The easiest way to quantify these is to use the MPGe ratings from the EPA (this is the MPG rating for electric cars)
- The EPA rates most electric cars around 90 MPGe – 130 MPGe, we’ll use 100 MPGe for our calculations
- An easy way to think about 100 MPGe, is that the cost of 1 gallon of gas (roughly $2.50 right now) spent on electricity will allow you to travel the MPGe rating (100 miles) – so $2.50 in electricity to go 100 miles – this is not an exact technical definition for MPGe, but works out to be close enough (IMO)
- How much will you save – if you drive 12,000 miles/year – and your gas car gets 30 MPG – then you are spending roughly $1000/year in gas ($2.50/gallon*12,000 miles/year / 30 miles/gallon – or 2.5*12,000/30) – and you would spend roughly $300 in electricity for the electric car (2.50*12000/100) – an annual savings of $700 or ~$60/month – a nice savings, but not as significant as some perceive
- It’s no wonder that early electric cars like the initial Leaf (MSRP of $40k) could not be financially justified based on gas savings (a similar Nissan Versa/Sentra was maybe $20k or less …) – note, the Leaf can now be purchased for significantly less than $40k
Killer reasons (that are selfish) to own an electric car:
- Never go to a gas station
- Save time (it takes a good 5-10 minutes to stop at a gas station)
- Not think about when you need to fill your tank
- Don’t get upset with the total cost to fill the tank (especially if you use premium gas!)
- AND – HOW GROSS ARE GAS PUMPS! Nothing like the smell of 87 octane on your hands in the morning!!!
- Virtually maintenance free … yes, I owned my Leaf for ~6 years, I changed the tires, I changed the wiper blades, and I changes the low voltage battery (Electric cars have a cheap low voltage battery to powers the radio, interior lights …. separate from the battery that powers the electric motor) – maintenance free is:
- Cost savings from not having to perform maintenance (there are no oil changes!!!)
- Time savings (finding time to bring the car to the dealer)
- Benefit of never dealing with dealership maintenance trying to sell you a bunch of crap you don’t need!
- The car is just a lot cleaner
- Inside the hood in perfectly clean!
- There are no messy oil spills (or whatever other fluids happen to leaking from your car that day)
- The valve caps on the wheels are perfectly clean!
- They are awesome to drive – the acceleration on many (Tesla definitely, but the a few others too) is just amazing – even if your not a speed demon, it’s awesome having the ability to quickly get out of a situation you don’t want to be in
- They handle great – having the bulk of the weight (battery) low to the ground and evenly distributed between the wheels just makes for a better handling car!
- Well, not sure if this is for everyone, but you can hangout in your car with it on in your garage, and not worry about dying!
- Yes, the gas savings are nice too 🙂
Awesome reasons (that are more altruistic) to own an electric car
- It’s good for the environment … (more to come on this in separate posts)
- It takes money away from some of the most evil dictators (and abusers of human rights) – think about it, some of the biggest producers of oil are: Iran, Saudi Arabia, Russia, Venezuela – and every time you buy gas, you are either directly or indirectly funding their abusive regimes!
- This applies to Tesla – buy American – frankly, I am surprised I do not hear this more often – I grew up with some people making those who bought Japanese or German cars feel guilty for not supporting American workers! Tesla is an awesome car, you can buy American and buy the absolute best car – no compromise!
- Support innovation – again, this applies primarily to Tesla – there is no more innovative car company than Tesla (I’ll write about this in another blog post)!
I’m sure I’ve missed a few reasons, so let me know what reasons I did not cover …
By the way – I hear many reasons from people on why they are not ready to buy an electric car (this is my next blog post)