EVs Cost 40 Percent Less to Maintain Than Conventional Cars, Energy Department Report Says


Maintenance costs for a light-duty, battery-powered car are around 40 percent less per mile than for a gas-powered car, according to a recent report from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Argonne National Laboratory.

The Office Of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy highlighted the findings in a new post, which explains that electric vehicles lack timing belts, oxygen sensors, fuel filters, spark plugs, multi-speed transmissions and other parts than can prove costly to service in conventional cars. And, whereas gas-powered cars require regular oil changes, EVs have no need for motor oil.

The report finds that while gasoline-powered cars cost around 10 cents per mile on average to maintain, electric cars cost only around 6 cents per mile. Hybrid cars cost around 9 cents per mile to maintain, with savings on brake maintenance making them cheaper to service than conventional vehicles. The findings add to a growing body of work showing that, factoring in savings on maintenance and fuel, EVs are often cheaper to own than conventional cars, despite having higher upfront costs.

The difference in maintenance costs between gasoline-powered cars and electric cars could prove significant to companies or government agencies that own large fleets of vehicles. Using the findings from the report and data from the General Services Administration, Motor Trend determined the cost of maintaining the federal government’s fleet of light-duty vehicles if it were entirely gas-powered and if it were entirely battery-powered. It found that an all-electric fleet would be $78 million cheaper per year to maintain than an all gas-powered fleet.

President Biden has said he plans to replace the nearly 400,000 vehicles owned by the federal government with EVs, although it’s not yet clear how he would reach this goal or over what timeline. The U.S. Postal Service, which accounts for the bulk of government vehicles, recently contracted with Ohio-based truck manufacturer Oshkosh Defense to deliver up to 165,000 mail trucks, most of which would be equipped with fuel-efficient internal combustion engines. The announcement came as a disappointment to EV backers, including House Democratic leaders, who are pushing to allocate $8 billion in funding for a fully electric postal fleet.