The debate over California’s record-high gas prices has resurrected an question: Is switching to an electric vehicle more cost effective?
According to the American Automobile Association, the price of regular unleaded gas in California as of Wednesday was $5.57, a more than 10-cent increase from Tuesday and about 71 cents higher than a week ago.
And even though the national average gas price broke for the first time this week since 2008, California motorists are still paying about $1.32 more for gas than other U.S. motorists because of taxes, environmental laws and location.
ARE ELECTRIC VEHICLES CHEAPER THAN GAS-POWERED CARS?
According to a 2020 Consumer Reports study, battery electric vehicle owners spend 60% less on fuel than the average car in their class. According to AAA, while owning an electric car costs about $600 more per year, it costs less in individual categories such as fuel, maintenance, repairs, and tires.
Getting your hands on one, on the other hand, is a challenge. With looming gas prices and Gov. Gavin Newsom’s executive order prohibiting the sale of new gas-powered passenger cars and trucks by 2035, the fear of switching to electric has been rooted in three factors: cost, charging accessibility, and time on the road. Gavin outlined a $10 billion zero-emissions vehicle package in January, based on his 2035 plan, to make electric-powered vehicles a reality.
Some of the initiatives include:
- Setting aside $256 million for low income consumer purchases.
- Settling aside $900 million to expand affordable and convenient zero-emission vehicle infrastructure access in low-income neighborhoods.
- Planning and developing various charging station options in communities.
HOW CAN I SAVE MONEY ON AN ELECTRIC CAR?
Depending on your eligibility, there are several ways to get an electric car at a lower price in California:
FEDERAL TAX CREDIT FOR ELECTRIC VEHICLES
All electric and plug-in hybrid cars purchased new in 2010 or after may be eligible for a federal income tax credit up to $7,500. To get started, filter by vehicle type or manufacturer on the official U.S. government fuel economy website.
DRIVE CLEAN INCENTIVE SEARCH
Search Drive Clean’s California incentive database, put together by the California Air Resources Board, and find a new or pre-owned electric vehicle.
CALIFORNIA CLEAN FUEL REWARD
With the California Clean Fuel Reward, you could buy or lease a new electric vehicle and save up to $750.
CLEAN VEHICLE REBATE PROGRAM
You can receive up to $7,000 to purchase or lease a new plug-in hybrid electric vehicle, battery electric vehicle or a fuel cell electric vehicle in the California Clean Vehicle Rebate Program. The program offers vehicle rebates on a first-come, first-served basis.