With the emergence of new alternative-fuel cars, hybrids, and electric vehicles, drivers now have a variety of choices when it comes to how their cars work and what powers them. As energy costs fluctuate, these options become important because they allow you to shift to more available and cost-effective fuel sources. However, it’s important to remember that fuel costs are not the only costs associated with maintaining a vehicle. If a car’s maintenance and repair costs outweigh the benefits of less expensive fuel, then there’s no real benefit in the long run. This makes it important to dig deeper when asking about whether electric vehicles have gotten to be more cost effective than gas.
Hybrid Electric Vehicles
Both fully electric cars and gas-electric hybrids have unique maintenance concerns stemming from their design. In the case of hybrid cars, the charging and energy recovery systems may occasionally need repair, and the costs for repair on those systems can be substantial. At the same time, though, fuel system maintenance, such as the replacement of a faulty fuel pump, can also be costly. In the case of hybrid cars, it is possible to encounter both sets of maintenance concerns at once, which can make fully electric cars more cost effective than their gas-electric cousins.
Fully Electric Vehicles
Fully electric vehicles might be more cost-effective in the long term, especially since they have a relatively simple design compared to hybrids. The variable here is the availability of maintenance. There are quite a few electric designs that are proprietary and quite a few manufacturers that limit the availability of parts, making for a situation where it is difficult to characterize the overall costs of repair. For more economically priced electric vehicles, widespread availability for parts and maintenance is more related to the popularity of the vehicle. This means that the more popular a model is, the easier it is to find cost-effective maintenance
Figuring out Your Balance
To see whether an individual vehicle will bring the savings you want, take the following steps:
- Check out the availability of parts and maintenance, with prices if possible.
- Use any available fuel cost estimates for comparison.
- Add fuel costs to the purchase price of each vehicle.
- Compare the total costs. If the electric is cheaper, the savings difference is the amount you would have to spend on repairs before the electric vehicle costs more to operate than a gas vehicle.
Knowing the baseline costs for repairs is the key to understanding how many major repairs it takes before the vehicle cost is balanced. That will help you make your choice based on your individual circumstances and knowledge of the vehicle.