Filling up your gas tank can be one of the most painful parts of the day.
You work hard for your money, and watching how much of that hard work gets wasted at the pump can be a bit discouraging. For many of us, gas is a huge expense that can eat up a lot of our money. If only we could break our addiction to that liquid gold that is gasoline, we could save money we never knew we had.
The good news is, you can break the gasoline addiction. No, you don’t have to ride a bike, but nowadays, the payoff of owning an electric car is hard to ignore. The hybrids and full electric cars out there today are becoming more mainstream, and more and more people are waking up to the savings that an electric car can bring.
Let’s break down the savings.
A standard gasoline car gets about 20 miles to the gallon. Gas, although it does fluctuate a lot, is generally around $4.00 a gallon. So the cost per mile of driving a standard gasoline car is about 20 cents a mile.
The standard electric car these days gets about 3.5 miles for every kilowatt-hour. The average kilowatt-hour costs a homeowner about 20 cents per kWh. So the cost per mile of driving an electric car that your charge at home is about 5.7 cents a mile.
So the saving are obvious there. By switching to electric, the cost to drive your car literally is cut by almost 75%. Pretty incredible right? But think about this: what if your electricity was costing you less?
By switching to solar energy to power your home, you can cut your power bills by more than half. The average solar installation makes the cost of a kilowatt-hour drop from 20 cents a kWh to 7 cents a kWh.
So how does this translate to savings when it comes to driving?
Solar cars, when powered by a solar powered home, will cost only 2 cents per mile to drive. With electric cars getting 3.5 miles per kWh, at 7 cents a kWh, solar powered cars save you 90% per mile.
So it’s obvious that solar cars are the cheapest way to get around. The question remains though as to how expensive these electric cars are compared to their counterparts, and how easy they are to attain.
The new hybrid 2015 Nissan Leaf starts at $29,000. They are now easily available at any Nissan dealership. A comparable non-electric car of similar size from Nissan, the 2015 Nissan Sentra, a similar sized hatchback, starts at around $16,500.
So let’s look at how the gas savings compare. Let’s say you commute 30 miles a day, five days a week. So you drive 150 miles a week, 600 miles a month, and 7,200 miles a year.
Nissan Sentra: 7,200 Miles X 20 cents a mile = 144,000 cents, or $1,440 for a years’ worth of driving.
Nissan Leaf (without solar powered home): 7,200 Miles X 5.7 cents a mile = 41,040 cents or $410.40 for a year’s worth of driving.
Nissan Leaf (with solar powered home): 7,200 Miles X 2 cents a Mile = 14,400 cents, or $144 for a years’ worth of driving.
So if you’re driving a solar powered car, you could be saving around $1,300 a year on gas. The savings on gas will make up for the price difference between the Leaf and the Sentra in around 9 years, and after that it’s purely savings.
Setting an example for anyone considering solar powered cars is Stellar Solar’s own VP of Sales and Marketing Michael Powers. Powers drives his Nissan Leaf to and from work every day, and plugs it in to his solar powered home at night. In a recent interview with the Union Tribune, Michael had this to say about his solar car: “I drive an electric car that I plug into a solar-powered house so that car runs on sunshine, and to me that’s a great idea.”