EV Charging

What is the Tesla Charging Cost vs. Gas?

Casey Donahue
Casey Donahue
April 25, 2022
What is the Tesla Charging Cost vs. Gas?

The case for years is that it’s been cheaper and more efficient to recharge electric vehicles like Teslas compared to refueling gas cars or cars with combustion engines. But what is the Tesla charging cost vs. gas?

In recent years, when major political events have triggered soaring gas prices, Tesla and other EV manufacturers have used the price fluctuations as marketing points to prove the plausibility of recharging electric vehicles. To charge a Tesla with a depleted battery, Tesla charging costs anywhere from $14 to $17, equalling approximately four cents per mile. Additional costs such as the electricity rates for each state and the rates for residential versus commercial chargers are also weighed into the costs. 

However, since the start of the year, electricity prices have been rising, particularly in markets where Tesla vehicles are popular. With that in mind, let’s compare the Tesla charging cost vs. gas-powered cars. 

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Is Charging a Tesla Still Cheaper Compared to Gas Cars?   

How much does a Tesla increase an electricity bill? Despite rising electricity prices due to world events, statistics show that it’s more financially viable to recharge a Tesla or other electric vehicle than to fuel gas-powered vehicles. 

Markets like San Francisco and Boston, for example, are Tesla-friendly markets while also being markets where electricity is higher than the national average. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and U.S. Energy Information Administration jointly released statistics in March weighing gas and electricity averages to determine the viability of recharging electric vehicles compared to gas cars. The statistics ranged from April 2019 until early 2022. 

On average, across the United States, adding 100 miles of range in a vehicle with a combustion engine has become more expensive in recent months compared to charging Teslas with an equivalent amount.

Will Things Change Going Forward?

Though oil prices are predicted to fall in the coming months with increased output from producers, the likelihood that electricity prices will rise enough to make Teslas and other electric vehicles unaffordable throughout their life cycles is slim.

The total lifetime cost of ownership for electric vehicles is more than $4,700 less than for gas-powered vehicles. The cost difference is expected to increase as more EVs enter the market.

Also, battery prices are expected to fall, further making the recharging of Teslas more attractive than fueling a gas-powered vehicle. 

The Cost of Charging a Tesla 

When wondering how much to charge a Tesla, keep in mind that Tesla charging stations charge per minute rather than per hour, with charging costs typically broken down into two tiers

Tier 1 pricing applies whenever Tesla cars are charging at or below 60 kW, usually when Teslas are sharing a charging station with another charger. Tesla charges half of the regular effective rate or 13 cents for every minute that the EV charges. Alternatively, Tier 2 charges apply when a Tesla is charging above the 60 kW mark, with the full 26 cents per minute applied during charging. 

Supercharging pricing depends on a bevy of key factors, including the Supercharger's location, the effective charging rate for the city where the Supercharger is based, and on and off-peak hours. 

The Energy Rate Plan 

A major difference when exploring the differences between charging a Tesla and a gas-powered vehicle is that various electricity plans influence the overall cost of Tesla charging. The plans include: 

  • A flat rate 
  • A tiered rate 
  • Time-of-use rate 
  • Real-time pricing

Your Tesla charging cost may differ depending on the type of plan you select. 

How Do the Charging Rates Work?

When opting for a flat rate, the Tesla charging price is based on the average rate decreed by your electrical company, providing you with an average rate that accounts for the higher charging costs during peak hours, then rolling that amount into the flat rate. The flat rate makes charging costs more dependable, though the lack of flexibility affects your ability to accumulate more cost savings. 

Tiered rates, meanwhile, charge customers two different electricity rates. One of the rates is a lower electricity rate used up to a threshold, while the other is a higher rate for additional usage. The more kWh used during a trip, the likelier you are to jump into the higher tier. 

The time-of-use rate applies a rate during off-peak hours and a different rate during peak hours. Charging costs for this charging rate can be optimized by charging during off-peak hours. 

And, with real-time pricing, electricity pricing fluctuations are denoted throughout each day, influencing the Tesla charging cost. The fluctuations are dictated by the demand for energy throughout the daily marketplace, allowing Tesla drivers to capitalize on the lowest charging prices as long as they can abide by the fluctuating prices set by the energy companies. 

Charge Efficiency Also Influence the Tesla Charging Price 

Charge efficiency also impacts your Tesla charging cost. Tesla drivers must monitor how well their batteries can take charging. Unbeknownst to many Tesla drivers, some energy is wasted or lost when Tesla charging occurs, though the loss is typically low due to EV charging technology optimizations.

When filling a gas-powered vehicle at a gas station, unintentional spills of gasoline can happen when filling the tank. A similar thing occurs when charging any electric vehicle. 

The type of Tesla charger being used during charging and the Tesla model are two key factors that influence charging efficiency. Additionally, weather conditions can positively or negatively affect the charging efficiency when recharging a Tesla electric vehicle.  

How Much Does a Tesla Increase Your Electric Bill?

Depending on how often you’re driving your Tesla and the quality of chargers you use to charge your vehicle, your electric bill may seem a small or significant increase month-to-month. 

According to a recent study, there are time costs associated with finding reliable chargers for electric vehicles. Even when you find a reliable charger, it takes an average of 30 minutes to go from a 20% charge to 80%. Logically, the longer you’re waiting for a full charge at your home charging station, the more money you’ll have to pay on the next electric bill. 

How Much Money Can You Save from Tesla Charging Cost vs. Gas? 

You will save money on fuel costs by opting for a Tesla or any other electric car. But, how much can you actually save? 

One report details the potential cost savings you can make charging per month with an electric vehicle compared to fueling a gas-powered vehicle. When putting 1,000 miles on your Tesla per month and paying 10 cents for every kW hour of electricity you use, your home Tesla recharging bill is anywhere between $25 and $33 monthly. The calculations are based on approximately four miles equalling one kW hour. 

Even if you were to double your charging rate to 20 cents for every kW hour, your monthly electric vehicle charging costs would still be cheaper than paying to fill up a combustion engine, with recharging costs ranging from $50 to $66. 

On the contrary, gas-powered vehicles get a combined average of around 30 miles per gallon, meaning that if you’re driving 1,000 miles monthly, you’ll be spending anywhere from $70 to $100 every month.

How much you spend monthly for fueling a gas-powered car depends on gas prices that are continually volatile due to various world events. Should gas prices increase, more people will see the worth of investing in Teslas and benefit from the cost savings of charging electric vehicles. 

How Much Will It Cost to Charge Your Tesla at Home?

When charging your Tesla at home and trying to get a better understanding of how much a Tesla could increase your electric bill, you need to know: 

  • The monthly mileage that you drive 
  • The efficiency of the Tesla you’re driving (measured in kWh per mile)
  • Local cost for each kWh, which is measured in cents 

Electricity consumption is typically measured using kilowatt-hours rather than gallons, which are used to measure fuel in a gas-powered vehicle. The best practice when measuring the Tesla charging cost is to divide the overall cost of your most recent electricity bill by the kilowatt-hours used, taking into consideration all charges associated with delivering your electricity.

According to the Energy Information Administration, the average for national residences as of December 2021 is 13.75 cents per kilowatt-hour

The Tesla Charging Cost of the Model Y 

The newest Tesla model, the Model Y, has three versions, with each model using a 75kW battery. The average cost to fully charge a Tesla Model Y is around $11.47 or $4.70 for every 100 miles. 

This amount is nearly 64% less than the per-mile cost to drive gas-powered vehicles, which is typically around 13 cents per mile. To realize even greater cost savings while recharging a Tesla, preferably at home, some Tesla owners use solar panels to leverage more sustainable energy.

The Tesla Charging Price of the Model S

For a Model S, the long-range version of the Tesla model carries a $15.29 charging cost for a full charge, with the cost based on electricity prices of 13 cents per kilowatt-hour and an 85% battery efficiency. 

The Cost of Charging a Model X 

The Model X long-range and Plaid models come equipped with 100 kWh batteries. For both models, the average charging cost hovers around $15.29 to fully charge them, factoring in the national average cost of electricity and an 85% battery efficiency, the standard efficiency for Level 2 charging stations.

The Cost of Charging a Model 3

To fully charge a Tesla Model 3, the average cost is $7.65 for a standard range Model 3, while the long-range and performance models each carry a $12.54 charge, with a cost of $0.036 per mile for the long-range and $0.04 for the performance model. 

The costs and benefits of charging a Tesla outweigh those that accompany filling up a gas tank. With gas prices showing few signs of slowing down right now, owning a Tesla or other EVs and accumulating some cost savings while recharging them makes the Tesla driving experience worthwhile.

If you are looking to better track the cost savings between a Tesla and gas-powered vehicles, the Optiwatt app offers a unique breakdown of EV charging stations and prices to ensure maximum cost savings. 

Fuel your savings. Spend 70% or less with every charge!

Casey Donahue
Casey Donahue

Serial entrepreneur. Founder of Optiwatt. Pushing us towards a greener, cheaper, faster future.

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