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EV gas price equivalent pegged at $17 a gallon with all federal or indirect subsidies

Total EV costs may be higher than fueling gas cars (image: Tesla)
Total EV costs may be higher than fueling gas cars (image: Tesla)
While higher fuel prices moved the needle in favor of electric cars in many a direct charging rate vs gas prices comparison in the past year or so, the calculation is not that simple. A Texas Public Policy Foundation study claims that the hidden costs of owning an EV are way higher.

Earlier this year, a report claimed that charging electric vehicles have achieved near cost parity with the fueling of the average gas-powered car in the US, after an 18-month advantageous spree for EVs thanks to high oil prices as a result of geopolitical tensions.

When accounting for the US government's subsidies, however, as well as for the strain on the grid placed by fast chargers and the fuel tax losses, the EV cost equivalent of fueling a gas-powered car comes out to about $17/gallon.

A study by the conservative Texas Public Policy Foundation (TPPF) think tank has arrived at that claim by examining all the direct and indirect subsidies that electric vehicles can take advantage of at the moment, for example:

An EV charging that same amount in 20 minutes at a fast charging station pulls down 120 kW, about as much electricity as an average grocery store consumes. The cost to the utility to serve this load - including replacement and upgrade of transformers, circuits, feeders, and transmission lines, as well as extra overhead costs like metering and billing required to service the charging stations - is socialized across all the utility’s ratepayers and not directly charged to the EV owners.

When accounting for such indirect subsidies, not to mention the extra cost of emission regulations on gas-powered vehicles, the TPPF study calculates that the "average EV accrues $48,698 in subsidies and $4,569 in extra charging and electricity costs over a 10-year period, for a total cost of $53,267, or $16.12 per equivalent gallon of gasoline," which is more than four times the current average cost per gallon of gas in the US.

Some of the direct or indirect electric vehicle subsidies will inevitably be phased out at some point, though, which would change those calculations just like upcoming technology advancements such as solid-state batteries could.

A number of states, for instance, have started to awaken to the fact that electric vehicles are putting a heavier toll on public roads and yet don't participate in their maintenance via the fuel tax levied at the pump. They now levy annual EV road taxes ranging from $50 in Colorado to $200 in Texas that are often higher than the fuel taxes that the average gas-powered car owner pays there, reflecting the increased amortization that heavier electric vehicles cause to public roads.

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> Expert Reviews and News on Laptops, Smartphones and Tech Innovations > News > News Archive > Newsarchive 2023 11 > EV gas price equivalent pegged at $17 a gallon with all federal or indirect subsidies
Daniel Zlatev, 2023-11-24 (Update: 2023-11-24)