New Study Finds Electric Cars Cost More To Refuel Than Gasoline Powered Cars

Anderson Economic Group EV Transition Series: Report Comparison: Real World Cost of Fueling EVs and ICE Vehicles compared the actual costs of fueling normally asperated cars and trucks versus all electric vehicles. Read the full study here.

The Anderson study noted that Electronic Vehicles (EVs) are, “often presumed to be less expensive to fuel than their ICE counterparts. There is a rationale in physics for this: due to greater thermal efficiency, electric motors convert energy more efficiently than combustion engines. However, this cost is only one of five.”

For a complete picture, Anderson notes that we consumers must consider:

  1. Commercial and residential electric power/fuel costs.
  2. Registration taxes.
  3. Equipment (e.g., chargers) and installation costs.
  4. Deadhead miles incurred driving to a charger or fueling station.
  5. The cost of time spent refueling

The study found:

  • There are four additional costs to powering EVs beyond electricity: cost of a home charger, commercial charging, the EV tax and “deadhead” miles.
  • For now, EVs cost more to power than gasoline costs to fuel an internal combustion car that gets reasonable gas mileage.
  • Charging costs vary more widely than gasoline prices.
  • There are significant time costs to finding reliable public chargers – even then a charger could take 30 minutes to go from 20% to an 80% charge.

In the Anderson Economic Group’s October 21, 2021 column “Real-World Electric Vehicle Fueling Costs May Surprise New EV Drivers” they wrote:

6 months of independent research finds fueling costs for electric vehicles (EV) are often higher than for internal combustion engines (ICE)

East Lansing, MI–October 21, 2021: Anderson Economic Group released today the first in a series of analyses examining the transition from ICE vehicles to EVs.

This initial 36-page study is the culmination of comprehensive research comparing the “apples-to-apples” costs involved in fueling both EVs and ICE vehicles. AEG undertook this study after noting that many commonly cited figures did not account for the true costs associated with EV charging.

AEG calculated the cost of chargers, additional road taxes, commercial charging fees, and “deadhead” miles for three different EV driving scenarios and compared these with 3 analogous ICE vehicle scenarios. The research found that fueling an EV is often more expensive than fueling an ICE vehicle. It further found that fueling costs are far more variable for EVs. The authors go on to note the significant time costs imposed on EV drivers as a result of both inadequate infrastructure and wait times associated with fueling, which can be five to ten times the cost for ICE drivers.

According to study author Patrick Anderson, “These numbers may be surprising to those who haven’t relied upon an electric vehicle, but it’s important we safeguard the public from ‘charger shock.’ Before consumers can feel comfortable buying EVs in large numbers, they need to understand the true costs involved.”

Read the full article.

About the Authors

Mr. Patrick Anderson is Anderson Economic Group’s principal and CEO. His company is one of the most recognized boutique consulting firms in the United States, with years of expertise in the US automotive industry. The company has consulted for manufacturers that include General Motors, Ford, DaimlerChrysler, Honda, and others, along with nearly 200 automobile dealerships representing virtually every brand in the market.

Mr. Alston D’Souza works in Anderson Economic Group’s strategy and business valuation practice area, where he serves as senior analyst and data scientist. While at AEG, Mr. D’Souza’s work has focused on damages and market analysis. He holds a master’s degree in econometrics and quantitative economics from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and a Bachelor of Technology degree from the National Institute of Technology Karnataka (India).


Founded in 1996, Anderson Economic Group (AEG) is one of the most recognized boutique consulting firms in the United States. The company has offices in East Lansing, Michigan and Chicago, Illinois. The automobile industry is a primary area of specialization for the experts at AEG, who approach this critical automotive transition from a perspective that recognizes the role everyday consumer choices will play in driving EV market trends.

AEG’s automotive clients include manufacturers, suppliers, trade associations, and dealers and dealership groups.

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RELATED ARTICLE: The biggest mistakes buyers make when shopping for an electric car.

7 replies
  1. Burt Green
    Burt Green says:

    This report is based on seriously flawed assumptions and misdirection. It would be good investigative reporting to find out who funded this report and who gains from such misinformation.

    • Dr. Rich Swier
      Dr. Rich Swier says:

      In what way is it seriously flawed? It appears your comments are biased and you are the one who’s seriously flawed.

      If you have a concern please contact the organization that did the research and tell them your concerns.

  2. Robert
    Robert says:

    I spend far less per mile for electricity than my wife does buying gas for her Prius. I charge my car every few days while it sits in my driveway. I commute 30 miles to work, five days per week. My car doesn’t have a DC high voltage charge port, and I have never charged the car away from home. The cost of installing the charger interface in my garage paid for itself in fuel cost savings in the first year of driving. Bottom line, as a consumer, over the last decade, my electric car has cost me far less in fuel than my wife’s Prius. The amount saved varies with the price of gas, which fluctuates quite a bit. The cost of electricity is very steady.

    Anyone fitting my profile would see the same savings.

    The study is intensely biased. By carefully picking one’s assumptions and sources, one can prove anything in any study. It’s done every day by renewable energy enthusiasts. I suppose it’s possible to pay more for your electricity per mile when the price of gas is very low and the price of electricity is very high (you do all of your charging from a high-priced public charger), but even then, I’m highly skeptical, and who cares? If fuel costs were all consumers cared about, they would all drive a Prius (or an electric car).

  3. Patrick Anderson
    Patrick Anderson says:

    The second edition of this report was released in April 2022, and incorporates full year 2021 data on gas prices and electricity costs, as well as other improvements. The results, with higher gas prices in 2021, indicate that for some use cases and segments EVs are more cost effective, and in others ICE vehicles are still more cost efficient.


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