Did I Even Save Any Gas Money by Buying a Chevrolet Volt?

Short Answer: Yes, but…

Long Answer: Not Everyone Will

Before you decide to hop on the Electric Vehicle bandwagon (hmm…. Electric Bandwagon…) you need to examine if it is the right move for you from either a financial standpoint or even an environmental standpoint. If it is your mission to reduce your carbon footprint or produce zero emissions from your car, then by all means purchase an EV. If you are looking to reduce your gas bill, you need to crunch the numbers. I’ll take you through my process in how I calculated that the Volt saved me money, but may not save everyone money. Let the Fact Finding begin.

Facts

Days of Ownership at Time of Analysis: 43 days
Daily Commute: 54 miles each way (108 miles round trip)
Miles Driven Since Ownership: 4172
Rated Range on 10kwh battery: 38 miles
Observed Range on 10kwh battery: 40 miles (used in calculations)
Rated MPG on Gas: EDIT: 37 mpg
Observed MPG on Gas: 40-45, (40 used incalculations)
Gas Purchased in Dollars: $106.02
Energy Purchased from ChargePoint Station in Dollars: $44.99
Energy Purchased from Power Company in Dollars: $152.11 (0.2566 dollars/kwh)

Total Dollars Spent on Driving: $303.12

However, I did not pay for electricity when at home. This is a benefit from living in military housing. It’s not completely free, the particular area I live in does not charge for electricity as long as you are below a certain threshold. We have been able to remain under the threshold even with charging the Volt every night.

What if you don’t live in military housing? You can still obtain similar benefits if you have solar panels. Let the sun charge your car instead of the power company!

So My Actual Dollars Spent on Driving: $151.01

IMG_6336
My 2015 Chevrolet Volt. Photo by me.

Cost Comparisons

Now let’s determine our savings by comparing our costs to not only the average sedan, but sedans of different MPG ratings.

Internal Combustion Engine (ICE) Sedan with 25 mpg

Gallons required to drive 4172 miles: 166.88 gal
Gallons in dollars: $532.347
Estimated savings after 43 days: $381.34
Estimated annual savings: $3236.93

Internal Combustion Engine (ICE) Sedan with 30 mpg

Gallons required to drive 4172 miles: 139.1 gal
Gallons in dollars: $443.62
Estimated savings after 43 days: $292.62
Estimated annual savings: $2483.80

Internal Combustion Engine (ICE) Sedan with 40 mpg

Gallons required to drive 4172 miles: 104.3 gal
Gallons in dollars: $332.72
Estimated savings after 43 days: $181.71
Estimated annual savings: $1542.40

Hybrid Sedan with 50 mpg (With and without Free Electricity or Solar Panels)

Gallons required to drive 4172 miles: 83.44 gal
Gallons in dollars:  $266.17
Estimated savings after 43 days: $115.16
Estimated annual savings: $977.55

If you don’t have free electricity or solar panels, you would actually lose money compared to a hybrid with 50+ mpg:

Estimated savings after 43 days: -$36.95
Estimated annual savings: -$313.64

Other Considerations

Something else to consider is that you may be eligible for a federal tax credit up to $7500 if you buy or lease a new EV. Additionally, you may also deduct the cost (or at least a percentage of the cost) off your annual income when you do your taxes. Your state may also offer certain incentives for having an EV. For example, California offers a $200 annual credit on your power bill if you an EV.

If you are considering buying a Tesla, just remember that it is not only an EV, it is a luxury car. It would take you a long time to recover the losses from the purchase. I spent around $14,000 (after titles and fees) on my used 2015 Volt because I bought it used. Get a Tesla if you’ve got the cash to burn.

Conclusion

Buying an EV does not always mean automatic savings. If saving money on gas is your concern, consider your commute and housing situation. If you have a daily commute longer than the car’s battery capacity, you will be better off getting a hybrid, unless you have solar panels or free electricity. If you have a short commute, an EV (or a PHEV like the Volt) will save you money. Additionally, if you want to reduce emissions, get an EV anyway.

If you want the excel spreadsheet I developed to determine my savings to see the formulas I used send me a message.

 

 

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