Electric Vehicle vs. Gas vs. Compounds: A Comparison of Maintenance, Fuel, Insurance and Other Costs


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As more Americans become environmentally aware, eco-friendly vehicles emerged as an attractive option to gas-powered cars. Drivers looking to leave an inferior carbon footprint will also enjoy knowing that driving a fuel-efficient car is really a financially smart move.

According to NerdWallet’s analysis, electric-vehicle drivers can help to save over $10,000 on car ownership costs over 5 years, compared with those driving gas automobiles. NerdWallet crunched the numbers on?the expense of driving a gas, hybrid and electric car in certain of the nation’s largest cities. We compared:

  • Toyota Camry, a gasoline powered-vehicle
  • Toyota Prius, a hybrid that runs on?gas and electricity
  • Nissan Leaf, an all-electric car

Key findings

Driving an electrical car can help to save 36% or $10,538 over five years. In most 27 cities we examined, the Nissan Leaf was undoubtedly the cheapest to own. Although all three car models we analyzed are similarly priced, typically, Nissan Leaf owners will expend $10,538 under Camry drivers and $9,609 under Prius owners over five years. The savings are mainly because of the $7,500 federal tax credit presented to Leaf and all sorts of electric drivers, but even without the credit, the Leaf cost less to own. Prius owners don’t receive a credit.

The Leaf costs a smaller amount to operate. Over 5 years, Leaf drivers can get to invest $4,691 under Camry owners and $1,707 less than Prius drivers. Much of this difference originates from not buying gas.

Owning a Leaf is cheapest in Charlotte, New york, and most expensive in Detroit, Michigan. Leaf drivers in Charlotte benefit from the lowest cost of ownership at $26,491 over five years. On the other hand, Leaf owners in Detroit spend about $47,196, or 78% more, primarily due to high car insurance premiums for those vehicles in that city.

A closer consider the price of ownership

Click on a city to see the costs of ownership over 5 years.


Scroll with the chart below to determine the data comparing the costs of ownership
in 27 cities.

Fuel and power costs?are for illustrative purposes only. The exact cost varies from city to city.

Two important considerations


Most electric cars, including the Leaf, qualify for the $7,500 federal tax credit, which could put a large amount of “green” into your wallet, too. However, there are a few points to consider before making an electric-vehicle purchase:

  • You won’t get a wad of money by collecting the vehicle; instead, it’ll come as a federal tax credit. If your tax liability doesn’t meet or exceed $7,500 you’ll miss out on the rest of the credit.
  • You won’t qualify for the tax credit if you buy a used electric vehicle or if you lease it.
  • Electric and hybrid-car drivers also take advantage of a variety of state incentives, which offer cash rebates, state income tax credits, sales tax waivers and much more. California, for example, provides a $2,500 Clean Vehicle Rebate for brand new Nissan Leafs.
  • Additional state incentives include utility-rate reductions, the ability to drive in high-occupancy vehicle lanes without passengers and free parking for electric vehicles in metered spots.

Car insurance

No appear kind of car you have, you’ll need to buy insurance. NerdWallet’s auto insurance comparison tool will help you get the best price. Additionally, some insurance providers offer reduced prices for customers who drive?hybrid and electric vehicles.

Compare quotes side-by-side using NerdWallet’s auto insurance tool

More cities welcome?electric cars

In places such as?San Francisco, North park and Seattle, drivers will discover probably the most electric-vehicle chargers per capita in the nation. However, cities in the South and Midwest are?one of the standouts in recent efforts to pave the way for?electric cars.

Atlanta, Georgia

According to a different study on the International Council on Clean Transportation, Atlanta has got the second-highest electric-vehicle share of all U.S. cities after San Francisco. In Atlanta, 88% of all new electric vehicles are Nissan Leafs. To promote electric-car purchases, Georgia Power, a software application company in Atlanta, is launching a $12 million “Get Current” program, developing 50 new public charging stations and provide cash incentives for installing home charging stations for electric-car owners.

Kansas City, Missouri

Kansas City takes charge for making its streets friendlier for planet. Kansas City Power & Light is spearheading a $20 million initiative to install 1,000 electric-car charging stations, which will span Might and rural areas in western Missouri and eastern Kansas. This new charging infrastructure targets promoting electric-car sales, allowing drivers for traveling greater range and providing a cheap way of recharging. The charging stations is going to be free for electric-car drivers for that first two many years of operation.

Indianapolis, Indiana

This Midwest city is launching BlueIndy, an electrical car-sharing service developed by Bollor, a French investment company. BlueIndy recently opened with 125 parking spaces in the Indianapolis metro area; however, they’ve plans to expand their infrastructure to 200 charging and parking sites, with room for 500 cars.?


Vehicle?costs: The?cost of the vehicle and five-year estimates for maintenance and repairs are from Edmund’s True Cost to Own Calculator.

Fuel costs and tax incentives: All fuel estimates and tax incentives are from the U.S. United states doe. Fuel costs are from August 2015.

Car insurance rates: NerdWallet picked 10 random Zipcodes in 27 major U.S. cities and ran car insurance quotes for 12 driver profiles: 27-year-old single women and men and 40-year-old married men and women each driving a 2014 Toyota Camry, Toyota Prius Hybrid and Nissan Leaf. The 27-year-old drivers were quoted 30/60/20 liability limits and the same amount of uninsured motorist coverage. The 40-year-old drivers were quoted 100/300/100 liability limits and the same amount of uninsured motorist coverage. All profiles possess a comprehensive and collision deductible of $500. Profiles in Michigan, New York, Pennsylvania and Massachusetts possess the minimum required personal injury protection (PIP) of $50,000, $5,000, $8,000 with no limit, respectively.

We averaged the three cheapest quotes for each driver profile. Rates can be found in NerdWallet’s auto insurance comparison tool.

Jeffrey Chu is definitely an analyst covering insurance for NerdWallet.

Image via iStock.