Tesla Motors Inc (TSLA), General Motors Company (GM) – Pump vs. Plug: The True Cost of Electric Vehicles

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Pump prices have the ability to make or break an average American's day, month, or year. But while gasoline stations fight over tenths of cents to tempt your tank, electric vehicle "plug prices" have remained a mystery – until now. A new tool reveals all, and the results are astonishing. Let's take a look to see whether pump prices or plug prices are the real pocket pinchers.

Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA)

Pump vs. plug The Department of Energy unveiled its "eGallon calculator" this month, a shockingly simple tool to compare state-specific pump prices to plug prices. While gas prices scream at us from street signs, electric vehicle driving costs are nowhere to be found. eGallon changes all that, opening up information for consumers to make cost-conscious decisions about what to drive.

Source: Wikimedia Commons

Looking beneath national numbers, eGallon's data are state-specific and constantly refreshing. With the cheapest gas prices around, South Carolina's $3.41 per gas gallon is 3.15 times its $1.08 electric equal. And Hawaii's most expensive electricity ($3.69 per gallon) still manages to squeeze under gasoline's $3.74. Using mileage data for the five top-selling electric vehicles in 2012 – Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA)'s Model S, General Motors Company (NYSE:GM)' Chevy Volt, Nissan's Leaf, Ford Motor Company (NYSE:F)'s Focus, and BMW's ActiveE – the number cruncher compares these vehicles' costs to a gasoline car that averages 28.2 miles per gallon. The result? On average, it costs around three times less per gallon ($1.14) to put the pedal to the metal in an electric vehicle versus a gasoline-powered vehicle.

A bit of historical perspective points to another win for electric expenditures. While pump prices can spike overnight with erratic oil, regulated utilities keep electricity prices slow and steady through thick and thin.

Source: Energy.gov

Electricity also offers a more diverse generation portfolio, creating opportunities for environmental efficiency and energy independence. And while this isn't currently the case with coal-centric utilities or imported energy, it's a bigger basket to choose from than anything traditional fuels have on tap.

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