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Only $1.14 per Gallon?

Since there is some fluctuation in electricity prices from state to state, the eGallon tool calculates costs in each state compared to the cost of gasoline. The DOE claims that "fueling your car with gasoline costs roughly three times more than fueling with electricity."
[Read: <a target="blank" data-add-tracking="true" href="http://www.mainstreet.com/article/node/28436"><em>Trends Car Shoppers Should Know in 2013</em></a>]

But not everyone is so certain about the economy of EVs. Marlo Lewis, a senior fellow at the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI), says the DOE information may be correct but is completely one-sided.

"They ignore the additional costs associated with electric vehicles impose - costs that overwhelm the obvious fuel savings for most consumers," Lewis asserted.

According to him the costs the eGallon ignores are:
  • (1) Higher vehicle purchase price
  • (2) Limited range
  • (3) The inconvenience of waiting hours to refuel.

He pointed out that the average price paid for a gasoline-powered 2013 Ford Focus ranges from $16,500 to $24,176. While the average price paid for a 2013 Ford Focus Electric is $39,020.

Regarding the range issue, Lewis said - in a May 30 blog he wrote about the subject - "Except for the Tesla Model S, with an EPA-estimated range of 265 miles, most battery-electric vehicles (BEVs) have EPA-estimated ranges of 62 to 99.8 miles -- although motorists may go farther under actual driving conditions, Edmunds.Com reports. These range limitations diminish the utility and, thus, value of BEVs for many consumers, and may induce 'range anxiety' -- fear of being stranded between where you are and where you have to go. The Tesla Model S has an impressive range but, with a manufacturer's recommended sale price of $69,900, most households cannot afford to buy one even with generous federal and state tax rebates."

"Limited range and dramatically longer refueling time diminishes the utility and, thus, the value of electric vehicles for many consumers," Lewis emphasized. "In short, you pay more and get less for your money at least in terms of range and convenience."

He noted that EV proponents often claim that "the barrier to consumer acceptance is a chicken-egg problem." They proffer that more people would buy them if there were a network of charging stations - and companies would build them if more people owned EVs.
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