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Electric cars could be a huge financial benefit for consumers

Researchers say eliminating the cost of gas could make a huge difference in consumers’ savings

Photo (c) RS-Studios - Getty Images
While there’s no question that electric cars greatly benefit the environment, researchers from the Department of Energy (DOE) and the National Renewable Energy Lab explored how they could also be a money saver. 

The study showed that eliminating the need for consumers to fill their tanks with gas could ultimately save those with electric cars tens of thousands of dollars over the lifetime of the vehicle. 

More money in the bank

The researchers had to determine how to compare what an average consumer spends on gas versus what an average consumer would spend on the electricity required to charge their vehicle, considering that both gas and electricity prices vary across state lines. 

“Finding out the purchase price of a vehicle is relatively simple, but the savings related to fuel aren’t readily available, especially since electricity cost varies greatly for different locations and charging options,” said researcher Matteo Muratori. 

The researchers explained that consumers with electric vehicles have a number of options when it comes to charging their cars. At-home charging stations can range from the more high-end options, which could run nearly $2,000. Consumers can also plug into an existing electrical outlet. In the latter case, the price would be tacked onto the electric bill. 

However, there are also public charging options, similar to gas stations. The study found that opting for a public charging station is a faster but more expensive option, whereas charging at home can take a little longer but is often cheaper -- especially if consumers wait until the evening hours when electricity prices tend to dip even further. 

Saving thousands of dollars

The study found that, on average, charging an electric car costs 15 cents per kilowatt-hour (kWh). Depending on the state, though, that figure could jump as high as 27 cents per kWh, or dip as low as eight cents per kWh. 

If a consumer can hang onto that vehicle for roughly 15 years, the researchers predict that savings could be as high as $15,000. 

The researchers found that the more consumers opt for public charging stations, the more expensive electricity is likely to become; however, the savings are still expected to be considerable when compared to the cost of gas for traditional fuel-powered vehicles. 

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