Tool Measures Fuel Cost of Electric Cars

Reader Contribution by Joanna Hlavacek
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Electric cars may cost significantly more upfront than their gas-powered counterparts, but as the U.S. Department of Energy announced last week, these eco-friendly vehicles save big for drivers in the long run.

A new online tool released by the Department of Energy allows users to see how much it costs to fuel vehicles with electricity versus gasoline in their state. 

The result, called an “eGallon,” is lowest in North Dakota ($0.83 per gallon) and highest at $3.69 in Hawaii. The national average adds up to $1.14, compared to $3.65 for regular gas. 

“Consumers can see gasoline prices posted at the corner gas station, but are left in the dark on the cost of fueling an electric vehicle,” said U.S. Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz in a news release. “The eGallon will bring greater transparency to vehicle operating costs, and help drivers figure out how much they might save on fuel by choosing an electric vehicle.”

The eGallon tool measures this by taking the average distance that a gasoline-powered vehicle can drive on a gallon of gas (28.2 miles for comparable 2012 model year cars), and then calculates how much it would cost to drive the average electric vehicle that same distance, according to the Department of Energy. 

While gas prices are prone to fluctuation, electricity costs, without their dependency on international oil markets, remain stable.

Though sales of electric vehicles in the U.S. tripled last year (50,000 were sold), traditionally-fueled cars continue to be the norm. More than 15 million gas-powered cars and trucks were sold in the U.S. in the same year, reports the Chatanooga Times Free Press.

Photos by the U.S. Department of Energy