How Much Does An Electric Car Increase An Electric Bill? 


Electric cars require electricity to run, so of course, you will see an increase in your electric bill from charging an electric vehicle. But how much electricity does an electric vehicle actually use? I mean, we are talking about enough electricity to move a heavy piece of metal and passengers a couple of hundred miles, which must take a lot of power. Do you need to be concerned then about having to pay an arm and a leg on your power bill just because of an electric car?

How much does an electric car increase an electric bill? Charging an electric vehicle at home will most likely add between $25 and $55 to your electric bill each month. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, the average cost of a kWh in the United States is $0.13. So if you fully charge a vehicle with a 200 kWh battery it will cost around $9 to fully charge it. The further you plan on driving, the more it will cost.

There are websites like afdc.energy.gov that have vehicle cost calculators where you can enter in things like the size of your battery, make and model and your average miles traveled each day. All of this information will create an estimation of the exact cost for you. The biggest factor in how much it will cost to charge your electric vehicle is the distance you travel. The farther you travel the more energy you are using and the more you will have to charge your car which is going to cost more. 

Another thing to remember is that, unless you are driving more at a certain time of year, the increase in your electric bill due to charging an electric vehicle is going to be constant (even though your total electric bill might vary depending on the time of year due to heating and cooling costs). So once you figure out how much you spend on average charging your vehicle, you can use that to calculate how much it will cost you for the entire year. 

Why Does It Cost So Much Less To Fill Up With Electricity Than With Gasoline?

According to AAA, the average price of gas is $3.28 per gallon in the United States. The national average for a kWh of electricity is $0.13. If you have to completely charge a 100 kWh it will cost you about 13 dollars. If you have a 15-gallon gas tank that you have to completely fill, it is going to cost you somewhere around $50 dollars. That’s a big difference! 

If your car has a gas mileage of 30 miles per gallon, you are going to get about 450 miles out of that tank. Let’s say that your electric vehicle, with a 100 kWh battery, gets 225 miles with a full battery. You are going to have to completely charge your battery twice to go 450 miles. Overall, with the electric car, you are going to spend 26 dollars to go 450 miles in the place of 50 dollars. You are spending almost half as much!

Gas prices have increased greatly in the past couple of years and it is only going to get more expensive to fill up your car with gasoline. The supply and demand of gasoline can fluctuate which will cause spikes in gasoline prices, just like we are seeing now. Gas prices depend on oil prices which are constantly being regulated and often result in high prices. But why is electricity so much cheaper?

Electricity has many different ways of being produced, including more increasingly renewable resources. Solar and wind power is used to keep electricity prices down. When solar and wind power is used to produce electricity, the cost of production is $0 and this allows companies to help keep electricity rates lower. Electricity prices can vary though depending on if you live in a big city, somewhere rural, or even which state you live in. 

 There are also other ways of producing electricity like with the use of natural gas or even coal. Now, natural gas is being used to produce electricity because it is a relatively clean source of energy. But it still will release some, just as any would. Coal can still be found in use in some places but is mostly being done away with as renewable resources are becoming more widely used. There are some states in the United States that are completely doing away with coal and in a decade, (most likely) only renewable resources will be used to make electricity.

Charging At Night To Minimize Costs

Many public electric companies actually decrease electricity prices during certain hours of the day when electricity consumption is down. These low-use hours are often referred to as “off-peak” hours.  These hours are during the middle of the day when most people are at work and during the middle of the night when most people are asleep. During these times, the electric grid doesn’t run the risk of being overloaded. In some places, the entire 48 hours of Saturday and Sunday are considered off-peak hours.

Electric companies will often lower the cost of electricity during these “off-peak” times, so if you end up charging during these times can save you even more money. If you are looking to save money this way, make sure to check with your electric company because most of the time this isn’t a standard for all homeowners, and it is something you have to sign up for. Most electric companies have programs that you sign up for that allow you to take advantage of the off-peak hours. 

If you sign up for these programs, you can save even more money on charging your electric car. The amount of money you are going to save by charging during off-peak hours is going to differ from state to state. Doing things like charging your car overnight or waiting until the weekend to fully charge your car can help you save more money if you are wanting to spend as little as possible on charging your electric vehicle. 

Finding Free Public Places To Charge Up

There are many cities that are starting to install public charging stations that can be used free of charge. Most charging stations that you come by will cost money to use, but these free charging stations have been installed in certain places to encourage the use of electric vehicles. If you have the ability to use free public charging stations, this can lower the cost of your electric bill even more because you won’t have to charge your vehicle at home as much as you would have had to without them. 

Google maps or Maps on apples can be your best friend when finding almost anything. If you are trying to find free charging stations it might be harder to specify that with these apps. You can always search up “charging stations” near me and you’ll have a lot of options that show up but a lot of them won’t be free charging stations. It turns out there is this amazing website called PlugShare that literally has all of the free charging stations in the entire United States listed. 

Plug share is super nice because you have the ability to specify your location and it will show you all of the available charging stations near you. Not only that, but there are a ton of filters available including if the station is free/requires payment, the type of plug/socket shapes available, and even what charging company it is. Once you find a charging station that is at a good location for you, the website will even redirect you to google maps and give you directions on how to get there. 

Only Charging To 80% Instead Of 100%

I know it may sound odd at first, but it is actually recommended with many electric vehicles to only charge the vehicle to 80%. Keeping your electric car at 100% can actually degrade your battery much faster than normal, so it is suggested that you don’t keep it fully charged for long periods of time. It doesn’t increase the rate of degradation to the point that you should never charge it to 100% though.

Many electric vehicle batteries have mechanisms that slow the rate of charging once the battery reaches 80% capacity. In some cases, the charging slows so much that the time it takes to charge the battery from 80% to 100% can take just as long as it does to charge the battery from 0% to 80%. The whole purpose of this is to protect your battery from damage or overloading. Batteries will usually start degrading after 3 years or so, but if the battery is charged too quickly or constantly kept at 100% then the battery may begin to degrade more quickly. 

When using public charging stations, especially ones that cost money, you should be aware if it is charging you per kWh or for the time that you use the machine. If it is a machine that charges per kWh, then it isn’t a big deal if you charge past 80%. If the charger charges you by the amount of time you use, then it is probably a good idea to only charge to 80% for the reason aforementioned.  

Does The Type Of Electric Car Have Any Effect On Charging Costs?

When charging at home, the type of electric car that you have is going to have no effect on the amount of money it costs to charge it, other than the difference in battery sizes. The bigger the battery, the greater the cost will be because of the amount of energy needed to fully charge the battery. That means even the same models of electric cars can have different charging costs, depending on if they have different battery sizes or not. 

The only instance where the charging cost is different because of what type of electric car you have is if you end up using a level 1 public charger that charges you, according to the amount of time that you used it. The reason being that level 1 chargers charge using AC when the electric car uses DC. So if the charger is pumping electricity into the car faster than the car can convert it, then you will be charged more money because it is going to take longer to charge the battery. However, most public charges are level 2, so you probably wouldn’t have to worry about this much. 

Tesla has created a large electric car charger network around the US that is usable for other makes besides Tesla. And even though the charging network is available to other types of electric cars, non-Tesla electric cars will need an adapter to be able to use this charging network. The adapter is called a J1772 adapter and can easily be found on Amazon or Home Depot for around $160. There are plenty of non-Tesla charging stations that you can find. The only instance I would suggest getting an adapter to use a Tesla charging station is if there is a Tesla charging station right next to where you work, and helping you to work smarter, not harder. 

Tesla is also creating a Supercharging network that features Tesla Superchargers that are able to charge electric vehicles at incredible speeds. For the moment, these Tesla Superchargers can be used by Tesla vehicles exclusively. Elon Musk, the founder of Tesla, has made known that they are working to make this network available to non-Tesla vehicles as well. There are other charging networks that are made for specific makes, for example, Rivian has created a charging network made specificically for Rivian vehicles. 

Are There Government Subsidies Available To Help Pay For Charging Costs?

Though there are no government subsidies that will give you cheaper electricity, there are a lot of other subsidies that relate to electric cars that can help save you money in other places. First off, the United States government is offering up to as much as $7,500 in tax credit when you purchase a new electric vehicle. This is a big reason why people often buy new electric cars instead of used ones. 

The government can also provide subsidies for things like installing charging stations in your home. It varies from state to state but through websites like ChargePoint. Not only do some government subsidies cover or lower the cost of purchasing the charger itself but may even include free installation of the charger, which can be up to $1,000. The money that is saved through these subsidies can then go towards charging your electric car. And if you are only spending around 25 dollars a month on charging your car, $1,000 would cover charging your car for almost three or four years. 

Will Charging Costs Get Cheaper In The Future When More People Have Electric Cars?

You can never be sure of what the future might bring, but charging costs could go either way. Electric cars are going to continue to grow in popularity and with them, so will charging costs. This means that in the coming years, the demand for electric vehicle charging is going to grow and when demand rises so does the price. Unless the supply can continue to grow with it. 

In 2021, President Biden’s 1 trillion dollar infrastructure bill was passed, which includes $7.5 billion that will be going to help build a nationwide electric vehicle charging network. This project will be focusing on making long-distance travel more practical with electric vehicles. I think a project of this size could help keep charging costs low. Another thing I believe will add to low charging costs is the continued increase of renewable resources used to create electricity. The general direction of the energy industry and the United States is moving towards low-cost energy driven by renewable resources. 

A lot of money in the infrastructure bill will also be going into renewable resource projects like solar and wind turbine fields. This increase in renewable resource sourced energy will help keep charging prices low and even possibly make them cheaper than what we see right now. The only problem is if more and more people begin to drive electric vehicles, electric charging companies may become greedy and begin to increase prices. But it is more likely that prices will continue to lower because the general theme with electric cars is “going green” and making things more cost-effective. 

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