— Owning a new electric vehicle is more expensive than a traditional gas-powered car over a period of five years and 75,000 miles, allegedly by about $600 per year.
But according to research from AAA, while the evidence shows the overall expense of owning an electric vehicle is 8% more, in some categories the cost is lower than owning a gasoline-powered vehicle.
The electric vehicles used in the study were these 2019 models: Chevrolet Bolt, Hyundai Ionic Electric, Kia Soul EV, Nissan Leaf and Volkswagen eGolf. The gasoline-powered 2019 models included the Chevrolet Cruze, Honda Civic, Hyundai Elantra, Nissan Sentra and Toyota Corolla.
The study says 71% of electric car owners had never owned one before, and consumers seem pleased with their decisions because 96% say they would buy or lease another one if they needed a new vehicle.
About 78% of electric owners also have gas-powered vehicles available in the household, but the majority of the driving is in their electric vehicles.
Previous AAA research found Americans weren't too hip on electric cars for various reasons, the main two being the ability to charge the vehicles and worries about the batteries going dead while driving. But this latest research found that nearly all owners report they have never run out of a charge and 75% of charging takes place at home.
“Range anxiety has been synonymous with electric vehicles from the beginning. Hearing firsthand from owners that this is no longer a worry may change the mind of those who have otherwise been skeptical to the idea of owning an electric vehicle.” - Greg Brannon, AAA’s director of Automotive Engineering and Industry Relations
Researchers say certain aspects of driving an electric vehicle have benefits even with the overall yearly cost higher than vehicles equipped with combustion engines.
AAA found that driving a vehicle equipped with a traditional engine 15,000 miles per year would cost more than $1,200, but the same 15,000 miles would cost an electric car owner $545 for electricity.
Maintaining an electric car is also typically cheaper ($330 less) than a traditional vehicle because electric vehicles don't require things like air filters and oil changes.