Ask Eartha: Electric vehicles are the future
Dear Eartha, the gas prices make me shudder. I’ve heard that electric cars are cheaper to drive than my gas guzzlers. Is that true?
I also pinch. Currently, the average price for a gallon of gasoline in the US is $ 3.18. But in Summit County it costs $ 3.89, which means it costs over $ 50 to fill the tank of my little four-cylinder car. So it’s no surprise that many of us wonder if there are cheaper ways to get around.
Well of course there is! In our automotive culture, it’s easy to forget that cycling (if any) and bus travel are completely free in Summit County. Fortunately, we have excellent recreational routes and public transportation in our community. However, these aren’t always practical options, especially if you have a long commute to work, don’t live near a bus route, work after dark, or have to drag children around. If you can’t get rid of your four-wheeled vehicle yet, it may be time to think about an electric car.
The sticker price
Do you think I’m crazy about offering electric cars to save money? Let me finish Luxury electric vehicles are getting a lot of attention, but not all electric cars are expensive models. And the cost of gas-powered cars is rising steadily. In July, JD Power reported that The average purchase price for a new gasoline vehicle was over $ 41,000. Sure, you can buy an electric car for over $ 40,000, but there are also plenty of models out there that don’t cost that much. For example a Nissan Leaf 2022 starts at $ 27,400. A $ 2,500 Colorado tax credit (often offered as a pre-discount) plus a $ 7,500 tax credit you can get $ 10,000 off sticker price, making the total cost of a brand new car less than $ 20,000.
While the Leaf and other cheaper models like the Hyundai Kona or Chevy Bolt aren’t all-wheel drive, you can use these savings to buy a hefty set of winter tires. Even better, Xcel Energy launched a new range of electric vehicle programs just last month. Incentives include discounts of $ 3,000 to $ 5,500 for low-income customers who purchase a new or used electric vehicle.
Forgotten cost of owning a car
It is common for people to look at the retail prices of electric cars and dismiss them as too expensive. Surely none of us should buy a vehicle that we cannot afford; I’m not here to encourage bad financial decisions! However, it’s important to remember that sticker price is only one aspect of owning a car. Fuel and maintenance are additional costs that can easily be taken for granted unless the price of gas goes up.
Electric vehicles have fewer moving parts than gas vehicles and therefore require less maintenance. There is no need for oil, air filters or spark plugs, and fewer fluids need to be topped up. They are also more willing to brake. At AAAs Driving cost analysis 2021, the average cost of ownership of a car driven 10,000 miles per year is $ 2,028. Electric vehicles have about half the cost of ownership at just $ 1,136 a year. 10+ years of car ownership translates into a savings of nearly $ 9,000.
But how much does it cost to âfill upâ an electric vehicle in the Xcel Energy network? To fully charge Volkswagen’s new ID.4, which has a range of around 250 miles, you would pay around $ 10. Compare that to the average gasoline car in 2021, which, at today’s gasoline prices, would cost $ 36 to drive the same 250 miles. EV drivers can save even more by taking advantage of Xcel’s new EV-specific tariffs, which stimulate charging at night when electricity demand is lower.
Step on the tires
Electric cars are the future, but you don’t have to take my word for it. See what Summit Electric Vehicle Ride & Drive is all about from 4-7pm Wednesday September 22nd in the parking lot of the Frisco Adventure Park Day Lodge. Hosted by the High Country Conservation Center and the Summit Climate Action Collaborative, multiple electric vehicle models will be available for test drives, and local electric vehicle enthusiasts will be on hand to show off their cars and answer any questions you may have. For more information, see HighCountryConservation.org.
Ask Eartha Steward was written by the staff of the High Country Conservation Center, a non-profit organization dedicated to reducing waste and conserving resources. Send questions to Eartha at [email protected].