Though it’s easy to figure what it will cost to operate a given electric vehicle a set number of miles via the energy efficiency ratings on the Environmental Protection Agency’s fueleconomy.gov website, estimates there are based on national average electricity rates. Those can vary, often wildly, from one state or city to another.
The EPA’s website likewise rates vehicles for their environmental impact, and since electric cars generate zero tailpipe emissions they all get a perfect score of 10 for greenhouse gas emissions and smog ratings. But electricity is generated from different energy sources depending on the region. These include coal, natural gas, petroleum, nuclear, hydro, solar, wind, and biomass, with the net effect on the environment depending on the source. Electric cars tend to be more environmentally friendly when driven in California, New York, and the Pacific Northwest, where renewable energy resources are prevalent, and less so in central U.S. states like Colorado, Kansas and Missouri where fossil-fueled electric plants are most common.
The American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy (ACEEE) ranks all light-duty vehicles sold in the U.S. for their net environmental effect via calculated “Green Scores” on their greenercars.org website. Higher numbers are better, with 42 being the average score among all vehicles. In addition to direct emissions, or the lack thereof, these numbers consider a car or truck’s overall impact on the environment. This includes emissions from manufacturing, the impact of disposal and recycling, and emissions associated with generating electricity, but with the latter at a national average.
Fortunately the ACEEE also maintains a downloadable interactive spreadsheet file that can help EV shoppers and owners understand the true environmental impact of EVs in their specific Zip Codes, based on the local source of electricity. It also gives the regional cost of electricity per kilowatt-hour (kWh) and gives a comparison of how the chosen electric car stands up next to its closest gas-powered equivalent.
You can download the ACEEE’s Electric Vehicle Calculator to see how various EVs stack up where you live here.
In the meantime, we’re featuring the annual cost to run six electric cars and their Green Scores for five U.S. cities having a high ratio of EVs per resident according to the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy. The Green Scores and local electricity costs come from the ACEEE’s calculator (we couldn’t obtain regional Green Scores for the Tesla Model 3, however). We gleaned the annual operating costs for each vehicle via the Environmental Protection Agency’s cost calculator at fuelconomy.gov, based on local power rates and assuming 11,640 miles driven per year. We’re presenting the results in the above slideshow.
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2015 Nissan LEAF Battery electric vehicles (BEVs) have a battery instead of a gasoline tank, and an electric motor instead of an internal combustion engine (ICE).
Bluetooth, Remote power door locks, Power windows with 1 one-touch, Heated drivers seat, Automatic Transmission, 4-wheel ABS brakes, Air conditioning with climate control, Cruise control, Audio controls on steering wheel, Traction control - ABS, 107 hp horsepower, Heated passenger seat, Power heated...Price: $13,995 Mileage: 22,783 Location: Honolulu, HI Above average: $1,506 Total Range: 84 Mi Trim: S Range 84 Mi Mileage 22,783 Location Honolulu, HI Trim S Price $13,995 Above average $1,506
2017 Chevrolet Bolt Battery electric vehicles (BEVs) have a battery instead of a gasoline tank, and an electric motor instead of an internal combustion engine (ICE).
The Chevrolet Bolt EV is the first car offered by a major manufacturer to offer an electric vehicle to the masses with a range over 200 miles. In addition, the Bolt is a great car loaded with fantastic features. It is motivated by 60 kWh battery pack that sends 200 horsepower and 266 lb.-ft. of inst...Price: $20,495 Mileage: 56,961 Location: Boulder, CO Below average: $10,905 Total Range: 238 Mi Trim: LT Range 238 Mi Mileage 56,961 Location Boulder, CO Trim LT Price $20,495 Below average $10,905
2016 Ford Fusion Energi Plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) have a battery and an electric motor. However, like gasoline vehicles, PHEVs also have a gasoline tank and an internal combustion engine (ICE).
WHITE PLATINUM METALLIC TRI-COAT,Leather Seats,Keyless Start,Bluetooth Connection,Rear Spoiler,Cooled Front Seat(s),ENGINE: 2.0L I-4 ATKINSON,MEDIUM SOFT CERAMIC; LEATHER-TRIMMED HEATED/COOLED SPORT BUCKET SEATSThis vehicle includes a Money-Back Guarantee* and passed our precise inspection process....Price: $16,989 Mileage: 31,147 Location: Cerritos, CA Below average: $3,736 Total Range: 550 Mi Trim: Titanium Range 21 Mi Mileage 31,147 Location Cerritos, CA Trim Titanium Price $16,989 Below average $3,736
2018 Tesla Model 3 Battery electric vehicles (BEVs) have a battery instead of a gasoline tank, and an electric motor instead of an internal combustion engine (ICE).
CARVANA CERTIFIED INCLUDES: 150-POINT INSPECTION -- We put each vehicle through a 150-point inspection so that you can be 100% confident in the quality and safety of your vehicle. This inspection includes everything from tread depth of tires to thickness of brake pads to exterior paint quality to Bl...Price: $43,100 Mileage: 3,990 Location: Nationwide Below average: $8,825 Total Range: 220 Mi Trim: Standard Range 220 Mi Mileage 3,990 Location Nationwide shipping Trim Standard Price $43,100 Below average $8,825
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