For car owners wondering whether rising gas costs make it more affordable to now switch to electric vehicles, the answer is yes.
Earlier this month, Energy Innovation, a non-partisan organization focused on the energy transition, published a report that broke down the monthly costs of electric vehicles versus their gas-guzzling counterparts.
“The broader narrative is that, even though the upfront prices are higher, when you consider how people actually finance it, [EVs are] cheaper in a lot of states — and it’s pretty close in a lot more states,” Energy Innovation's analyst Robbie Orvis told Canary Media earlier this month.
It's tricky to determine affordability because a lot depends on the difference between power prices and gas prices at the pump and the federal and state tax incentives that are available. Different automakers and dealers also offer varying rates for the cars that they're looking to push.
Importantly, electric vehicles don't break down as much and don't need nearly as much maintenance as their combustion engine counterparts, so there's less incentive for car dealerships (which make a good chunk of their money on servicing vehicles) to sell them.
“Lots of studies talk about how the operating costs — fuel and maintenance costs — are lower,” Orvis said. “But I feel like that’s engineering-speak for most people. When they go to buy an EV, they want to know, how much will it cost me?”
For the Energy Innovation study, the organization compared six electric vehicles and their combustion engine counterparts (or as close to a counterpart as they could get).
They ran a monthly financing comparison using the average down payment and financing charges for a six-year loan term, as Canary Media reported.
EVs do have a higher upfront cost and that can mean higher monthly payments for the car itself. But when the organization factored in fuel and maintenance costs, electric vehicles were the clear winner -- in some cases by a country mile.
According to the study, car buyers can save around $6,000 over the lifetime of their car ownership by switching from a gas car to a similar electric vehicle.