Electric vehicles (EVs) are becoming more affordable and accessible every year. Manufacturers widely market the technology as one of the best solutions for reducing carbon emissions and preventing a climate crisis.
Twenty-seven percent of America’s greenhouse gas emissions come from transportation currently. As a driver, you’re trading one utility bill for another. How will EVs impact your energy bills in the coming years?
While you may not be stopping at the gas station and emptying your wallet to fill your tank, that doesn’t mean driving an electric car is free. If you have the equipment to charge at home, on average, you can expect the act of keeping your EV running to increase your monthly electric bill by $30-60. The amount varies depending on your location and how much you pay per kilowatt hour (kWh).
The amount you end up paying to charge your EV will also depend on the type of charger you install. DC fast chargers are the most efficient but are not meant to be installed at home. DC fast chargers are typically used while an EV driver is out in public, such as at a grocery store, or at a destination, like a park. Level 1 chargers are more cost-effective and traditionally come with the vehicle but can take up to 24 hours to charge your vehicle to 80%. Level 2 chargers can be installed at home or used in public places and can take between 3-8 hours.
While diesel vehicles have more of an impact on the environment, they do have the benefit of being ready once you fill them with gas.
Electric vehicle owners aren’t the only ones who might feel the pinch of increased utility costs in the coming years. The rise of EVs could increase nationwide electricity consumption by up to 38% by 2050, according to a U.S. Department of Energy study. States will need to produce more electricity to meet the growing demand — a task that could be challenging as they work to find ways to reduce reliance on fossil fuels.
Some cities have started exploring “Time of Day” rates for EV charging. Individuals who charge their vehicles during peak times — especially during the day — will pay 31 cents per kWh, while those who charge at off-peak times will only pay 17 cents per kWh.
Depending on how utility companies balance demand and supply, these charges could eventually extend to the general population, meaning it might cost more to keep your lights on or plug in your laptop during the day than to do the same tasks at night. No one charges extra for homes connected to the grid that don’t use EVs, but the potential is there if the electric vehicle market continues to grow.
EVs aren’t going anywhere anytime soon. Most of their impacts are positive, reducing the CO2 emissions of the country’s transportation industry. Unfortunately, as they become more popular, they might start to impact even those who don’t drive an electric vehicle. It will become a delicate balancing act for both utility companies and residents.