What does it really cost to fuel an electric car?

CREATED Jun. 12, 2013

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  • Under the Volt's hood. It has a couple of electric motors. Image by Jon Byman

  • WTMJ sales guys Jeff Solie with his new Chevy Volt. Image by Jon Byman

MILWAUKEE - Is it really cheaper to drive an electric car?  The federal government is trying to answer the question as clearly as possible.

The Department of Energy has started a new website that compares gas prices to the cost of the electricity it takes to drive an electric car the same distance as a similar car would go on a gallon of gas.

"Consumers can see gas prices posted at the corner gas station but are left in the dark on the cost of fueling an electric vehicle," said Assistant Energy Secretary Dave Danielson.

In Wisconsin, it's about $1.32 to drive an electric car the same distance as you'd get on a gallon of gas.

WTMJ sales guy Jeff Solie recently bought the Chevy Volt, an electric car.  Jeff says the numbers make sense, "my energy bill to drive around every month is coming down from about $320 a month to somewhere around $65."

Jeff says he spent less than $30,000 to buy the Volt, which is about what he was planning to spend on a new car.

In addition to spending less on gas, Jeff point out there are other savings.  For instance, he won't need brakes as often because you don't use the brakes much.  The car stops itself when you let off the gas.  That's because it's using the momentum to charge the battery.  You also don't need to change the oil much.

He's done the math and swears the Volt is saving him big bucks.  "I'm really really cheap."