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How Much Money Can You Save by Driving an EV?

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2020 Chevrolet Bolt EV
Photo: Chevrolet

There are loads of great reasons to drive an electric vehicle, foremost among them, preserving the environment and saving money. However, even those of us who want to see more EVs on the road aren’t entirely sure exactly how much money ditching fossil fuels can put back in our pockets, especially when you factor in fluctuating charging costs. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, that number is substantial.

A great car that delivers great savings: The 2020 Bolt EV

Real power banking

According to a report by Electrek’s Bradley Berman, the DOE calculated that driving an EV can save you up to $10,445 over the course of 15 years. That’s nearly half of the low-end average salary for full-time workers in America, almost a third of the cost of a brand-new Chevrolet Bolt EV, the price of six 82-inch 4K Samsung Smart TVs, or 41,780 gumballs, if you prefer.

It is worth noting that $10,445 is at the highest end of the spectrum. Even so, the lowest calculated amount was $3,078 — which is still 12,312 gumballs or 1.7 Samsung TVs, just in case you were curious.

The DOE’s methodology

Trying to calculate how much charging your electric vehicle will cost is deceptively challenging, which becomes immediately apparent when you read how the DOE came to their numbers. To start, researchers tried to figure out how electricity costs vary by state and time, and found that they run the gamut from $0.10 to $0.23 per kWh. Next, they factored in the cost of installing a charging station, the way that different cars charge, the time of day, and the type of charger you’re using.

Once they’d done the math, they decided to make things even more complex. The DOE had each factor influence all of the others, providing a holistic view of the real cost of charging in all circumstances. By the end, they had a range of values, including worst ($3,078) and best-case ($10,445) scenarios.

While there’s no way to power your car entirely for free, a scenario that saves you more than $3,000 in the worst case seems like a pretty good deal.

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