July 25, 2024
Electric & Hybrid Cars

The savings potential of switching from gas to electric depends on the type of vehicle

Charging an electric vehicle (EV) or plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) is usually more cost-effective than refueling at a gas station, especially if you charge at home. However, the amount you save depends on the type of gasoline vehicle you are transitioning from. According to Energy.gov’s latest Fact of the Week (FOTW), some gas car owners experience significant savings when switching to electric, while others see minimal difference.

Most vehicle categories observe fuel cost reductions of 50 percent or more, with electric pickup trucks and SUVs demonstrating the greatest savings compared to their gasoline counterparts. Electric vans show about a 27 percent reduction, while electrified sports cars break even with gas models.

Although the study groups EVs and PHEVs together, it is essential to note that plug-in hybrids still rely on gasoline and need to be charged to maximize their benefits. Energy.gov highlights that the higher the level of electrification, the greater the savings. Thus, these findings could vary significantly if EVs were analyzed separately.

It is also important to consider regional variations in gas prices. The fuel savings for drivers in California differ significantly from those in South Carolina. While gas prices play a role, electricity rates also influence charging expenses. Therefore, the cost of charging an EV might not be significantly lower than refueling for certain drivers.

Although saving on fuel costs is a compelling reason to switch to electric, EVs generally come with a higher upfront cost compared to equivalent gasoline models. The time required to recoup this additional expense through fuel savings can be substantial. While some vehicle types may see savings of over 50 percent, this translates to only a few cents per mile.

For instance, assuming a conservative gasoline cost of 10 cents per mile and electricity cost of 4 cents, comparing the $27,500 base price of a Hyundai Sonata with the $37,500 base price of a comparable Ioniq 6, it would take 166,667 miles to offset the extra $10,000 in fuel savings. As shown in the data above, the payback period could be shorter for larger pickup trucks or SUVs, prompting buyers to perform calculations to determine their actual savings.


Q: Are EVs more cost-effective than traditional gasoline vehicles?

A: In most cases, yes. EVs typically offer significant fuel cost savings, especially when charging at home.

Q: Do plug-in hybrids require gasoline as well?

A: Yes, plug-in hybrids still need gasoline and must be charged to maximize their benefits.


Switching to an electric vehicle can result in substantial fuel cost savings, with different vehicle types showing varying levels of reduction. While upfront costs may be higher for EVs, the potential for long-term savings is significant. Consider regional gas prices and electricity rates when evaluating the cost-effectiveness of charging an EV versus refueling a gasoline vehicle.

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