Table of contentsWhat are eGallons? Are EVs cheaper than traditional vehicles? Do EVs help the environment?
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During the summer months, drivers across the country are typically faced with spikes in gas prices. However, electric vehicle (EV) drivers are able to skip the prices at the gas pumps, instead charging their cars at home or at charging stations.
So how do EV drivers calculate the cost of operating their vehicles? And how does this cost line up with traditional vehicles? The answer lies with eGallons.
What are eGallons?
To help potential and current EV drivers understand how much it costs to own and operate an EV, the U.S. Department of Energy created the concept of the eGallon. At its core, eGallons are the cost of fueling an electric vehicle compared to the cost it would take to fuel a vehicle that runs on gasoline.
When the eGallon was first introduced in 2013, former Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz said, “More and more Americans are taking advantage of the low and stable price of electricity as a transportation fuel, and that’s very good news for our economy as well as the environment. As the market continues to grow, electric vehicles will play a key role in our effort to reduce air pollution and slow the effects of climate change.”
According to Energy.gov, it costs about half as much to fuel an electric vehicle as it does a gas-powered car. In Texas, for example, filling a gasoline-powered car currently costs approximately $1.85. An electric eGallon currently costs $1.09. The price of eGallons are calculated using a state’s most recent residential electricity prices.
Are EVs cheaper than traditional vehicles?
The cost of driving an EV will vary depending on where you live. The price of electricity and cost of gasoline fluctuate from state to state and are also impacted by seasonal changes.
While the upfront cost of an EV may be higher than a gas-powered car, nearly every state in the U.S. has a lower eGallon price compared to the cost of fueling a traditional vehicle. Hawaii has the highest price per eGallon ($2.98) while Louisiana has the lowest ($0.84).
Do EVs help the environment?
In addition to the lower cost of eGallons, many drivers also turn to EVs because they are typically considered a more sustainable form of transportation compared to gas-powered vehicles. One of the greatest strengths of EVs is that they are powered using electricity – and if your home is powered using renewable energy such as solar or wind, your EV will also run on renewable energy.
When EVs run on electricity, they don’t produce direct emissions. Harmful emissions, especially carbon dioxide, are one of the main factors contributing to poor air quality and global warming. Based on the level of emissions, EVs are much more eco-friendly compared to gas-powered vehicles.
EVs also tend to produce lower levels of life cycle emissions than conventional vehicles. According to Energy.gov, life cycle emissions include “all emissions related to fuel and vehicle production, processing, distribution, use, and recycling/disposal.”
While all vehicles produce life cycle emissions in some form, EVs are typically responsible for lower levels because the emissions produced from generating electricity are normally less than those required to burn gasoline or diesel.
With all these factors taken into account, from both sustainability and cost perspectives EVs can provide much more than just getting you from one place to another.
Caitlin Ritchie is a writer within the energy and power industry. Born in Georgia, she attended the University of Georgia before earning her master’s in English at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.