The Benefits of Electric Cars
Electric cars, which run purely on electricity, with no gasoline, no engine, and no fumes, offer numerous advantages if you’re shopping for a new vehicle. The benefits of electric cars are many – but they break down into three major categories. They can help save you money. They can help you do your part for the environment. And they offer a superior driving experience.
Let’s look at these benefits in more detail.
Depending on how much you drive, electric cars could potentially help you save hundreds of dollars a month in fuel costs. If you are able to charge at home, for every given mile of driving, the cost to recharge with electricity is a fraction of what the same mile would cost in gasoline. Costs to charge at public chargers vary based on charging speed, location, and other variables.
Depending on how much you drive, the accumulated savings in fuel costs could have a massive impact on your household budget. If, like most electric car owners, you will charge at home most of the time, many utility providers even offer EV drivers lower rates during off-peak hours.
Lower maintenance costs are another attraction. Thanks to their simplicity, electric cars have fewer moving parts than gasoline vehicles – there are no oil changes, no transmission rebuilds, and regenerative braking means even wear and tear on the braking system is reduced.
While the technology in electric cars comes at a price – they generally have higher suggested retail prices than most gasoline vehicles – most electric cars are eligible for financial incentives from federal, regional, and even local governments that can lower their total cost. The biggest is the federal incentive, which offers up to $7,500 off the MSRP of eligible vehicles. Some utility companies and other agencies also offer incentives to EV buyers.
The transportation sector continues to be responsible for a significant source of air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions – and electric cars can help tackle climate change and contribute to better air quality.
Simulations have shown that widespread electric car adoption would aid in limiting global warming by at least two degrees Celsius, which would meet a target of the 2016 Paris Agreement. Nine countries including the U.S. have announced their intent to restrict or ban the use of all internal combustion engines and reduce national tailpipe emissions to zero at some time in the future.
Zero emissions – no stinky fumes – makes going electric feel good. But we also need to look at well-to-wheel emissions – all emissions related to the production, processing, distribution and use of electricity. Most electric power plants produce emissions and there are additional emissions associated with every step of the energy production cycle. On this basis, electric cars emit an average of 4,100 lbs. of carbon dioxide (CO2) equivalent each year while traditional gasoline vehicles emit an average of 11,435 lbs. of CO2 equivalent each year — so, well-to-wheel, electric cars produce less than half the emissions of gasoline vehicles.
The best way to maximize the environmental benefits of an electric car and minimize its associated emissions is by sourcing electricity from renewable energy. If you are planning to purchase an electric car in the future and want to lower your total emissions, consider asking your local utility or community choice aggregation (CCA) about special programs or offers available. You could also consider installing solar panels.
You won’t sacrifice performance by going electric. Electric cars are smoother and quieter than gasoline vehicles, and offer impressive acceleration and speed. Unlike gasoline engines, electric motors deliver peak torque instantaneously – there’s no waiting for revs to build or for the transmission to shift.
Indeed, J.D. Power recently conducted its second-annual consumer satisfaction survey focused on electric vehicles. Its 2022 Electric Vehicle Experience (EVX) Ownership Study surveyed over 8,000 owners of electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids. Overall, it found that making the electric car “leap of faith” proved highly satisfactory for the majority of electric vehicle owners, and that drivers would not go back to gasoline.
Electric vehicles might have a higher upfront price tag (tax credits and incentives may offset this), but the savings come in over the longer term with lowered maintenance and zero gasoline costs. You might spend a bit more upfront, or on monthly lease payments, but if you drive enough, the savings will come back to you over time.
Indeed, according to energy.gov, on average it costs about half as much to drive an electric vehicle when just taking into consideration energy costs (gas vs. electricity). When you factor in reduced maintenance costs as well, the savings could potentially be even greater.