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Study: Lower gas prices make ICEs more affordable to fuel up than EVs

Breana Noble, The Detroit News on

Published in Automotive News

With gasoline prices dropping, a new study suggests gas-powered vehicles may be more economic to fuel up versus an equivalent electric vehicle.

Entry-level gas-powered cars like the Honda Civic and Subaru Impreza had an average fueling cost of $9.46 per 100 purposeful miles, which are defined as those going to a destination, not a gas or charging station, according to the East Lansing-based consulting firm Anderson Economic Group, which has done business for automakers like General Motors Co., Ford Motor Co. and Honda Motor Co. Ltd.; auto suppliers; and groups like the Nature Conservancy.

Meanwhile, the cost for 100 miles of operating similarly segmented EVs likes the Nissan Leaf or now-defunct Chevrolet Bolt was estimated at $12.55 when charging mostly at home based on U.S. Energy Information Administration energy cost data, which typically records Michigan electricity prices higher than the national average. The cost jumped to $15.98 with mostly commercial charging.

“With electricity prices steady and gas prices slightly down," Patrick Anderson, CEO and study author, said in a statement, "we continued to see most traditional gas-powered vehicles as more economical to fuel than their EV counterparts in late 2023."

Nationally as of Monday, regular gas prices are on average $3.26 per gallon, down 3.1% year-over-year, according to the American Automobile Association. The annual difference is 1.3% in Michigan, down to a $3.25 average.

 

Additionally, gas-powered mid-priced cars and crossovers like the Chevrolet Equinox or Toyota Camry had an average fueling cost of $10.71 per 100 purposeful miles. Charging mostly at home, EVs like the Ford Mustang Mach-E and Tesla Model 3 had an estimated cost per 100 miles of $12.61. The cost while using mostly commercial charging was even higher at $16.11.

There was one exception to the higher costs for EVs. When charged mostly at home, luxury EVs like the Tesla Model S and Mercedes-Benz EQS came out at $13.50 per 100 purposeful miles, compared to $17.81 using mostly commercial charging. The cost was $17.30 for gas-powered luxury vehicles like the Cadillac CT5 and Lexus ES. Premium-gas users increased the difference.

For pickup trucks, fueling up an Ford F-Series truck, Chevrolet Silverado, Ram 1500 or other gas-powered options was estimated at $17 per 100 purposeful miles. It was $16.86 for diesel. Meanwhile, charging an F-150 Lightning or a Rivian R1T mostly at home came out to $17.75 and mostly using commercial chargers raised the cost to $26.39.

“Trends for the recently introduced electric pickup truck segment again saw fueling costs comparable to those of traditional gas or diesel fueled ICE pickups,” Anderson said, noting pickup drivers often are traveling to job sites, hauling or taking extended road trips that require commercial charging. “Under these conditions, EV fueling is more expensive, though of course it’s not uncommon for new technologies to be more expensive than their traditional counterparts.”


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