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The cost of gas cars vs. electric cars

Since the invention of the automobile, gas-powered cars have been the most popular option available to buyers, but in recent years that has begun to change.
A woman powering up her electric vehicle, outside.

Electric cars are sweeping the market and gaining popularity. This trend might’ve prompted you to consider switching from a gas to an electric car, and we don’t blame your curiosity. There are many things to consider when choosing between a gas car and an electric car, but you certainly shouldn’t overlook the financial differences between the two.

Cost of gas cars

When comparing the cost of gas and electric cars, you should consider two things: the initial cost of purchase and the ongoing costs of use. The initial cost of a gas car is typically a lot lower than an electric car. This is due to the higher materials and labor costs associated with building an electric car. However, even though gas cars are less expensive to buy, they might be more costly in the long run.

The cost of filling your car with gas is almost always more than the cost of an electric charge, but calculating the overall cost is not that simple. The cost of gas can vary significantly based on your region, and prices tend to fluctuate heavily over time. Especially today, car buyers will want to be wary of the changing gas prices as they consider the possibility of owning an electric vehicle.

Additionally, many maintenance–related expenses are exclusive to gas-powered cars. For example, spark plug replacements, oil changes, and oxygen sensors can become a thing of the past if you buy an electric car. Although electric cars don’t eliminate the occasional maintenance responsibility, they require much less maintenance than a traditional gas car.

Cost of electric cars

The initial investment in an electric car will almost certainly be higher than a gas car. In fact, electric cars cost an average of $10,000 more than the average gas-powered car on the market. This gap in cost is expected to decrease in the coming years with optimizations to electric car manufacturing and the introduction of more advanced battery technology – but until those efficiencies trickle down, gas cars are less expensive to purchase initially.

There are also post-purchase expenses that you should account for. Due to an electric car’s weight, energy efficiency, and low-noise emissions, tires will almost certainly be more expensive than those of a gas car. Additionally, it is worth noting that an electric car battery may need to be replaced every 10-20 years. If you’re purchasing a used electric vehicle, you will need to confirm the age of its battery to prepare for this cost properly. A battery replacement can cost around $10,000, which is more than the average cost of replacing a gas engine.

However, the money you could save on fuel, potential repairs, and general maintenance after the initial purchase is noteworthy and should be considered before you make a choice. Electric cars are usually dramatically less expensive to charge than the cost of filling a car with gasoline. Especially if you put a lot of miles on your car, you may want to consider an electric vehicle strictly based on fuel costs. Like gas, electricity costs fluctuate based on where you live. In California for example, it costs 18 cents per kilowatt hour (kWh) to charge an electric vehicle, which means that a battery with a 150-mile range would cost about $7 to fully charge. Therefore, even with the cost of equipping your home with the infrastructure to charge an electric car (an average of $2,000-$7,000, depending on your installation setup), electric cars offer superior long-term savings.

This might have you wondering how the cost of hybrid cars compares as well. Generally speaking, hybrid cars have lower emissions, so you will be spending less time and money at the gas station. Maintenance for hybrid cars is also lower than the conventional gas powered car, and their engines are usually simpler to perform work on as well.

There are many things to consider when choosing your next car, and we haven’t even begun to touch on non-financial aspects such as model options, access to charging stations, environmental impact, and so on. Overall, you need a car that suits your lifestyle and budget. If you’re interested in buying a car, then consider speaking with a First Tech Representative. Our financial professionals can help you understand costs and loan options. Ready to check your auto loan rate? We can give you a personalized rate in 30 seconds or less for a 12-60 month loan on a new vehicle.