Electric Cars vs Gas Cars Cost in Each State

Electric Vehicles in the US are growing, slowly but surely. The car market is dominated by gas, but each year EV becomes more popular, currently occupying about 2% of market share. Some states have adopted the technology quicker than others, with California reaching far above the national average at 8%.

A key question many people have when looking to buy an electric vehicle is how much it will cost especially, when compared against gas alternatives. We’ve broken down a huge number of factors including fuel, energy, mileage, insurance, EV incentives, taxes, registration fees, maintenance, emissions tests, and much more, to work out the complete running cost of EV vs Non-EV cars in each state to find out the true price of going green.

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Key Statistics

  • The average annual cost to run an electric vehicle in the USA is $2,722
  • When factoring in purchase cost, the average cost of an EV is $9,406 each year
  • The average annual cost to run a gas vehicle in the USA is $3,356
  • When factoring in purchase cost, the average cost of a gas vehicle is $7,952 each year
  • Oregon is the cheapest state to run an electric vehicle at an average of $1,810 each year
  • Michigan is the most expensive state to run an electric vehicle with an average annual cost of $4,276
  • North Carolina is the cheapest state to run a gas car at $2,621 average each year, and 2nd cheapest for EV running costs at $1,836
  • California has the highest adoption of EV in the US, but is the 7th highest state for the cost of EV
  • When analyzing the costs for the Tesla Model 3 vs a premium-gas equivalent (BMW 3 Series), the ICE BMW is $1,660 more expensive each year

Select ‘Price difference’ to see the difference between the running cost of EV and Non-EV cars in each state. You can also see the specific data for EV cars and non-EV cars below, including more in depth data on taxes, gas, and electricity costs. To get into the data further, there’s also the option to add purchase price.

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Electric vs Gas Cars: Cost of Ownership Over Time

Cost over time

After 25 years, the ownership cost for the three vehicles is as follows:

  • Tesla Model 3: $110,368
  • Toyota RAV 4: $111,464
  • BMW 3 Series: $151,880

This includes the purchase price of each vehicle which is split over the first 6 years. The BMW 3 Series was chosen as it has a similar price tag to the Tesla Model 3 and is consistently the most popular premium-gas vehicle.

Government & State Incentives for Electric Cars

Government incentives vary per state, from nothing to almost $700 in some areas, but there are electric vehicle subsidies to be found if you look hard enough. These have been factored into our calculations in the map above. Currently, there are state incentives and/or discounts for; Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington.

Electric Car Cost Per Mile vs Gas

3,369 kilowatts are needed to drive the annual mileage of 13,474 miles, this was used on a state by state basis for how much this costs per mile. As an average across the USA, this would mean the electric car cost per mile is just over $0.03, and our gas car comparison cost per mile is just over $0.06. This is just accounting for the cost of electricity and gas in vehicles, not other factors such as maintenance or taxes.

Insurance Cost Difference Between Electric & Gas Cars

The average insurance cost for the average American driver for an electric car in the US is $1,674, with Michigan being the most expensive state at $3,128, and North Carolina, being the cheapest at $1,038. The average cost for insurance of a gas car in the US is $1,232, with Michigan being the most expensive at $2,032, and North Carolina, the cheapest at $764. The price difference for insurance between electric cars and gas cars is, on average, $442 cheaper to insure a gas vehicle.

Is Charging an Electric Car Cheaper Than Gas?

The average annual cost of charging an electric vehicle in America is $460.32, referred to as the egallon, compared to the average refill cost for a gas car which is $837.92. With these averages, yes, it is cheaper to charge an electric car than it is to fill a gas car across the year. These prices will vary greatly by state, but in our dataset, the cost of electricity was cheaper than gas for running vehicles. This is backed up further by the 2018 study done by the University of Michigan who found that EVs were around half the price to run compared to gas alternatives.

Electric Vehicle vs Gas Car Tax

Without taking into account incentives and subsidies, taxes on electric vehicles are typically more expensive than gas cars. Across the states, the average cost of taxes for a gas car is $321 a year, compared to $504 for electric vehicles.

Maintenance Cost for Electric Cars vs Gas

The annual cost of maintenance for electric vehicles, specifically the Tesla Model 3, is $190 a year. For a gas powered car, the average annual cost of maintenance, specifically the country’s most popular model, the Toyota Rav 4, is $964.60. This is based on an annual mileage of over 13,000 miles. The maintenance cost for the average electric vehicle is $774.60 cheaper each year than a gas alternative.

Methodology

To work out the costs we used America’s most popular gas powered car, the Toyota Rav 4, and the most popular electric car, Tesla’s Model 3 Standard Range. Annual averages assume the cost will be spread out over a three year period. If the ‘Purchase price’ toggle is used, that data assumes an individual will spread the finance costs over a six year period. Costs were analyzed per state, including the prices of gas, electricity, insurance, EV incentives, taxes, registration costs and any other fees specific to a state.

To work out average insurance costs we used Quote Inspector in the largest city per state, and assumed a 40-year-old male driver with no accidents or violations, $500 comprehensive and collision deductibles, minimum liability limits, and uninsured/under-insured motorist coverage would be included. The average American who drives is between 40-44 years old.

Incentives were applied on a state by state basis, including Federal tax credits, State tax credits, Clean Vehicle Rebate Project, Utility Authority rebates, electric vehicle supply equipment (EVSE) rebates, income tax credits, among other funds. This number did not include an assumed cost of parking credits offered by many states.

Some states like Vermont require a certain income level to gain EV incentives. We used a slightly higher than average income (between $44,520 to $96,729) to apply the $2,500 EV incentive, instead of the $5,000 incentive for those earning under $44,520 assuming that those earning more may be more likely to purchase an electric vehicle.

For Tesla’s specifically, annual registration fees, EV ownership fees, home wall charger and labor costs, charging fees and additional average additional insurance premiums were accounted for per state.

Gas was totaled by using the average price per gallon of regular unleaded in each state. Charge data was accounted for using an average cost per KwH of Power. Cars were presumed to have an annual mileage of 13,474 miles, we used an approximation of an annual cost of maintenance per mile and how much gas or electric would be required each year. Average maintenance costs account for increased costs in years 2-3, this cost has been spread over 3 years accordingly.

Sources:

Data for this piece was collected from the United States Department of Transportation - Federal Highway Administration, The Alternative Fuels Data Center (AFDC), The National Conference of State Legislatures, FuelEconomy.gov, Department of Motor Vehicles, Finder.com, Statista, Edmunds, Tesla, Quote Inspector, and other state-specific governing bodies and consumer reports.