Some ICE cars are cheaper to run than electric vehicles: report

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A recent report calls into question the belief that all-electric cars are cheaper to run than internal combustion engines.

The Anderson Economics Group found that cheaper EVs are more expensive to operate than cheaper ICE vehicles. But as the price goes up the ladder, the gap narrows and then reverses.

The results are part of the group’s fueling cost estimates for ICE and similar electric vehicles in the first half of 2023. It looked at residential gasoline and electricity prices, commercial charging rates, fuel and EV tax rates, and fuel economy for popular models in each segment and allowance. Travel to commercial charging stations. It also looked at four categories of real-world costs for both ICE and EVs, including energy, taxes, pump or charger, and miles driven.

In all cases for electric vehicles, costs were higher when relying on public chargers compared to home charging.

“These results underscore the importance of considering real-world costs before making a purchasing decision,” the group commented. “This includes knowing how often you travel away from home, your ability to install and rely on a home charger, the costs and availability of commercial charging, and any road taxes imposed on EV drivers in (your area).”

In the entry-level segment of cars and crossovers, ICE vehicles were the most fuel efficient, costing about $9.78 (all figures in US dollars) per 100 miles. This compares to $12.55 for entry-priced EVs charged mostly at home and is much less than the $15.97 cost when charged mostly at commercial charging stations.

The gap closes slightly in the middle price segment. ICE vehicles are also still more affordable on fuel, but with their costs rising by about 13 percent to $11.08 per 100 miles, home EV charging costs are slightly higher by half a percent to $12.62. However, commercial shipping is also seeing an increase, but less dramatic, from ICE to $16.10.

It belongs to the category of luxury cars and crossovers, where electric cars that are charged at home make more economic sense. Owners of high-end EVs paid $13.50 per 100 miles, and ICE drivers paid $17.56 to fuel their comparable vehicles. The group indicated that the price of the gas premium required to fuel these vehicles was one of the factors. But charging commercially still costs EV drivers more than $17.81.

When it comes to pickup trucks, diesel options win the day with fuel costs of $17.10 per 100 miles. Gasoline-powered ones cost about $17.58 on fuel, while EV trucks that charge mostly at home cost $17.72. Commercial freight hits the wallet the hardest as drivers found themselves paying about $26.38 — more than $9 more than their diesel counterparts.

The group noted to its surprise that charging electric vehicles costs the same as gas and diesel versions, but only when charging them at home.

“For both businesses and those who drive their own trucks, it is important to consider the expected demands of travel to work sites, transportation, and extended road trips,” she said. “These will likely require regular trading fees which can be expensive and time-consuming.”

Comparison examples in the entry price category include the Nissan Versa and Honda Civic in the ICE class, and the Nissan Leaf and Chevy Bolt EVs. In the mid-price category, ICE vehicles included the Honda Accord and Chevrolet Malibu, while electric vehicles included the Hyundai IONIQ 5 and Tesla Model 3.

In the luxury segment, ICE vehicles included the BMW 5 Series and Audi A6, while electric vehicles included the Tesla Model 150 Lightning and Rivian R1T.

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