December 1, 2021

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Electric car cost vs. gas comparison: Charging, discounts, tax credits

A recent study analyzing the cost to power electric vehicles compared with internal combustion engine vehicles has generated debate and inspired reader questions.

The study found gasoline cars to be slightly cheaper to fuel than some EVs, depending on several factors.

That study is an outlier. Many studies show the opposite to be true.

More:Study compares electric vehicle charge costs vs. gas — and results were surprising

Still, no single study can account for every scenario in car ownership. 

There are differences in: Personal driving habits, the local cost of gasoline, access to public charging, personal charging habits, fuel economy of the ICE car versus driving range of the EV model … to name a few.

The consensus is that most EV owners charge predominantly at home, but the public infrastructure required to support widespread EV adoption still needs work. 

As interest in EVs grows among buyers, here are some top-of-mind questions and answers inspired by readers.

More: 4 things to know before you buy an electric vehicle

Q: Which is cheaper to own: An EV or internal combustion engine car? 

A: The consensus is an EV.

That’s factoring in tax credits at time of purchase of a new EV and lower maintenance costs because EVs have fewer parts and don’t need regular care such as oil changes or antifreeze. Many EV owners also say there is a time savings to not waiting in service lounges for routine vehicle maintenance.

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