Study: Electric Cars Cost More to "Fill up" Than Gas

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky

A Michigan-based think tank has claimed that it now costs less to drive an internal combustion vehicle 100 miles than to charge up a comparably all-electric vehicle using home charging. Though this claim comes with a few caveats, starting with acknowledging that this only applies to “midpriced” vehicles based on the national average for fuel and electricity rates.

"The run-up in gas prices made EVs look like a bargain during much of 2021 and 2022," the Anderson Economic Group’s Patrick Anderson told Automotive News in a recent interview. "With electric prices going up and gas prices declining, drivers of traditional ICE vehicles saved a little bit of money in the last quarter of 2022."

From Automotive News:

An analysis of late-2022 fueling costs by the Anderson Economic Group (AEG) says midpriced ICE drivers are paying about $11.29 for 100 miles of driving, an average of 31 cents less than midpriced EV drivers who charge at home.

The switch is the result of fuel costs dropping by over $2 and falling below upward trending home-charging costs, AEG explained.

Prior to that, it was reportedly cheaper to charge an EV than fuel a comparable internal combustion vehicle. But this would also mean that any claims about electric cars being cheaper to run when national gasoline prices were averaging less than $3.00 per gallon (e.g. 2015-2020) are now doubly suspect.

Then again, this is also a report coming from a group that may have clients who would prefer to see things framed a certain way. This has frequently been the case with studies championing EV ownership and the blade can cut both ways. We’re often critical of any research coming from entities that may have corporate or political ties and this situation is no different.

It's similarly worth remembering things might be different where you live and everything being discussed here focuses on countrywide averages.

However, the data being offered here is reasonably clear and highly specific. In fact, AEG stated that luxury EV drivers managed to maintain a cost advantage in the fourth quarter of 2022, noting that the cost-benefit gap over luxury ICE drivers had still narrowed to $7.56 from $11.20 per 100 miles. While the group said it had hoped to likewise tackle the pickup segment, it doesn’t yet have sufficient data to publish anything concrete.

The final takeaway from the study was that commercial EV charging remains higher than the alternatives, with the cost for mid-priced vehicles seeing no significant change. At an average of $14.40 per 100 miles, it remains the most expensive way to get around town.

[Images: Maridav/Shutterstock; Anderson Economic Group]

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Matt Posky
Matt Posky

A staunch consumer advocate tracking industry trends and regulation. Before joining TTAC, Matt spent a decade working for marketing and research firms based in NYC. Clients included several of the world’s largest automakers, global tire brands, and aftermarket part suppliers. Dissatisfied with the corporate world and resentful of having to wear suits everyday, he pivoted to writing about cars. Since then, that man has become an ardent supporter of the right-to-repair movement, been interviewed on the auto industry by national radio broadcasts, driven more rental cars than anyone ever should, participated in amateur rallying events, and received the requisite minimum training as sanctioned by the SCCA. Handy with a wrench, Matt grew up surrounded by Detroit auto workers and managed to get a pizza delivery job before he was legally eligible. He later found himself driving box trucks through Manhattan, guaranteeing future sympathy for actual truckers. He continues to conduct research pertaining to the automotive sector as an independent contractor and has since moved back to his native Michigan, closer to where the cars are born. A contrarian, Matt claims to prefer understeer — stating that front and all-wheel drive vehicles cater best to his driving style.

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  • Joe e Joe e on Jun 15, 2023

    The Anderson Economic Group are paid strumpets. They intentionally publish the inverse of the truth. Just “Google” the “Anderson Economic Group + bias”. They’re industry shills.

  • Jeremy Jeremy on Jun 16, 2023

    I have no idea what the assumptions here are, but they were apparently motivated by their oil industry ties. I just bought an ev that is almost precisely comparable to my old gas car. 35 mpg in the old car, gas right now is $3.60 at the station down the road. Electric car has a 9kwh battery (it's a plug in hybrid) that claims to get 29 miles but always goes at least 33 for me. 16 cents/kwh at my house (which is the highest it's been over the last 4 years,and includes distribution fees) comes to $1.44 for 33 miles. $4.32 for 100 miles. Vs $10.29 in my little tiny gas car. Break even at current electric prices is $1.52 per gallon of gas.

    Never going to happen. Even compared to hybrid mode in my plug in, getting 55 mpg , it's $6.55 per hundred miles compared to $4.32. break even gas price is $2.38.

  • Stephen My "mid-level" limited edition Tonino Lambo Ferraccio Junior watch has performed flawlessly with attractive understated style for nearly 20 years. Their cars are not so much to my taste-- my Acura NSX is just fine. Not sure why you have such condescension towards these excellent timepieces. They are attractive without unnecessary flamboyance, keep perfect time and are extremely reliable. They are also very reasonably priced.
  • Dana You don’t need park, you set auto hold (button on the console). Every BMW answers to ‘Hey, BMW’, but you can set your own personal wake word in iDrive. It takes less than 5 minutes to figure that that out, btw. The audio stays on which is handy for Teams meetings. Once your phone is out of range, the audio is stopped on the car. You can always press down on the audio volume wheel which will mute it, if it bothers you. I found all the controls very intuitive.
  • ToolGuy Not sure if I've ever said this, or if you were listening:• Learn to drive, people.Also, learn which vehicles to take home with you and which ones to walk away from. You are an adult now, think for yourself. (Those ads are lying to you. Your friendly neighborhood automotive dealer, also lying to you. Politicians? Lying to you. Oh yeah, learn how to vote lol.)Addendum for the weak-minded who think I am advocating some 'driver training' program: Learning is not something you do in school once for all time. Learning how to drive is not something that someone does for you. It is a continuous process driven by YOU. Learn how to learn how to drive, and learn to drive. Keep on learning how to drive. (You -- over there -- especially you, you kind of suck at driving. LOL.)Example: Do you know where your tires are? When you are 4 hours into a 6 hour interstate journey and change lanes, do you run over the raised center line retroreflective bumpers, or do you steer between them?
  • Mike Bradley Advertising, movies and TV, manufacturing, and car culture have all made speeding and crashing the ultimate tests of manhood. Throw in the political craziness and you've got a perfect soup of destruction and costs.
  • Lou_BC Jay Leno had said that EV's would be good since they could allow the continued existence of ICE cars for enthusiasts. That sentiment makes sense. Many buyers see vehicles as a necessary appliance.