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DOE: EV charging consumes less energy than water heating in a typical household

Charging an electric vehicle consumes less energy than several common household appliances, according to data compiled by the US Department of Energy (DOE).

Annual energy consumption for a typical household shows that home heating consumes by far the most energy (11,300 kWh) followed by water heating (4,700 kWh) and charging an electric car (2,800 kWh).

Based on average driving habits and consumption rates for the Nissan LEAF, charging an electric car consumes just over twice as much energy as a refrigerator which consumes about 1,300 kWh annually.

While an electric vehicle adds to household electricity usage, it eliminates the need to purchase gasoline for that vehicle which would cost considerably more based on national average gasoline and residential electricity prices.

Source: DOE. Click to enlarge.



We run our whole house on 4400 KwH (6 people) but we have gas heating and water heating and don't need air con.

The car figure sounds a little low, but only by ~20% (10K miles at 3 miles / KwH) and is from real data, so I suppose we should accept it, but I would imagine this is a self selecting group and the average usage would be 20-50% higher.

What this says to me is that electric cars are viable in the developed world. If it is possible to arrange to charge when there is excess capacity on the grid*, it could be done at quite low costs.
* which just means leaving them plugged into "smart chargers" at night and work times.


Agree with mahonj.

We live in a 100% electrified place and we managed to reduce energy consumption by 50+% or enough for 3 BEVs with:

1) improved doors and windows.
2) heatpump with wide operation temps (-30C to +40C)
3) improved (3 elements) electric water heating***
4) electronic programmable thermostat in each room.
5) LEDs lights everywhere.
6) more efficent LED 4K TVs
7) more efficent PCs, phones and tablets
8) more efficent eco steam iron.
9) more efficent cooking stove with induction, refrigerator, microwave.

*** energy used for water heating could be further reduced by 30+% with new Heatpump unit.

I believe you are correct, mahonj, most people won't see 12,000 miles on 2,800 kWh, but on the MyNissanLeaf forum, there are a lot of people claiming ~ 240 watts/mile so maybe thwre are a lot of Leaf hypermilers out there (or people are self-limiting to ~9,300 miles year).

With the new ultra-efficient Gen 2 cars coming out (Hyundai Ioniq BEV is 136mpge according to those DOE numbers could easily be achieved.

Bravo, Harvey, for impressive personal efficiency. I have LEDs but probably cancel out the energy savings with rather gluttonous use of computers around here.


It's good to point out the low comparitive energy use of driving an EV versus other home energy uses on a yearly basis. It won't "break the grid", as one local Toyota Manufacturing employee's wife said to me several years ago when I told her we had purchased a Nissan Leaf. She repeated this myth that originated from her husband, who is a professional employee there. This is especially the case with nighttime charging and/or smart charging stations. Power demand is not really an issue either, as we've been using 120V 10-12 amps since 2015 for app. 8,100 miles per year of driving.

DOE is old school here with their energy use numbers. Our 50 gallon elec. water sticker says 4,700, but due to water saving devices like 1.5 g/m shower heads and low water use dish washer and clothes washer, our water heater use is only 2,800 kWh/yr. Our refrigerator was one of the most efficient in 1999 when new, and it still works, but uses only 545 kWh/yr. Electric heat pump uses 4,600 kWh/yr. for heating and cooling in lower Midwest USA. Leaf used 1,728 kWh last year with city driving and ave. speed of 22 MPH. It's not hard to be efficient with ECO mode and B mode (high) regenerative braking when driving around town! I don't consider this hypermiling, just observing the traffic and lights ahead and taking advantage of what the car offers.

Total electricity (energy) use last year was 11,631 kWh, including the Leaf, in an all electric home.


Interesting stat, that makes people stop and think.



You are correct. It seems that DOE overestimated the e-energy required in an all-electric average home.

We live 70 KM North of NY States border, and our total yearly (for the last 8 years) average about 8,500 kWh. Our previous house consumed also 4 times as much.

My old PC Tower + 24 inch flat Monitor consumed 190 to 210 Watts and my old flat TV about the same. However my new AIO PC, 27 inch Lenovo i-7 fully equipped consumes only 49 Watts and so does my new 43 inch 4K LED TV.

We should all be more careful when buying appliances, hot water heaters, heat pumps, lights, TVs, PCs etc.

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