Historically speaking, it is cheaper to drive a mile on electricity than it is on gasoline. However, we are living through strange times. Currently, in winter 2023, electricity prices are abnormally high in New England. In some places, it might cost more to drive a mile on electricity than on gasoline. (However, electricity rate prices change twice a year, so that may change later this year.) We have calculated average savings for drivers in each of the three main utility districts in Massachusetts and Rhode Island.
Savings Per Mile
How much you pay to drive a mile on electricity ultimately depends on what you are paying for electricity, including both supply and distribution/transmission. We have done the math for customers on Basic Service for the big three utilities in our area. If you are part of an aggregation program or live in an area with a municipal utility, your rates are likely different - more on that below.
National Grid, Eversource, and Rhode Island Energy
There are two main utilities in Massachusetts that provide electricity: National Grid and Eversource. In Rhode Island, the main utility is Rhode Island Energy. Most likely, you are a customer on the “Basic Service” rate with your electric utility. However, if you individually signed up with a competitive electricity supplier, you may be paying a different rate, and if you are a resident in one of a growing number of aggregation communities, you may be paying your community’s negotiated rate. (More on that below).
So, how much does it cost to drive a mile on electricity in each of these three main utility districts? The average new all-electric car available through the Drive Green program requires about 0.30 kilowatt-hours (kWh) per mile driven. When you multiply that by the cost of electricity (including supply, transmission, and distribution!), you can calculate the fuel costs per mile of driving. We've done the math with average assumptions of efficiency and a six-month rolling average of gas prices, with these results.
Your Situation May Differ
If you get your electricity from a municipally owned utility (such as one of these MA municipally owned utilities or these RI utilities), you are likely paying a different price per kilowatt-hour of electricity. The same is true if you are a resident of a growing number of communities that are offering municipal aggregation programs. If that's the case, we've made it easy for you to do your own math! If you look at our methodology document, you'll see we've put in red the figures that you would need to replace with your electricity rate to calculate your own fuel savings. If you need help with this, feel free to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Vehicle Cost Calculator
To do the math for yourself, we recommend the U.S. Department of Energy's Alternative Fuels Data Center Vehicle Cost Calculator.