It goes without saying that the cost of filling up a vehicle
with gas is expensive and adds up over time. Still, is buying a new
electric vehicle any more practical?
According to a OneNewsNow reader's comments on a recent story about the Chevy Volt, the answer
"The Ford Focus Electric costs about $2 to $3 to recharge during
off-peak hours -- a bit more if not off-peak -- maybe $4," the
reader explains. "That gives you a range of about 76 miles. A
regular Focus with a full tank gets you about 380 miles. At $4 per
gallon, [with] a 14-gallon tank, that's $56 in gas."
The reader goes on to explain that the "same number of
miles on electric costs about $10 to $15. While producing the
electricity (unless you have the solar array) does generate some
pollution, producing gasoline creates significant pollution. And
then you have the gas engine producing some pollution -- nothing
with the electric, plus no oil. So, no used oil, no oil changes,"
he sums up. "Based on 12,000 miles a year driving at $4 per gallon
for gas, estimate for break even on the price of the vehicle is
about three and a halve years -- sooner if gas goes higher, longer
if gas goes down."
But Marita Noon, political commentator
and executive director of Energy
Makes America Great, does not see it that way.
"If one only cares about gasoline cost, how much you're paying
to fill up the tank, then it might be a worthwhile comparison,"
Noon admits. "But when you look at how much more it costs to
purchase an electric car than it does a non-electric car, the
payoff is considerably bigger than what your reader is talking
In 2011, an article in Forbes magazine counted the cost of an
electric vehicle, saying, "At $0.11/KWH for electricity and $4.00
per gallon for gasoline, you would have to drive the Nissan Leaf
164,000 miles to recover its additional purchase cost. Counting
interest, the miles to payback is 197,000 miles."
"Because it is almost impossible to drive a Leaf more than 60
miles a day, the payback with interest would take more than nine
years," the article continues.
Regardless, Forbes states that the cost is not the
biggest problem, rather the recharging time. It takes 20 hours to
completely recharge a Nissan Leaf from a 110V house current. More
powerful chargers shorten the time, but they come at an extra cost,
and Nissan cautions that using them too often will shorten the
life of the car's batteries.
As for the Ford Focus Electric, the webpage for that vehicle tells readers, "If you
purchase the available 240-volt charging station, you'll be able to
fully charge your Focus Electric in about half the time of the 2012
However, another article in Forbes titled "Why I didn't buy a Ford Focus
Electric" takes issue with the car's hefty sticker
price and the fact that the author's hometown of Berkeley, CA
would not let him install an outdoor charger.
"That's amazing, especially considering we're talking about
Berkeley and the San Francisco Bay area," Noon comments. "The
charging time is one of the big issues. For some people, an
electric car may really be a great option. If you have a really
small range of travel, you live near your work and you stop at the
grocery store, maybe the doctor on the way there and back, for some
people it may be a really viable option. But the charging time is a
big drawback, and in order to have a fast charger, you're talking
of thousands of additional dollars to bring your charge time
Noon also takes exception to the fact that electric cars get
their power from electricity. At the present time, most of the
nation's electricity comes from utility companies and coal-fired
power plants. The energy expert agrees with those who want to
reduce the nation's dependency on foreign oil, and she points
out that there is oil in the United States that is not being