Plan To Buy An Electric Car? So, How Much Does It Cost To Charge A Tesla Model 3 Vs A Gas Car?

In the market for a Tesla Model 3? Savings on 'fuel' can be a big incentive.

If you’re in the market for a Tesla Model 3, savings on ‘fuel’ can be a big incentive.

Credit: Tesla

You will save money on “fuel” costs with an electric car. That’s certain. But how much?

Let’s start with the basics. A report this week from Kelly Blue Book said this:

“If you put 1,000 miles on your vehicle each month, for example, and pay 10 cents for each kilowatt-hour of electricity, this pegs your at-home EV recharging bill at $25 to $33 dollars per month (based on the calculation of 3-4 driving miles equaling one kilowatt-hour).”

And the report added:

“Even if you double your electric rate to 20 cents per/kWh, your EV recharging cost will be $50 to $66 dollars.”

A quick comparison with an average* gas car from Kelly Blue Book yields a little over $100 a month for 1,000 miles.

Tesla Model 3:

Let’s take the Long Range 75 kWh Model 3 with a range of 322 miles.

There are long discussions on how exactly to calculate the cost of charging a Model 3. Calculations vary but here’s one calculation (Autopilot Review) using California as an example:

“Let’s say you live in California and your average cost per kWh is $0.20. Then filling up a Model 3 or Model Y Long Range with a 75 kWh battery pack from 10 kWh to 70 kWh (you usually don’t fill up to 100% as that degrades the battery more quickly), would cost $12.00 (60 kWh x $0.20/kWh).”

Compared to a gas car like the Honda Accord, the annual ‘”fuel” costs as calculated by the U.S. Department of Energy based on 45% highway, 55% city driving, 15,000 annual miles and current fuel prices are as follows:

2020 Tesla Model 3 Long-Range — annual fuel cost of $500

2020 Honda Accord — annual fuel cost of $1,050

Needless to say, there are a lot of variables for EVs, which include:

  • Whether you charge at home or use a public charging network, e.g., Tesla Supercharger, EVgo, or Electrify America. Public fast chargers, such as Level 3 chargers, typically cost more
  • Home charging rates (including the cost of installing a Level 2 charger)
  • Less obvious things like vampire drain

But the bottom line is you will save money. Since switching to an electric car, in addition to saving hundreds of dollars per year on fuel costs, I’m also saving on things like maintenance. My EVs have been almost maintenance-free — with the exception of things like tire rotation.



*In Los Angeles, before I converted to an EV in 2013, I was paying closer to $150 a month for gas for roughly 1,000 miles.

For a gas car, here’s a calculator. For an EV, Kelly Blue Book also offers an explanation on how to do various calculations. Here’s Tesla’s calculator (scroll down toward bottom of the Supercharger page).

Tesla Supercharger cost vs gas, according to Tesla.

Tesla Supercharger cost vs gas, according to Tesla.

Credit: Tesla

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