NREL recently found that the average lifetime savings of fueling an EV is $3,000 to $10,500 (even $14,500 with some states!) compared to gas-fueled vehicles.
How can you max out these savings with your own EV?
Here are a few tips to help you plan out your ongoing cost savings:
- Charge your EV at home in an economically savvy way.
Depending on where you live, charging your vehicle during an off-peak time of day can result in big savings. If your utility charges a higher rate to consume electricity during certain times of the day, you can use these off-peak hours to save money per charge. Referred to as time-of-use (TOU) rate, you pay a lower price per kWh (a unit of energy) during different times of the day. (Note: not all electric customers are on TOU rates.)
As an example, PG&E’s TOU rate “peak pricing” charges a higher $/kWh during the hours of 5pm – 8pm. Charging your EV during those times would be far more expensive than charging during “off peak” hours. PG&E also offers a special TOU rate for electric vehicle owners. Often these super off-peak EV rates are significantly less than TOU rates because they are designed just for EV use, which can reduce your bills in the long-run. Check with your utility to see if there are special rates you qualify for. Want to learn more about TOU rates? Energysage has an excellent blog post on this topic.
- Participate in money-saving EV programs offered by your local utility.
Many utilities are offering up-front discounts for taking part in their EV-specific programs – which can provide you with big long-term savings. Avista Utilities’ EVSE Pilot Program is an example of something called a smart charging program designed as a win-win for the utility and your charging needs. When you plug in your EV and leave it charging, the utility can use your EV battery to help the grid, while still ensuring that your vehicle is fueled up and ready to go when you’ll need it. It’s worth checking out your local utility website to see if they have EV programs or pilots that you can participate in.
- Look for free charging opportunities at your office or in your local community.
Nothing is better than finding a free place to charge. The number of workplace and community charging stations are rapidly growing. Numerous states are offering workplace incentives to install EV charging for their employees. The Massachusetts Electric Vehicle Incentive Program (MassEVIP) provides grants to help businesses install chargers.
Utilities are also offering charging installation incentives, like Duke Energy’s Park & Plug pilot program. Duke Energy’s efforts, like many utilities, help provide incentives for chargers at apartments, condos, workplaces, businesses, and places you shop. These investments suggest that charging station options will increase during the life of your EV.
There are also opportunities to charge your EV at local businesses who have deployed chargers with the hope that you’ll spend some of your time in their store. Many of these charging stations are free to use, but some can cost money.
- Take advantage of free parking and no-cost HOV use and toll discounts.
In more than 10 states, EVs have a clear advantage over gas-powered vehicles when it comes to commuting. These states offer exemptions for EVs to use HOV (High Occupancy Vehicle) lanes without penalty or extra cost. New Jersey even provides a 10% discount on off-peak tolls in the NJ Turnpike and Garden State Parkway.
Often having an EV can score you free parking perks too, such as in Cincinnati, Ohio where an “All-Electric Vehicle Incentive Program” offers free parking to all-electric vehicles at city parking meters, kiosks for street parking, and one city-owned garage. Check with your local government to see what EV bonuses are available to you.