Thompson Sales Discusses EVs Versus Gas: Which Is Cheaper to Own?

December 28th, 2020 by

White electric vehicles in a row at charging stations

Every year, we see more and more headlines about electric vehicles and how they’re going to reduce our carbon emissions. But are electric vehicles cost-effective? Thompson Sales dives deeper into a cost comparison to determine whether it is cheaper to own EVs or gas vehicles. The answer might surprise you!

Initial Costs

The average initial price of electric vehicles, as of 2020, averages about $19,000 higher than their gasoline counterparts. Of course, the actual initial costs may vary widely. A luxury SUV that runs on electricity may cost $80,000 versus a compact car at $13,000. You also have to take into account whether you’re buying a new or used vehicle

Insurance is probably less expensive for gas-powered vehicles because they cost less. How much you pay for vehicle insurance depends on the value of your vehicle.

Gasoline Prices

Gasoline prices are another factor when it comes to the cost-effectiveness of owning an electric vehicle versus a gasoline-powered car. A comprehensive view of this factor comes from a study published by scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) and Idaho National Laboratory.

Consumers in the state of Washington can save nearly $15,000 over 15 years in fuel costs, while those in Hawaii only save $2,000 in that same timeframe. West Coast residents pay 46 percent more on gas compared to Gulf Coast states, which makes electric vehicles much more cost-effective to own in Oregon, Washington state, and California compared to Florida, Louisiana, and Texas.

If you charge your vehicle during off-peak hours, you could save nearly 25 percent more on your charging costs. Supply and demand for utility-level electricity also creates lower prices over time. The more electricity generated by charging EVs can push the kWh price of electricity down even more than what it is currently.

Maintenance Costs 

You have to consider the maintenance costs of EVs versus gasoline-powered cars. 

EVs have fewer moving parts: no radiators, no pistons, no spark plugs, and no transmissions. That means you don’t have to change the oil every 5,000 miles, replace the air filter every 10,000 miles, perform radiator flushes and fills every 30,000 miles, and more. Thompson’s service department can handle these types of car maintenance.

Maintenance costs for EVs involve tire rotations and replacements, checking the brakes (which last anywhere from 30,000 to 70,000 miles), looking at the steering system, and keeping the air conditioning working. 

New York City’s fleet of electric vehicles dramatically reduced their maintenance costs in 2019. The city spent between $204 and $286 to maintain its EVs versus more than $1,600 on average for gas-power cars. Over the lifespan of the vehicles, those savings add up.


Manufacturers warranty their car batteries for eight years and 100,000 miles. However, you have to examine the warranty carefully. You may only be covered if the battery completely dies. Some carmakers cover a battery if it drops to 60 or 70 percent of capacity.

Heat and batteries don’t mix. Fast-charging stations generate more heat as they charge the battery. They’ll charge your EV’s battery for 30 minutes and get it to 80 percent capacity. But the heat generated may reduce the battery’s lifespan over time. People in hotter climates may need their car’s battery system replaced sooner versus cooler climates.

If you need to replace a battery after the warranty period, it may cost as much as $5,000 to $6,000, depending on the model. When you consider a gas-powered transmission replacement can cost from $800 to $3,500, the costs for a gas-powered car are less for this type of replacement.

Prices of EVs Will Come Down

As more and more automakers invest in electric vehicles and batteries become cheaper to produce, prices of EVs will come down. Once EVs cost the same as their gas counterparts, your overall savings will increase.

However, until that happens, it may be more cost-effective to own a gasoline-powered car. Keep in mind that gas prices have remained relatively low ($2.50 or less per gallon) since 2016, and cars continue to get more fuel-efficient as engine technology improves. We have plenty of fuel-efficient vehicles on the Thompson Sales lot!

Check Out Our Inventory at Thompson Sales

Thompson Sales has plenty of new Buick and GMC vehicles on our lot. Come by and see us on East Independence Road in Springfield for a test drive. Contact Thompson Sales or call (417) 763-6811 for more information on what we have to offer.