Costs of Owning Electric Vehicles

Published: April 16, 2021

Are electric vehicles more or less expensive to own? Yes.

Every year, AAA looks at the cost of owning (depreciation, fuel, insurance, license, registration, taxes, maintenance repair, tires and financing) all types of vehicles over five years and 75,000 miles. Costs are based on the average costs for the five top-selling models in each category. You can look up the exact driving cost for most models using AAA’s interactive Your Driving Cost brochure.

When it comes to the costs of owning an electric vehicle, some costs are lower (fuel + maintenance), while some are higher, such as insurance due to repair costs and value of the vehicle.

Here’s a snapshot of electric vehicles, small sedans and large sedans (defined below).

  • Average cost per mile for fuel + maintenance (based on 15,000 mi/yr):
    • Electric vehicle: 11.13 cents
    • Small sedan: 15.54 cents
    • Large sedan: 21.13 cents
  • Average ownership costs (insurance, license, registration, taxes, depreciation, finance) (based on 15,000 mi/yr):
    • Electric vehicle: $7,450 year
    • Small sedan: $5,185 year
    • Large sedan: $8,013 year
  • Total cost per year for 10,000 miles/20,000 miles
    • Electric vehicle: $8,193/$10,070
    • Small sedan: $6,521/$8,528
    • Large sedan: $9,822/$12,566

Driving costs for electric vehicles fall between the costs for a small- and large-sized sedan, with fuel and maintenance costs averaging less than gas-powered vehicles, but other ownership costs being higher. For more details and methodology, visit AAA’s Your Driving Cost brochure.

Vehicles used for this study were the five top-selling models:

  • Electric vehicles are a combination of BMW i3, Chevrolet Bolt, Hyundai Kona Electric, Nissan Leaf, Tesla Model 3.*
  • Small sedans are a combination of Honda Civic, Hyundai Elantra, Nissan Sentra, Toyota Corolla, Volkswagen Jetta.
  • Large sedans are a combination of Chevrolet Impala, Chrysler 300, Kia Cadenza, Nissan Maxima, Toyota Avalon.

*Note: In the 2019 Your Driving Cost research, the electric vehicle category did not include the Tesla Model 3 and the results were that ownership costs for EVs was an average of $600 more than the Small Sedan category.

AAA Washington Insurance agents are here to help. Whether you’re ready to buy, need an insurance review or simply have questions, we’re your one-stop shop. Call (877) 222-4678 for a free, no-obligation consultation.

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