OPINION: Electric Vehicles Now More Expensive To Run Than Gas Cars, Study Says

March 1, 2023


BRITISH COLUMBIA – Electric cars are now more expensive to operate than gas-powered vehicles.

This stunning revelation by the Anderson Economic Group (AEG) was shared in a Fox Business news story, as it indicated that by the end of last year, “the fuel cost for most Internal Combustion Engine (ICE) vehicles was comparatively cheaper in the final quarter of 2022 than charging an Electric Vehicle (EV).”

Rising electricity costs obviously contributed to the costs, driving mid-priced ICE cars to become “more economical than EV times for the first time in 18 months”, according to the AEG study. Added to that, the cost of driving a gas-powered car 100 miles dropped by more than $2 from October to November.

Thus, in the last three months of 2022, a medium-priced gas vehicle cost $11.29 to drive 100 miles – while electric car drivers over the same distance paid $11.60 if they plugged in at home. For those who pay to charge their cars at fuel stations, it could cost an additional $3.

The study did indicate that expensive luxury electric vehicles were actually cheaper to drive than a gas one.

So, where does one go from here? Consumers had to be completely naïve if they thought that the initial savings found while driving electric cars was going to last. At some point, shopping centres were going to eliminate “free” voltage fill-ups. Surely electrical producers would realize there was more money from vehicle owners, not just because the number of them would increase, but that the cost of electricity for said vehicles could slowly cruise up to the approximate cost of filling a car or truck with gas.

They did, and they have. And if the cost of producing electricity continues to rise, so will the price of re-charging an electric vehicle. The market, as always, has a big part to play, and eventually subsidies and novelties will wear off.

Who thought we have already reached that point? Especially with North American politicians vowing to outlaw gas-powered vehicles as soon as 2035. That’s 12 years away, which is almost eternity for politicians, who may or may not be around when those promises become reality. Or, perhaps due to other factors like the inability to increase the amount of electricity, or changing public sentiments about having to operate vehicles that are more expensive to run than conventional fuel cars, which could change.

California, from where much of the prognostications about climate change originate, relies heavily on electricity from. . .British Columbia. Which comes from the dams built by W.A.C. Bennett when he ruled the province, thanks to the Columbia River Treaty. As the push for EV’s continues and heightens, where is that power to come from?

Site C Dam, a no-brainer for power producing if there ever was one since there were already two dams on the Peace River, has been met with opposition from every corner of the environmentalist and bureaucratic world. The NDP loathed the project when they were in opposition, but now boast of its benefits, while pointing the blame for the $16 billion (so far) budget on their BC Liberal predecessors.

The northern BC structure is now 70 per cent complete and targeting a fall, 2025 date to introduce power into its grid. Thus far, 15,003 environmental compliance inspections have completed by BC Hydro staff. Astounding. If it wasn’t a government project, it would have been abandoned years ago, as no private sector operation could endure such tedious micro-management and redundant regulatory demands. As of last September, 593 of the estimated 646 provincial and federal permits and authorizations required throughout the life of the project had been obtained and are actively being managed.

Water and dams are the cheapest method of producing electricity, and it is virtually  inconceivable to envision more dams being built in North America. Which leaves other, much more costly alternatives: Wind power (killing birds and unreliable), ocean wave power (killing fish and mammals) and, gasp, the dreaded burning of coal. . .

Nuclear power? Now there’s an idea, but watch radicals set their hair on fire at the suggestion that a nuclear power plant could be built in a neighborhood near their house. You can almost hear it now: “We don’t want Chernobyl in our back yard!” If not nuclear, then what?

At some point, the average household is going to have to make choices based on the reality of their finances. Let’s see: “If we can run our gas-fueled van on $300 a month, while an electric vehicle costs $500, what should we do? Feed the kids something more than oatmeal and macaroni and drive a gas van, or feed them oatmeal and macaroni and drive an EV to make the government happy?”

Or maybe electrical cars will only be affordable by the wealthy?

Relax: Those theoretical discussions are way in the future. Or are they? The AEG study shows that electrical vehicles have caught up to the cost to run of traditional cars already. Why wouldn’t those costs continue to rise, particularly in light of the increasing costs of producing electrical power?

Competition from the electrical corner has been good for producers of gas-powered vehicles, who have consistently been making cars and trucks that use less and less fuel. They will not go down without a fight, and perhaps their chances of survival aren’t as bleak as one might think – unless the governments insist on taxing petroleum products out of existence. Maybe the future includes much-cheaper-to-operate gas vehicles too.

It should continue to be an interesting study.

Mark MacDonald is President of Communication Ink Media & Public Relations Ltd. and Author of the book “It Worked For Them, It Will Work For Me: The 8 Secrets of Small Business I Learned From Successful Friends”, which can be obtained by reaching him through: mark@communicationink.ca


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