Electric vehicles feeling the love

It’s the season for love, and electric vehicles are definitely feeling some.

That’s in part due to a new study that says electric vehicles cost less than half as much ...

Tagged: EV, Electric Vehicles, valentines day, gas, save money

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Electric vehicles feeling the love

Electric vehicles feeling the love

Electric vehicles have a long way to go before they’re mainstream, but more news like this might push more drivers to ask EV’s to “be mine” this Valentine’s Day.

Key Points

  • A new study shows that electric vehicles are cheaper to operate than gas-powered vehicles.
  • The study focuses on fuel costs.
  • On average, an electric vehicle costs $485 per year to operate, and a gas-powered one costs $1,117.

It’s the season for love, and electric vehicles are definitely feeling some.

That’s in part due to a new study that says electric vehicles cost less than half as much to operate as gas-powered vehicles.

The University of Michigan study broke down the fuel costs state by state and found that no matter where you live in the U.S., an electric vehicle (EV) is going to be cheaper to operate. On average, it costs $485 to fuel an EV and $1,117 to fuel a gas-powered vehicle.

It varies by region and state, but even in a state like Hawaii with high gas prices, the electric costs still came out on top with it costing $1,509 for the gasoline version versus $1,106 for the EV.

Drivers would notice the biggest savings in Washington where electricity is very affordable and gas prices are on the high side of the spectrum. There, the average driver would pay $1,338 for gas for a traditional vehicle or just $372 to charge an electric one each year.

You can check out the breakdown for your state by using the Department of Energy’s interactive eGallon calculator here. An eGallon is a cool way to compare how much it costs in electricity to run your car the same distance a gallon of gas would get you. You can even make it specific to how much you’d save on your daily commute. The Department of Energy’s eGallon calculator was updated in 2018 to reflect current average electric and fuel prices in each state.

Electric vehicles have a long way to go before they’re mainstream, accounting for only one percent of cars sold. But more news like this might push more drivers to ask EV’s to “be mine” this Valentine’s Day.


Sarah FolslandSarah is mom to the two cutest little girls in the entire world. Before choosing to make changing diapers and reading bed time stories her full time gig, she earned an M.A. in Political Science from The University of South Dakota, worked in the Governor’s Office as a policy analyst and dabbled in communications at her local utility. Follow Sarah on Twitter @EnergyMommy.

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Does an electric vehicle make sense for my family?

I love my Subaru Forester. As I buzz through South Dakota’s snow-covered winter streets, I feel like a Super Woman as I expertly pump my breaks or get a running start to soar up ...

Tagged: electric vehicle, EV, sarah

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Does an electric vehicle make sense for my family?

Electric vehicles plug in here.

Considering my top priorities, the only electric vehicle practical for my family today is the Ford Fusion Energi.

Key Points

  • Thinking about buying an electric vehicle?  Here’s how I determined if it was a practical purchase for my family.
  • There are two types of electric vehicles – those that run only on electric charge, and those that have a combustion engine to use as a back-up.
  • Right now, neither electric vehicle option seems to be a good fit for my family, but I plan to keep an eye on the industry to see if future improvements make an electric vehicle more practical for family use. 

I love my Subaru Forester. As I buzz through South Dakota’s snow-covered winter streets, I feel like a Super Woman as I expertly pump my breaks or get a running start to soar up an icy hill. All while singing itsy bitsy spider to my daughters, sitting safely in their car seats behind me.

But with a growing family, I’ve decided to have an open mind as we shop for a new car. And what better opportunity to consider alternatives that could keep our energy costs lower?

Here are my top priorities:

  • Safety – I carry precious cargo. Crash ratings and safety rankings are important. 
  • Space – An infant car seat has to fit in the back seat with the front seat back far enough to accommodate my 6’2” husband.
  • Practical for Midwest – It needs to be winter-and long-distance ready. I might want to pack the kids in the car and make the seven-hour trek across South Dakota to visit my sister in Milbank. Is the car up for the trip? Can it handle winter conditions?
  • Price – Upfront cost is important, but so are the long-term savings at the pump.

Narrowing it down

I listed the five best-selling electric vehicles for 2014: Nissan Leaf, Chevy Volt, Toyota Prius Hybrid, Tesla Model S and the Ford Fusion Energi.

The first elimination round was pretty easy. Electric vehicles can be divided into two categories. The first is battery-powered. and all-electric, so when the charge runs out, you’d better be close to an outlet. The second is a plug-in hybrid, with an internal combustion engine as back-up when the batteries run out of charge. 

The Nissan Leaf and Tesla Model S are both all-electric. The Leaf can go 80 miles on a single charge. That would work for daily use, but 80 miles across South Dakota gets you approximately to the middle of nowhere. So, bye bye Leaf. 

The Tesla S can go an impressive 265 miles on a single charge. It can seat seven, go from zero to 50 in four seconds and has a perfect five-star safety record. I thought we had a winner until I saw the price tag. It starts at $70,000. Eeek! Too steep for the “Real Housewives of South Dakota.

That left me with the Chevy Volt, Toyota Prius Hybrid and the Ford Fusion Energi. All three have the back-up engine, so they pass the distance test. And all three rank well on 2014 safety tests

The sticker prices weren’t too bad either. The Volt starts at $26,685; the Prius hybrid at $32,000; and the Energi at $38,700. Plus, you get to factor in the long-term savings at the pump.

A handy government website lets you compare fueling costs with a similar gasonline-powered vehicle. In South Dakota, I’d save $2.34 every 28.2 miles (the average distance a gasoline vehicle can travel on a gallon of gas). If I currently go through a 15-gallon tank of gas a week, I’d save about $140 a month. That’s a significant chunk of change toward a new car payment. 

On to the next round. Space. 

Here’s how they compare for leg room. I measured them against the 2014 Subaru Forester and was a little surprised at how well the electrics fared.

 

Volt

Energi

Prius Hybrid

Subaru Forester

Front leg room

42.05

44.3

42.5

43

Back leg room

34.10

38.3

36

39.2

The back seat of the Volt and the Prius Hybrid wouldn’t accomodate a rear-facing infant car-seat unless my husband drove with his knees up to his chin.

That leaves the Energi. It has an electric range of only 21 miles, so I’d likely use its gasoline engine pretty often – cutting into those long-term gasoline savings. However, its overall range is 620 miles –enough to get me across the state.

The bottom line

Considering my top priorities, the only electric vehicle practical for my family today is the Ford Fusion Energi. However, with an electric range of only 21 miles, I question if it’s worth making the jump to a new electric vehicle when I’d likely have to use the gasoline engine quite frequently. Plus, I question how well it would do on our icy winter roads.

So, I’ll hold on to my Forester for now and watch as electric vehicles – and my family – continue to evolve.

Sarah is mom to two of the cutest little girls in the world. Before choosing to make changing diapers and reading bedtime stories her full-time gig, she earned her master’s degree in political science from the University of South Dakota, was a poicy analyst in the South Dakota governor’s office, and dabbled in communications at her favorite Rapid City utility.  

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Bundles of energy

Awwwww, nothing is cuter than twins, especially ours. They’re relatively quiet and obviously very smart (must take after their mother). Sure, Electra occasionally needs a little ...

Tagged: NGV, EV, Foreign

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Bundles of energy

Bundles of Energy

These babies fulfill our customers’ yearning to reduce the country’s reliance on foreign oil, avoid escalating prices at the pump and find alternatives to gasoline that promote cleaner air.

Awwwww, nothing is cuter than twins, especially ours. They’re relatively quiet and obviously very smart (must take after their mother). Sure, Electra occasionally needs a little nap to recharge her batteries and Natalie naturally gets gas. But we wouldn’t have it any other way.

The twins we’re referring to are the latest additions of alternative fuel vehicles to the Black Hills family of energy solutions. These babies fulfill our customers’ yearning to reduce the country’s reliance on foreign oil, avoid escalating prices at the pump and find alternatives to gasoline that promote cleaner air. Please join us in welcoming into the world electric and natural gas vehicles.

As Black Hills’ stance as an energy leader grows, we’ll continue to nurture innovative ways to satisfy our customers’ evolving energy needs and provide them with valuable information they can rely on when the day arrives to welcome a little Electra or Natalie of their very own.

You might say that what Dr. Spock did for child development, Black Hills is doing for generations of energy users to come.

Natalie and Electra help reduce our dependence on foreign oil

 How much does it cost?

  • Nearly $1 Billion every day on oil imports
  • Over $1000 each year for each person in America
  • Energy imports account for nearly 60 percent of our trade deficit

How much do we use?

  • 4.250 billion barrels imported in 2010

Where does the money go?

Among the top countries we import from:

  • Venezuela
  • Saudi Arabia
  • Nigeria
  • Russia
  • Algeria
  • Angola
  • Iraq

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