Investigation: Where Is It Cheaper to Charge an Electric Vehicle Than Fuel a Gas-Powered Car?

Powering an EV saves $1,056 annually compared to fueling a gas car, but only if drivers can afford a costly home charging setup.

Cassie Sheets
Written byCassie Sheets
Cassie Sheets
Cassie SheetsData Journalist
  • 9 years writing data-driven content

  • Lifestyle contributor to 30+ local news sites

Cassie Sheets has a background in home and garden and real estate content. At Insurify, she translates industry jargon into insights that empower insurance buyers.

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Tanveen Vohra
Edited byTanveen Vohra
Tanveen Vohra
Tanveen VohraManager of Content and Communications
  • Property and casualty insurance specialist

  • 4+ years creating insurance content

Tanveen manages Insurify's data insights, annual home and auto insurance reports, and media communications. She’s regularly featured in media interviews on insurance topics.

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Published July 2, 2024 at 12:00 PM PDT

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Transportation costs account for about one-fifth of all expenditures for the average American household, the second-largest expense after housing, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. Switching from a gas-powered car to an electric vehicle (EV) could save drivers about $1,000 per year on fuel costs, but the savings depend on how they charge their cars.

Gas cars, also known as internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles, have long been the more economical option for drivers. EVs are currently more expensive to buy (new ones cost 17% more than new ICE vehicles), more expensive to fix (repair costs are about $950 higher per claim than for ICEs), and more expensive to insure (11% higher full-coverage costs than ICEs).

However, with environmental concerns at the top of many consumers’ minds, one in five U.S. households is solely considering a hybrid or EV as their next vehicle.[1] High gas prices and low home-charging costs may push drivers toward EVs for long-term savings, but a lack of home-charging space and its installation costs are among the top barriers to EV adoption.[2]

Insurify conducted a state-by-state analysis of gas and charging costs and pulled car insurance rates from its database of more than 97 million quotes to determine where in the U.S. it’s cheaper to drive an EV than an ICE vehicle.

  • Insurify’s data scientists used the following sources to determine the cost of driving an EV vs. an ICE:

    • DCFC (direct current fast charging) public charging price data from Stable Insights

    • Regional gas price data for 2023 from the Energy Information Administration (EIA)

    • Residential electricity price data for 2023 from the EIA

    • State-specific gas price data for June 17, 2024, from AAA

    • Car insurance rate data from Insurify’s database

    Insurify calculated annual costs based on U.S. drivers’ average mileage of 13,456 miles per year.[3] The data science team assumed an average fuel economy of 26.9 mpg, based on EPA estimates, and an average EV electricity use of 0.35 kilowatt-hours (kWh) per mile, according to EnergySage data.

Quick Facts
  • Fueling a traditional car costs an average of 2.4 times more per year than owning an EV and charging it at home.

  • Charging an EV at home costs an average of $753 per year, but drivers who rely on public charging stations pay 2.7 times more. Costly home-charging setups can be a barrier to adoption.

  • Publicly charging an EV costs 11% more than fueling a gas-powered car, at an average of $2,025 per year, according to an analysis of Stable Insights data.

  • While it’s cheaper to fuel an ICE vehicle than to publicly charge an EV in the majority of states, the opposite is true in nine states. In California, Iowa, Mississippi, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oregon, Washington, Wisconsin, and Wyoming, it’s actually still cheaper to own and publicly charge an EV than fuel an ICE.

  • Installing a Level 2 wall-mounted EV charging system at home costs an average of $1,200, but updating an electrical panel, circuits, and breaker box at the same time pushes the total cost to $6,400 or more.

Home charging is cheaper than filling up your tank in every state

Charging an EV at home is less expensive than fueling a gas-powered vehicle in every state, according to AAA data on average regular gas prices from June 17, 2024.[4]

Regular gas costs $1,724 per year, assuming an annual mileage of 13,456 miles and a fuel economy of 26.9 mpg. Residential charging costs 56% less, at $753 per year, assuming the same annual mileage and an EV electricity use of 0.35 kWh per mile.

Washington residents, who saw average gas prices of $4.35 as of mid-June 2024, save the most by driving an EV and charging at home, at $1,657 per year. Massachusetts residents saw the smallest difference between home charging and gas, at $341 per year. The state also has the third-highest residential electricity costs in the U.S., at $0.29 per kWh, according to EIA data.

StateAvg. Annual Regular Gas Costs (AAA)Avg. Annual Residential Charging CostResidential Charging Savings
United States$1,724$753$972
Alabama$1,532$687$846
Alaska$1,970$1,125$845
Arizona$1,822$660$1,162
Arkansas$1,468$576$892
California$2,421$1,362$1,059
Colorado$1,647$674$972
Connecticut$1,776$1,406$370
Delaware$1,770$742$1,028
Florida$1,619$718$901
Georgia$1,640$647$993
Hawaii$2,360$1,995$365
Idaho$1,790$524$1,266
Illinois$1,878$745$1,133
Indiana$1,718$704$1,014
Iowa$1,569$622$947
Kansas$1,507$641$866
Kentucky$1,632$588$1,044
Louisiana$1,501$543$958
Maine$1,709$1,293$416
Maryland$1,804$781$1,023
Massachusetts$1,726$1,385$341
Michigan$1,786$881$905
Minnesota$1,608$686$922
Mississippi$1,460$632$828
Missouri$1,520$601$918
Montana$1,696$585$1,110
Nebraska$1,575$532$1,043
Nevada$2,026$785$1,241
New Hampshire$1,677$1,333$343
New Jersey$1,695$835$860
New Mexico$1,571$667$904
New York$1,798$1,048$750
North Carolina$1,628$624$1,004
North Dakota$1,631$517$1,115
Ohio$1,731$728$1,003
Oklahoma$1,498$578$920
Oregon$2,046$597$1,449
Pennsylvania$1,825$852$972
Rhode Island$1,707$1,318$389
South Carolina$1,549$664$885
South Dakota$1,611$577$1,034
Tennessee$1,517$578$939
Texas$1,503$674$829
Utah$1,695$527$1,168
Vermont$1,736$980$756
Virginia$1,680$675$1,004
Washington$2,174$517$1,657
Washington, D.C.$1,831$770$1,061
West Virginia$1,680$663$1,017
Wisconsin$1,628$790$838
Wyoming$1,642$539$1,103

AAA publishes state-by-state gas prices but not historical data, so true annual savings may be lower due to seasonal fluctuations. Insurify’s data scientists next analyzed 2023’s average gas prices from the EIA, which publishes data for U.S. regions and select states, to determine how seasonality affects the cost of driving an EV vs. an ICE.

Gas prices still surpass home charging after factoring in seasonality

Charging an EV at home is cheaper than fueling a car in every state, according to AAA’s data from June 17, 2024, but gas prices are highest in the summer, with gasoline blends formulated for warmer months.

Insurify’s data science team used 2023 EIA gas price data to adjust for seasonality. The EIA doesn’t publish gas data for every state, but the trend holds across regions when looking at average annual fuel prices from 2023.

Region/StateAvg. Annual Cost to Fuel ICE (2023 EIA Gas Prices)Avg. Annual Cost of Home ChargingHome Charging Savings
United States$1,818$753$1,065
East Coast$1,752$942$810
Florida$1,726$718$1,008
Massachusetts$1,796$1,385$411
New York$1,831$1,048$783
Midwest$1,719$659$1,060
Minnesota$1,726$686$1,040
Ohio$1,706$728$978
Gulf Coast$1,591$612$978
Texas$1,576$674$901
Rocky Mountain$1,858$565$1,293
Colorado$1,836$674$1,161
West Coast$2,316$989$1,327
California$2,441$1,362$1,079
Washington$2,271$517$1,754

Home charging may be cheap, but setting it up is not

The national average cost of installing a Level 2 wall-mounted EV charging system is $1,200, according to the contractor estimates site Fixr.[5] But installing home charging stations can have hidden costs, which can bring the total installation price to $6,400 or more.

Residential chargers often require electrical work, especially in older homes. Upgrading breaker boxes and electrical panels costs between $850 and $4,000, and installing higher amperage circuits adds another $600 to $1,200.[6] EV drivers who can’t afford a new system can rely on public charging stations, but they’ll pay more than double what it costs to charge at home.

Public charging is more expensive than gas in all but nine states

The average annual cost of DCFC public charging in the U.S. is $2,025, compared to $1,818 per year for fuel costs, according to an analysis of Stable Insights and EIA data.

The West Coast is the only U.S. region where public charging is cheaper on average than gas, EIA data shows. West Coast drivers pay more than average for public charging, at $2,261, but also face higher-than-average gas prices, at $2,316 per year.

Region/StateAvg. Annual Cost to Fuel ICE (2023 EIA Gas Prices)Avg. Annual Cost of DCFC Public ChargingDifference Between Gas and Public Charging Costs
United States$1,818$2,025-$207
East Coast$1,752$2,166-$415
Florida$1,726$2,119-$394
Massachusetts$1,796$2,496-$700
New York$1,831$2,308-$477
Midwest$1,719$1,743-$23
Minnesota$1,726$1,884-$158
Ohio$1,706$1,884-$178
Gulf Coast$1,591$2,025-$434
Texas$1,576$2,402-$826
Rocky Mountain$1,858$2,119-$261
Colorado$1,836$2,166-$331
West Coast$2,316$2,261$55
California$2,441$2,402$39
Washington$2,271$2,214$58

Public charging stations need to reach a 15% utilization rate to achieve profitability, according to Stable Insights.[7] The West Coast’s higher EV adoption rate results in greater charger utilization and lower charging costs.

In California, 2.5% of registered cars are EVs, with 22 EVs for every DCFC charging port.[8] Californians pay $39 less annually to charge an EV at a public station than to fuel the average ICE.

Government incentives also reduce public charging costs in California, where workplaces that install Level 2 charging stations are eligible for $3,000 off the purchase and installation of each unit, up to $60,000 per site.

When drivers only have access to public charging stations, driving a gas-powered car is more economical in most states.

AAA data from mid-June 2024 shows public charging is less expensive than gas in eight states — California, Iowa, Mississippi, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oregon, Wisconsin, and Wyoming. The EIA’s 2023 gas price data suggests Washington drivers also save slightly ($58 annually), for a total of nine states where public charging is cheaper than gas. Nebraskans save the most on public charging vs. gas, at $586 per year. Nebraska is the only state in the U.S. in which all electricity utilities are publicly owned by public power districts, municipal power systems, or electric cooperatives. Nebraska’s electric rates are the fifth cheapest in the nation at $0.11 per kWH.

The gas data in the table below are from AAA and reflect prices as of June 17, 2024.

StateAvg. Annual Fuel Costs, Regular Gas (AAA)Avg. Annual DCFC Public Charging CostDifference Between Fuel and Public Charging Costs
United States$1,724$2,025-$301
Alabama$1,532$1,884-$352
Alaska$1,970N/A*N/A*
Arizona$1,822$2,496-$674
Arkansas$1,468$2,214-$745
California$2,421$2,402$19
Colorado$1,647$2,166-$520
Connecticut$1,776$2,449-$673
Delaware$1,770$1,978-$208
Florida$1,619$2,119-$501
Georgia$1,640$1,931-$291
Hawaii$2,360N/A*N/A*
Idaho$1,790$2,166-$377
Illinois$1,878$2,214-$335
Indiana$1,718$2,166-$449
Iowa$1,569$1,366$203
Kansas$1,507$1,648-$141
Kentucky$1,632$2,496-$864
Louisiana$1,501$2,308-$807
Maine$1,709$2,261-$551
Maryland$1,804$1,931-$127
Massachusetts$1,726$2,496-$770
Michigan$1,786$1,931-$145
Minnesota$1,608$1,884-$276
Mississippi$1,460$1,177$283
Missouri$1,520$1,743-$223
Montana$1,696$2,637-$942
Nebraska$1,575$989$586
Nevada$2,026$2,308-$282
New Hampshire$1,677$1,837-$160
New Jersey$1,695$2,496-$801
New Mexico$1,571$2,166-$596
New York$1,798$2,308-$509
North Carolina$1,628$1,931-$303
North Dakota$1,631$1,319$313
Ohio$1,731$1,884-$153
Oklahoma$1,498$2,119-$621
Oregon$2,046$1,978$68
Pennsylvania$1,825$2,261-$436
Rhode Island$1,707$2,496-$789
South Carolina$1,549$2,025-$476
South Dakota$1,611$1,648-$37
Tennessee$1,517$1,790-$273
Texas$1,503$2,402-$899
Utah$1,695$2,072-$377
Vermont$1,736$1,884-$148
Virginia$1,680$1,978-$298
Washington$2,174$2,214-$40
Washington, D.C.$1,831N/A*N/A*
West Virginia$1,680$2,449-$769
Wisconsin$1,628$1,601$27
Wyoming$1,642$1,507$135
*Excluded due to lack of data.

How much it costs to charge popular EV models

The average EV uses 0.35 kWh of electricity per mile.[9] The average American drives 13,456 miles per year, which puts the average cost of home charging at $753 per year. EV drivers using public charging stations pay 2.7 times as much, at an average of $2,025 annually.

EV efficiency varies. The Tesla Model 3 uses just 0.25 kWh of electricity per mile, so its average residential charging cost is just $538 per year. On the other hand, the heavy-duty Ford F-150 Lightning uses 0.48 kWh per mile, so the average home charging cost is nearly double, at $1,032 annually.

EV Car ModelAvg. Annual Cost of DCFC Public ChargingAvg. Cost of Residential ChargingAvg. Annual Cost of Full-Coverage Insurance (2023)
Tesla Model 3$1,447$538$3,551
Tesla Model Y$1,678$624$3,194
Ford F-150 Lightning$2,777$1,032$2,861
Nissan LEAF$1,736$645$2,453
Chevrolet Bolt EUV$1,678$624$2,602

Overall, it’s cheaper to own an EV than an ICE — but only if you’re home charging

Insurify’s data science team compared the cost of powering five popular EVs to fueling five comparable ICEs using Stable Insights data on public DCFC charging costs and 2023 EIA data on residential electric and gas prices. Insurify also factored in average annual insurance rates to find out how the total cost of driving an EV compares to gas-powered cars.

While insuring a gas-powered vehicle is 11% cheaper than insuring an electric car, EV drivers with home-charging setups still save hundreds of dollars more per year because gasoline is more expensive than residential electricity.

Buddy Parkhurst, a licensed insurance agent at Insurify, explains: “There are a few reasons for higher insurance pricing on EVs. Tesla vehicles are very popular right now — the No. 1 EV that Insurify quotes. Most Tesla vehicles can travel one-quarter of a mile from a dead stop in 10 seconds. Other EVs are similar in power, which dictates a higher-risk premium. EVs are also expensive to repair, especially if the battery, or batteries, are damaged in an accident.”

Public charging is still cheaper for highly efficient EVs than fuel is for comparable ICEs, but the savings are much lower. The high cost of public charging makes powering less efficient EVs more expensive than fueling similar gas-powered cars.

Factoring in Tesla Model 3’s average annual full-coverage rate of $3,551, insuring and charging the EV at home costs a total of $4,089 per year. The comparable gas-powered Mercedes-Benz A-Class costs $3,445 to insure and $1,746 to fuel annually, making the total cost $5,191 — 27% higher than the Model 3.

ICE Car ModelAverage Annual Cost of Gas (EIA, 2023)Average Annual Cost of Full Coverage (2023)
Mercedes-Benz A-Class$1,746$3,445
Audi Q3$1,956$2,780
Ford F-Series Pickup$2,445$2,439
Nissan Versa$1,397$2,756
Chevrolet Trax$1,630$2,325

But these Tesla Model 3 savings decrease for drivers who use public charging stations. The average annual cost of public charging for a Model 3 is $1,447, which raises the total cost to drive it to $4,998 per year — just 4% less than the Mercedes-Benz A-Class.

In another example, Insurify compared two Ford models: the F-150 Lightning (an EV) and the F-Series truck (an ICE). If charged at home, the Lightning costs an average of $1,032 annually, while the F-Series costs $2,445 to fuel — a 137% increase.

If an F-150 Lightning driver relies on public charging, they’ll end up paying an average of $2,777 for the Lightning, which is 169% more than charging at home and 14% more than fueling an F-Series. Full coverage for a Ford F-150 Lightning also averages $422 more per year than insurance for a gas-powered F-Series pickup.

Methodology

Insurify’s data science team used public charging data from Stable Insights, 2023 gas price data for regions and select states from the EIA, 2023 residential electric data from the EIA, and regular gas price data from AAA. State-level AAA data reflects average gas prices as of June 17, 2024. EIA gas price data are for all gasoline formulations.

Insurify calculated annual costs based on a yearly mileage of 13,456 miles, the U.S. average according to the Federal Highway Administration. Gas costs are for vehicles with a fuel economy of 26.9 mpg, which is the average for ICEs, according to the EPA. Electric costs reflect an EV that uses 0.35 kWh/mile, the average per EnergySage.

Insurance rates reflect 2023 Insurify data for drivers between 20 and 70 with a clean driving record and average or better credit. Vehicles are from the model years 2019 to 2024. View and download more car insurance data at Insurify’s Auto Insurance Data Center.

Sources

  1. GBK Collective. "Charging Ahead: Putting the U.S. Demand for Electric and Hybrid Vehicles in Context."
  2. University of Texas at Arlington. "Evaluation of barriers to electric vehicle adoption: A study of technological, environmental, financial, and infrastructure factors."
  3. U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration. "Highway Statistics Series."
  4. AAA. "National Average Gas Prices."
  5. Fixr. "How much does it cost to install an electric vehicle charging station at home?."
  6. Capital One. "How Much Does a Home EV Charger Really Cost?."
  7. Stable Insights. "EV Charging Pricing Trends."
  8. ArcGIS. "Percent of light-duty vehicles that are Battery Electric Vehicles."
  9. EnergySage. "How many watts does an electric car charger use?."
Cassie Sheets
Cassie SheetsData Journalist

Cassie Sheets has more than nine years of experience creating compelling content for clients, brands, and local news sites. She started her career at Movoto Real Estate, where she transformed dry data into interesting insights for potential homebuyers. She’s since covered a wide range of topics, from pop culture news to home and garden trends.

Before joining Insurify, Cassie wrote engaging landing pages and blog posts for medical practices at MyAdvice. Now, she uses her knack for diving into the latest data and pulling out key details to empower insurance buyers.

Cassie holds a BFA in Creative Writing from Columbia College Chicago. In her free time, you can find her exploring the city with her dog, trying not to fall over in yoga classes, and petting cats at the shelter.

Tanveen Vohra
Edited byTanveen VohraManager of Content and Communications
Tanveen Vohra
Tanveen VohraManager of Content and Communications
  • Property and casualty insurance specialist

  • 4+ years creating insurance content

Tanveen manages Insurify's data insights, annual home and auto insurance reports, and media communications. She’s regularly featured in media interviews on insurance topics.

Featured in

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