When it comes to the auto industry, it's clear that more consumers are liking electric vehicles and other alternative fuel choices. Touting long mileage on a single charge and the promise of never paying at the pump, drivers might be excited by the potential savings on gas and maintenance.
What drivers need to consider are not only the long-term fuel savings, but the upfront costs as well. While some electric vehicle models are competitive with their non-EV comparisons on the market, the luxury Tesla Model S comes in between $71,070 and $91,070.
In terms of insurance, electric cars are less expensive for the most part. That may be because insurance companies view EV drivers as more responsible, and therefore less likely to get into an accident or get a traffic violation. For example, the Chevy Volt costs an average of $1,452 to insure for one year, while its non-electric counterpart, the Cadillac CTS, is $2,024. The Nissan Leaf - which was the most popular electric vehicle in 2013 - has an average of $1,513 for a year-long policy, compared to $1,801 for the Nissan Altima.
However, not every electric vehicle is cheaper to insure. In general, new technology - like that seen in electric vehicles - can come with a pricey repair tag. While it depends on which policy you have, switching from a Ford F150 to a Chevy Volt can raise your insurance rate by as much as $200.
Fuel economy is where electric vehicles shine, with the Nissan Leaf costing an average of 3.5 cents per mile and the Chevy Volt with an average cost of 3.8 cents per mile. By comparison, the Toyota Corolla and the Hyundai Elantra cost 11.9 cents and 13.1 cents per mile, respectively.
Based on the overall cost of owning - including depreciation, taxes and fees, fuel, insurance, maintenance, repairs and tax credits - the Nissan Leaf and the Chevy Volt are less expensive to own over four years than the Toyota Corolla and the Hyundai Elantra. As these vehicles continue to improve with new technology, it is likely that more consumers will flock to these automobiles in the hopes of saving money and cutting their carbon footprint.