An EV is a smart investment if you’re concerned about the environment and want to make more sustainable choices. Driving electric rather than gas reduces your carbon footprint and gives Mother Nature a leg up in combating climate change. Here are some of the main benefits and drawbacks of driving an EV.
Electric cars are cheaper to fuel than gas cars
A 2018 study by the University of Michigan found that the average cost to drive a gas vehicle was $1,117 per yearcompared to $485 per year for an EV. That is a significant saving of $632 per year. Gas prices are much higher now, making the difference even more notable in 2022.
To see how much more significant the savings could be today, let’s compare the price of gas in 2018 and now. The U.S. Energy Information Administration reports that the average gas price in May 2018 was $2.99 compared to $4.55 in May 2022. That means a driver who uses 374 gallons of gas in a year would likely pay just over $1,700 this year compared to $1,117 in 2018. If 2022 EV costs were the same as 2018, you’d see a whopping savings of $1,215! These savings could even allow you to make an extra mortgage payment or take a much-needed weekend vacation.
Electric cars don’t require routine maintenance
If you’ve owned a gas car, you’ve likely heard about the importance of routine maintenance — and for good reason! Gas cars need regular oil changes to continue running smoothly and efficiently (generally every 3,000 to 5,000 miles, depending on the car). On the other hand, EVs don’t need oil changes since they don’t use engine oil.
EV owners can skip other types of maintenance, such as spark plug replacement. While EVs still need regular tire rotations, this service costs much less than a gas car’s oil change/tire rotation combo.
The government offers tax breaks on many EVs
The U.S. government offers a sweet tax rebate for buying certain electric vehicles. This deal can equal up to $7,500 back if you buy an EV. Some states also have tax rebates, sweetening the deal even further.
Not all EVs are eligible for this tax credit. It’s only available until an automaker has sold a certain number of cars. As of June 2022, EVs sold by Tesla and General Motors are no longer eligible. Ask the car dealer whether the EV you’ve got your eye on is eligible for the tax credit, and if so, how much you can get back.
EV charging infrastructure is limited in many places
Electric vehicles are still in the minority on the road, and EV charging infrastructure is often lacking. If you live in a populous state like California or New York, you’ll likely find a charging station pretty easily. But it’ll be much harder to find a charger if you live in a more rural state like Oklahoma or Idaho.
However, EV drivers tend to do most of their charging at home. Unless you frequently drive long distances, you’ll be able to juice up your EV enough at home to get you to and from work or around town. The lack of EV charging infrastructure isn’t a deal-breaker in this case.
It generally takes longer to charge an EV than to fuel a gas car
How long does it take to gas up your vehicle — maybe 5 minutes, max? It takes much longer to charge an EV, which can be off-putting for many drivers. Depending on the model and type of charger, it can take anywhere from 30 minutes to 12 hours to charge an electric car.
That’s why it makes sense to plug your car in overnight at home while you sleep. Of course, if you’re taking a road trip, you’ll still have to use public chargers. Charging your EV could add extra time to your trip if your EV has a relatively short range.