When deciding to purchase a PEV, an important question is "How much will it cost to drive on electricity compared to gasoline." The good news is driving on electricity can be cheaper than driving on gasoline. When you take advantage of night-time, off-peak electricity rates of about $0.10 per kilowatt hour (kWh) it is the equivalent of driving on gasoline that costs less than $1 per gallon!
Most utilities in California offer special rates for PEVs that take advantage of off-peak electricity. This is easy to do and will save you a lot of money. You may find that a residential time-of-use rate (TOU) is worth considering if you have a PEV. On a TOU rate, household electricity costs vary according to the time of day electricity is used. Most PEVs allow you to program the car to charge when rates are lower so you can come home, plug-in and know that the car will start and stop charging when you want it to.
To keep fuel costs low, PEV drivers should contact their utilities to learn about choices in electricity rate options. Here are several utilities that have special PEV programs. Other utilities are just beginning new programs, so be sure to contact your local utility to find out what they might offer.
- Los Angeles Department of Water & Power (LADWP)
- Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E)
- San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E)
- Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD)
- Southern California Edison (SCE)
Changes to Your Electric Bill
How much your monthly electric bill changes from plugging in a PEV depends on how many miles are driven and charged at home, and the electricity rate plan chosen. To keep fuel costs low, contact your utility to learn about choices in electricity rate options. Start thinking about kWh instead of MPG!
Some electric utilities offer special off-peak charging rate discounts for PEVs and provide guidance on getting your home ready to charge. Typically you will have the option of moving toward a special time-of-use rate for your whole house that will include your PEV, or you can choose to install a second meter for your PEV. Some utilities are also considering incentives such as rebates to off-set the cost of installing a charger at your home. Utility rates continue to evolve with new metering rate options for PEV households expected over the next few years.
Taking advantage of off-peak rates is easy since most PEVs, and several brands of charging equipment, have mobile apps or programmable options to pre-set the car to automatically charge off-peak, when rates are lowest.