solar vs gasoline fuel cost chart

When you drive a plug-in vehicle for the first time, it's common to get the "EV grin" that advocates have talked about for a long time. But, once that initial thrill quiets down a bit, something else can happen – you start to think about the bigger picture.

That's the road that Mini E (and now BMW ActiveE) driver Peder Norby is on, and so he did a few calculations to extrapolate his particular set-up – driving electric cars that are powered by the solar panels on his roof – to a lifetime of driving and wanted to share it with AutoblogGreen. We can argue the pros and cons of gasoline cars and the limitations of EV all day long, but Norby's numbers are impressive. His bottom line: just for the fuel, a gasoline-car driver will pay $275,000 over 50 years while a solar-powered EV driver will pay just $12,000.

This can be, of course, highly variable. Norby uses a 20-mile-per-gallon gas car and an average price of $3.50 as his fossil-fueled example. We all know that 20 mpg cars will not be available much longer. Still, the exact numbers don't matter as much as the gist. And Norby could have included other costs in the chart. He writes:

[The chart] does not include external cost such as the protection of oil, propping up oil supplying countries, clean up of oil, environmental or healthcare cost, nor does it include the cost of grid electricity at night when an electric car normally charges. ... Nor does the graph include the price of the cars themselves. A reasonable argument can be made for both the gasoline car and the electric car as to which one will be cheaper to own and maintain for the next 50 years. I'm betting on the electric car :)

We imagine that if our readers apply the math to their own situation, they'll also find it makes sense to put money down on EVs. Does it?