# In California, what is better per mile, gasoline or electricity (for regular car or electric car)?

I'm not interested on the advantages or disadvantages for gas vs electric, just the prices and if you can tell me how u calculated it (i'm good on math but need the prices and variables). I already have a gas car but wondering if I should get an electric one for just in town (about 20 miles per day)

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• 8 years ago

The electric vehicle, using the assumptions below will cost, in fuel alone, less than 1/3 the cost of a petrol vehicle. Your numbers will vary as will your usage and the particular assumptions you make to fix numbers and what numbers you don't consider worth the time calculating.

First you need to know much energy does your vehicle require for the distance traveled. This is the "gas mileage" for a conventional vehicle. In the calculations below I use a national average of about 22 miles to the gallon.(mpg) You will need to substitute your information. There is always a caution with these sorts of numbers that your mileage can vary.

Like petrol vehicles the fuel usage of an EV will vary from vehicle to vehicle. The most useful measure is the kWh / mile(s.) The EPA says the Nissan Leaf has the somewhat wide variation of 32 city and 37 highway kWh /100 miles with a combined 34 kWh / 100 miles.2 ( .34 kWh per mile) Other testers say they managed 3.77miles per kWh (notice terms are reversed.3) So there can be some variability. Like petrol vehicles you might have to consider a range and make some guesses about your own driving.

Now, miles / gallon does not use the same terms and is not even the same ratio as kWh / mile. So we will use different formulas to come to cost per mile. When you know the miles per gallon you only have to divide the cost of a gallon of gasoline by the miles per gallon to give you the cost per mile. As an example, the average California price of gasoline today is \$3.67/ gallon. http://www.californiagasprices.com/Prices_national... If we use our average mileage of \$.22 we get ( 3.67 / 22 = ) \$ .17 per mile for fuel alone. http://wiki.answers.com/Q/What_is_the_formula_used...

The average price for electricity in California is \$ .1485/kWh. http://205.254.135.7/electricity/monthly/epm_table... Using the previous example of a Nissan Leaf and assuming no off peak reduced prices (Typically a 50% discount) and the EPA combined mileage the formula of usage x rate becomes: (.34 kWh/mile x \$.1485/kWh = ) \$.05 per mile.

This cost per mile is only part of a larger picture of the return on investment (ROI) which is only one measure of EV ownership and because of its potential complexity can be misleading.1 It is not just a matter of math but of making reasonable guesses and understanding the errors you make when you assume or leave out some calculations.

The ROI depends upon such factors as interest on money spent, assumption of future interest, anticipated cost of vehicles, the fuel cost detailed above, anticipated maintenance costs some of which we can guess based upon other electric devices and the fixed costs of the vehicles like insurance, taxes and depreciation. What you asked for may only seem a little simpler, the cost per mile. The devil is in the details and you need to understand that not all "costs" can be determined with equal accuracy. Some guesswork and assumptions will always be required. You can further fit these assumptions into some estimate of the life of the car or per year and further estimate the miles driven during that vehicle life expectancy or year to get what may be a closer approximation to an overall "cost per mile."

Source(s): 1 1 http://cleantechnica.com/2012/06/28/roi-misused-me... 2 http://www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/noframes/32154.shtm... 3 http://www.suburbangreenrevolution.com/site.com/Le... But this is likely to vary by location, climate, traffic and owner operation (do you have a lead foot and love acceleration or do you practice hypermiling techniques. http://commutesolutions.org/external/calc.html Note to EV Mikey: your answer is correct but your formula for gas mileage is backwards.
• Elaine
Lv 4
4 years ago

At this time, yes. Coal is one of the leading producers of electricity. However, if you stop burning petroleum while the coal burning is going on, that is a slight improvement. With time, we will see more renewable energy (wind, solar, etc.), and that will help reduce the amount of fossil fuels being burned even more. It is also true that batteries are made from materials like nickel and lithium, among others. These materials are usually able to be recycled to make new batteries. Many recycling stations, mechanics, and auto parts stores will take old car batteries so that they can be recycled. Furthermore, energy technology is a hot field, and new innovations in storing electricity are emerging everyday. Electrical engineers are constantly looking for ways to produce and store energy in more powerful and less polluting ways. With the current rate of technological growth, I predict that within 20 years, we will have cars which are highway capable and are powered with a battery no bigger than your fist. Time will tell.

• 8 years ago

I would break it down to cents per mile, which is the most fair way to compare the two. I don't know the variables in your neighborhood, so I'll show you how to calculate it using the my example.

My Honda Civic gets 28 Miles Per Gallon, (out of shape, I know)

divided by gas price of \$3.70 gives me

.148 or 14¢ per mile.

A comparable sized electric car would use 3.5 miles per kilowatt hour

divide that by the price of a electricity of .07¢ per kilowatt hour

0.02 or 2¢ per mile.

• 8 years ago

Well, I would do it, but somebody else already has.

Read the snopes part, not the chain letter at the top.

There are others, chances are if there's an electric car dealership near you they have done it already too.