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Cost to Charge an Electric Car & How It Affects Your Electric Bill

Cost to Charge an Electric Car & How It Affects Your Electric Bill

Electric cars offer their owners multiple benefits, ranging from fuel economy to reduced pollution. Car ownership comes with necessary costs. With traditional vehicles, you need to worry about the price of gas. With electric vehicles (EVs), you can skip the stops at the gas station, but you need to account for the cost of charging your vehicle. Why does it make sense to buy an electric car? How much electricity does an EV use? Do electric cars increase your electric bill? Get a comprehensive look at how EVs save you money and the cost to charge an electric car.

Benefits of Buying an Electric Vehicle

Why does it make sense to consider buying an EV? Consider these ways electric vehicles save you money and improve your driving experience.

Benefits of Buying an Electric Vehicle

  • Fuel economy: Electric vehicles run on electricity, which is a less expensive energy source than gas. How much energy does an electric car use? Gas-powered cars convert approximately 12 to 30% of the energy from gas, while EVs convert 77% of the electrical energy that powers them. That means EVs like the Tesla Model 3, the Nissan Leaf and the Chevy Bolt are significantly more energy-efficient. When measuring fuel economy for an electric vehicle, you’ll use kilowatt-hours per 100 miles (kWh/100m) instead of miles per gallon. The kWh/100m will vary, depending on the type of EV you decide to purchase.
  • Lower emissions: EVs do not produce direct emissions, but the electricity may come from power plants that rely on fossil fuels. Electric vehicles are more environmentally friendly because they have lower emission levels than traditional vehicles over their lifecycle.
  • Less maintenance: EVs, like any type of car, require maintenance. However, those needs are usually less intensive than those of a traditional vehicle. EVs have regenerative braking systems, which typically last longer than the braking systems of gas-powered cars. Over time, the battery and electrical parts of an EV may need servicing, but these parts tend to have a long lifespan. Regular tire rotations remain an essential maintenance requirement for EVs, but things like oil changes are not part of keeping an electric vehicle running smoothly.
  • Quieter performance: Electric vehicles are inherently quieter than gas-powered cars. There are no engine noises. Instead, you can expect to hear minimal noise, such as sound produced by the movement of the car’s tires. At low speeds, an EV is virtually silent, which is a bonus for owners. However, EVs have some built-in artificial noise as a safety feature to help alert pedestrians and cyclists.
  • Cost savings: Owning a car comes with costs to keep it running. You need to pay for fuel and maintenance. When you own an EV, you can expect to save anywhere from $6,000 to $10,000 over the car’s lifespan. You will likely spend less on electricity versus gas while saving money on maintenance and repairs.

How Much Does It Cost to Charge an Electric Car?

The cost of charging an electric car depends on various factors. How often do you need to charge the vehicle? How much power does an electric car use? How much does electricity cost in your area?

How often your EV needs charging will depend on how far you plan on driving it. If you are going on an extended road trip, you’ll need to make more stops for charging than if you are only using the car to run errands close to home. Nationwide, the average cost of electricity is $0.12 per kWh. At that rate, someone who drives their EV 15,000 miles in a year will pay approximately $540 per year, or $45 per month, to power it. That results in substantial savings, as someone driving a gas-powered car over the same yearly distance will pay approximately $1,400 in fuel costs.

Costs can also vary, depending on where you charge your EV. At-home charging is a major convenience factor for EV owners. Instead of stopping at a gas station, you can plug your car in at home. If you use your home charger, you are paying for the electricity the car needs to charge.

To plug in at home, you will need an electrical outlet near where you park your car, either outside or in your garage. At-home charging can be level 1 or level 2. Most EVs come with a level 1 connector kit, allowing users to plug the car into a standard outlet. You also have the option of investing in a level 2 charger for your home, which increases the vehicle’s miles of range per hour. A wall-mounted level 2 charger will cost $500 to $700 and require professional installation, which will incur additional costs. DC fast charging is another option, most frequently found at public charging stations, which can give cars enough charge for 50 to 90 miles within half an hour.

Most electric vehicle drivers do 80% of their charging at home, which means you will be paying your standard electricity rate to charge the car. Your utility may even offer you incentives that will help EV owners capture savings. If your electricity costs $0.12 per kWh and you need to charge a 24 kWh battery fully, the total cost will be $2.88.

How Much Does It Cost to Charge an Electric Car?

If you’re considering buying an electric car, you should also think about the cost of using a public charging station. While you might do most of your charging at home, sometimes it may be more convenient or even necessary to charge up at a public station. There are thousands of electric vehicle charging stations across the United States. You can opt to pay for public charging a few different ways. If you only need an occasional charge, paying as you go makes the most sense. Pay-as-you-go prices might have a per-minute or per-kWh structure. The price of charging depends on your location. Do you live somewhere, like California, where electricity costs are higher than the national average?

If you often need to use public stations to charge your EV, you might want to consider a subscription payment model. Monthly membership fee prices typically range from $4 to $7.99. However, in some cases, you may be able to take advantage of free public charging stations.

How Do Electric Cars Affect Your Electric Bill?

Whenever you use an electronic appliance, you’ll pay for that energy on each month’s electric bill. As a result, you may be wondering about at-home charging’s effect on your utility bill. Many people opt to charge their EVs at home overnight. It can take three to 12 hours to fully charge your EV’s battery, depending on the car model and charging level. How much electricity does an EV use? It depends on the EV you buy, how often you drive it and your electricity costs. Electricity rates will vary, depending on where you live, but there does tend to be less fluctuation in the price of electricity than that of gasoline.

To understand the cost of charging your EV, you will need to know your kWh rate. Your electric bill will show you how many kilowatt-hours you use per month, and the utility charges based on your usage. Some electric utilities offer EV owners discounts for charging their vehicles. Assuming you drive your EV the average 15,000 miles per year with the estimated $540 in annual charging costs, you can expect to see that dollar amount reflected on your electric bill: $45 per month.

5 Tips to Save Money on Electric Vehicle Charging

Drivers save an average of $632 per year when they choose an EV over a gas-powered vehicle. You can even receive federal and state tax credits, which incentivize EV purchases. However, you still need to pay to charge your electric vehicle. How can you save on the charging costs for your EV?

  1. Use free charging ports: Take time to familiarize yourself with the charging stations around your home or workplace. While public charging stations can charge a fee, many remain free. Maybe your workplace has a free charging station for employees. Perhaps a local big-box store has a complimentary charging station for its customers. Explore the areas in which you regularly drive and do some research. Not all free or inexpensive charging stations advertise their services. But, if you find one nearby, you can cut down on some of your charging costs.
  2. Know your closest charging stations: While you might do most of your charging at home because it’s convenient, you may occasionally want or need to use a public charging station. If you decide to go that route, or need to, do your research ahead of time. You can save time and money by knowing where you plan to charge instead of wasting time and energy driving around looking for a charging station. You can download an app to help you keep track of those accessible charging spots.
  3. Charge during off-peak periods: Electric utilities can charge consumers more for electricity during peak hours, during which demand and use of power are high. If you are looking to save on your electric bill, find out your utility’s designated off-peak hours and charge your EV during that time. Luckily, off-peak hours tend to be late at night or early in the morning. You could shave some money off your electric bill by charging your car overnight while you sleep.
  4. Call your utility: One of the best tips to save you money on home electric car charging is to know your options. More than 40 utility companies offer incentives, including rebates and discounts, for EV owners. Call to find out if you qualify for an incentive. You may be able to realize substantial savings.
  5. Renewable energy: If you want to make a long-term investment to save money, consider using renewable energy to power your home. For example, you can install solar panels to help charge your EV. Remember, this type of investment may also qualify you for other tax credits and incentives. Alternatively, if you live in an energy deregulated state, you may be able to choose your own electricity supplier. Many suppliers offer green electricity plans, which means that the energy supplied to your home is matched with renewable energy credits from emissions-free sources.

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How to Reduce Electric Car Charging Costs by Shopping for Electricity

How much you pay for electricity largely determines the cost of charging your electric vehicle. Many people assume this is out of their control, but in many cases, you can comparison-shop for an electric provider. Changing providers can help you reduce the amount you spend on electricity and charging your EV at home. Here are a few shopping tips.

How to Reduce Electric Car Charging Costs by Shopping for Electricity

  • Compare rates: Look up all the electricity suppliers that serve your area and compare prices. What makes sense for you based on how much energy you use per month? By shopping around, you can find the lowest price, which means a smaller monthly electric bill.
  • Don’t be afraid to switch: Many people default to the utility company for electricity because it is easy. You’ve always received power from them, so why look elsewhere? This approach may be straightforward, but it can mean you spend more than you have to on electricity each month. If you find a supplier with a more competitive price, do not be afraid to make that switch.
  • Explore your rate options: When you decide to switch electricity suppliers, you can choose between a fixed-rate or variable-rate plan. With a fixed-rate plan, you enter into a contract for a specific period, usually ranging from six to 24 months. For the duration of the contract, you have a locked-in rate, which protects you from price fluctuations. Variable-rate plans depend on electricity’s market price. That means there’s no contract to restrain you, and you can switch suppliers anytime. However, variable-rate plans can lead to unexpectedly high electric bills.

Learn More About Your Electricity Options

Your electricity rates at home can play a major role in the cost of charging your electric vehicle. Shopping around for a supplier can result in significant savings. If you live in the York, Penn., region, consider Shipley Energy. We work to offer our clients low electricity rates and allow you to lock in your rate for up to 24 months. Use your ZIP code to find out the plans and prices available for your home. You can also get in touch with us, online or via phone, with any questions about our service and how we can help you.

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