eGallon offers look at 'fill-up' costs for electric cars

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Though most Americans understand the environmental payoff of electric-powered cars the Department of Energy Tuesday highlighted another benefit of cutting ties with the pump: Cost.

A new webpage, www.energy.gov/eGallon, allows consumers to view the cost of regular unleaded gasoline alongside the price of the electric "eGallon."

The eGallon is a calculation based on the electricity that the five most popular electric vehicles would require to travel the same distance as similar gas-fueled vehicles on a gallon of gasoline. The amount of electricity is then multiplied by the average cost of electricity in a state.

The website allows users to compare national averages, as well as state averages. Prices for electricity can vary at different locations across a state just as gas prices do.

On Tuesday, the national average cost of regular unleaded gas was $3.65 a gallon and the national average cost of an electric eGallon was $1.14, according to the website. The average price of regular unleaded gasoline in Pennsylvania was $3.45 while the cost of an electric eGallon was $1.21.

"Consumers can see gasoline prices posted at the corner gas station, but are left in the dark on the cost of fueling an electric vehicle," said Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz in a news release.

During a conference call Tuesday afternoon, Assistant Secretary David Danielson noted that while the price of regular unleaded gasoline fluctuates, prices for electricity are noticeably more stable, varying less than a dollar since 2001, according to the website.

Though refueling electric vehicles may be cheaper, some question whether the infrastructure is in place to give consumers confidence in switching to plug-in electric vehicles. The Pittsburgh region has about 20 electric refueling stations in total.

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Andrew Gretchko: agretchko@post-gazette.com.


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