A New Method For Estimating “Green Miles”

The southern United States boasts some of the most affordable gas prices in the nation. Coming in at under $3.30, these rates – while seemingly cheap – are actually nearly three times the cost of fueling an electric car to drive the same distance, according to the US Department of Energy's (DOE) eGallon.

The eGallon is a recently developed measurement of how much the energy cost would be for the driver of an electric vehicle (EV) compared to regular gasoline car or truck owners. It's calculated by taking the average distance that a gasoline-powered vehicle can drive on a gallon of gas (28.2 miles for comparable 2012 model year cars), and then calculating how much it would cost to drive the average EV that same distance.This system is designed to produce both regional estimates for the relative cost of gasoline for traditionally built cars, as well as a national number. 

It presents a quick visual of the energy consumption savings drivers can get by switching from conventional gas vehicles to an EV. The DOE also highlights the stable cost of electricity as compared to the fluctuating nature of gas prices. According to the DOE, gas prices will spike up and down based on world events, whereas electricity is produced regionally and prices are more easily regulated.

Other factors not mentioned, like time based rates – where the rate of utility billing drops during non-peak times – and free, public charging stations, mean the savings by going green with your next car could be far more than the eGallon tool suggests. The DOE reports that more Americans are switching to electric cars – the EV market achieved its 100,000th sale as of this past May –  as "technology continues to improve and the cost of the vehicles continues to fall." Currently, the cheapest EV on the market goes at just over $30,000 and qualifies for the IRS Plug-In Vehicle Tax Credit. 

Stay reading LifeIsGreen.com for more information on eco-friendly cars and other important topics in the green economy.

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