Gas-powered vehicle about twice as costly to drive as an electric

A University of Michigan study finds a gas-powered vehicle would need to get about 58 mpg to be comparable to an electric.
By Daniel J. Graeber Follow @dan_graeber Contact the Author   |  Jan. 11, 2018 at 6:19 AM
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Jan. 11 (UPI) -- Gasoline-powered vehicles in the United States would need to get about 58 miles per gallon to match the price to drive a battery-powered vehicle, a study finds.

A study from Michael Sivak and Brandon Schoettle at the University of Michigan's Transportation Research Institute found the average annual cost to drive a gasoline-powered vehicle last year was $1,117. The average annual cost to drive a typical battery-electric vehicle, by contrast, was $485 last year.

"The required fuel economy that gasoline vehicles would need to exceed for driving them to be less expensive than driving battery-electric vehicles is 57.6 miles per gallon in the United States," the study found.

Former President Barack Obama during his second term in office issued a mandate that called for an increase in fuel economy to 54.5 mpg by 2025. Sivak and Schoettle in a previous study found the average fuel economy of new vehicles sold in December was 25 mpg.

President Donald Trump vowed last year to review, or possibly revoke, the guidelines submitted by his predecessor that were aimed at putting more clean vehicles on the road.

The university study based its analysis on the average retail price for gasoline on Dec. 23, which was $2.44 for a gallon of regular unleaded. According to motor club AAA, the national average price on Thursday was $2.51 per gallon, 15 cents higher than this date in 2017.

Sivak said his team didn't weight the annual costs to drive against the sticker price. The Honda Civic is one of the Top 10 sellers in the United States, has a sticker price of around $20,000 and boasts 40 mpg on the highway. By comparison, Car & Driver lists the electric model of the Ford Focus with a sticker price of around $30,000 and boasts 99 mpg on the highway.

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