Smart & Connected Life > Electric Vehicles EVs and Electric Bills: Myth vs. Fact Will your electric bill rise if you buy an EV? Maybe, but other costs will drop. By Lindsay Martell Lindsay Martell University of San Francisco After producing television news for years—much of it centered on national and international car shows—Lindsay transitioned to freelance writing, where she quickly gravitated toward automotive technology. She frequently contributes to sites like AutoTrader, AutoGravity, Lending Tree, and CarMax. lifewire's editorial guidelines Published on September 28, 2021 Tweet Share Email Have you been hearing about the potential of soaring electrical bills if you purchase an EV? After all, you’ll be plugging in your EV at home every day, which could rack up costs, right? Well, maybe. Yes, your bill could increase, but by how much? It’s not a simple answer, and there are a lot of factors to consider. (Gas car) drivers spend about $250 per month at the pump. If you drive your EV 15,000 miles per year with the estimated $540 in yearly charging fees, you’ll spend roughly $45 per month in extra electricity. The Charging Basics Since most of us who drive do it during the day, many EV owners plug in their vehicles at night to fully charge by the morning. According to FuelEconomy.gov, it requires three to 12 hours to fully charge an EV battery, depending on the model of the car and how fast the charger is. So how much juice does an EV use? It depends on what kind of electric car you buy (it will require more electricity to charge up an E-SUV than, say, the Mini Cooper SE, which zips up to 80 percent charged in about 30 minutes if using a fast charger). The cost to charge also depends on electricity rates, which are not constant, and depend upon where you reside. The good news for EV drivers is that while electricity rates do vary more than gas rates, the cost through the years is a lot more stable than gasoline. Electricity rates don’t spike in the same way gas does. According to PlugIn America, an advocacy group for plug-in vehicle owners, drivers with EVs average about 15,000 miles per year, and pay about $540 per year, or $45 per month, to charge their vehicles. Another thing to consider is when you charge up. To save a few dollars, try plugging during the weekday between 7:00 am and 10:00 am. If nights are more convenient for you, between 8:00 pm and 11:00 pm is best. Energy consumption rates are usually lowest during these off-peak hours. The cost to charge ... depends on electricity rates, which are not constant, and depend upon where you reside. Embrace the Free Charge Up But before you start worrying about forgoing your beloved latte habit or swearing off take-out forever, there are cheaper ways to power your vehicle if you are willing to think outside the home. Electric vehicles depend on electricity to take you wherever you want to go, but that doesn’t mean you can only use your home charging unit. Try to work in a charging session the next time you grocery shop. If you are a Whole Foods shopper, you can charge your EV for free, usually up to an hour. If you can't find a free public charging station, a quick Google search for “charging stations near me” should net many results in your zip code or the surrounding area. One of the most popular options is EVGo Fast Charging stations. You can either pay $.35 per minute (for a maximum of one hour to charge) or sign up for a membership, which brings the cost down to $.31 per minute. Another resource is PlugShare, which allows you to search for a public charger using various filters, such as supercharger availability, power requirements, and residential locations. You can also get help with trip planning and add your home charger to the network. Is It Better to Charge My EV at Home or at a Public Charger? Lowering Costs, One Incentive at a Time It’s a good idea to reach out to your utility company to see if they offer incentives to EV owners. The U.S. Department of Energy’s Alternative Fuel Data Center offers EV owners the opportunity to search for incentives in all fifty states to see if electric car owners can get a bit of a break on their utility bills. Thankfully, there are 44 utility companies in the US offering discounted rates, rebates, or other incentives for EV implementation, according to FleetCarma.com. Additionally, a whopping 200 utility companies are offering TOU or “time-of-use” rates which is another way to entice folks to embrace the EV lifestyle. (TOU works by charging customers less for electrical usage during off-peak times.) Your home state may offer incentives to get you to plug in your vehicle at off-peak times, which could make a considerable dent in your utility bill. Another way to slash your electricity bill is by going solar. By installing solar panels on your roof, your at-home charging could be zero cost—as long as the panels generate enough electricity for both your home and your vehicle. Another plus? You could capture even more tax credits and incentives, so it’s a win-win. So how does gasoline vs. electric stack up? According to Lending Tree’s ValuePenguin, (gas car) drivers spend about $250 per month at the pump. If you drive your EV 15,000 miles per year with the estimated $540 in yearly charging fees, you’ll spend roughly $45 per month in extra electricity. Answers to The Great Electric Debate So, to sum up, yes—your home electric bill will probably rise when charging an EV at home. However, there are numerous ways to charge up for free and embrace all of the incentives you can. And remember, an electric vehicle will save you roughly $6,000 to $10,000 over the life of the car, compared to owning a comparable gas-powered vehicle, according to Consumer Reports. Cost savings, stellar fuel economy, and environmentally sound driving? Another win-win-win for electric vehicles.