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Large differences among the recent increases in the costs of powering gasoline, diesel, and electric vehicles

by Michael Sivak, Sivak Applied Research.

This post examines the recent changes in the costs of powering gasoline, diesel, and electric vehicles. The expectation was that the cost of electricity had recently increased much less than the costs of gasoline and diesel. The reason is that, in the United States, oil is used to generate less than 1% of electricity. Therefore, the recent jump in oil prices (because of the war in Ukraine), should have only a relatively small indirect effect on the cost of electricity.

The raw data—the retail prices of regular gasoline, on-highway diesel, and residential electricity—came from the Energy Information Administration. The gasoline and diesel prices are already available through May 2022, while the electricity prices are currently available only through March 2022.

The table below shows all available average monthly prices for 2022. Also shown are the calculated changes for each month compared with the January prices.

Gasoline Diesel Electricity
$/g Change from
January (%)
$/g Change from
January (%)
$/kWh Change from
January (%)
January 3.315   3.724   0.1372  
February 3.517 +6.1 4.032 +8.3 0.1383 +0.8
March 4.222 +27.4 5.105 +37.1 0.1447 +5.5
April 4.109 +24.0 5.120 +37.5    
May 4.444 +34.1 5.571 +49.6    

The calculations show that the prices for March (the latest month with available electricity prices) increased greatly for gasoline (+27.4%) and diesel (+37.1%), while the price for electricity increased only modestly (+5.5%).

Gasoline vs. diesel changes are now possible to calculate already for May. They show that the increase for diesel was substantially greater (+49.6%) than the increase for gasoline (+34.1%), as was the case for all previous months.

In conclusion, drivers of electric vehicles have recently seen only a modest increase in the cost of their driving, while drivers of gasoline- and (especially) diesel-powered vehicles were hit hard.

Michael Sivak is the managing director of Sivak Applied Research and the former director of Sustainable Worldwide Transportation at the University of Michigan.



The real comparison is the total cost of operation. It was already far less expensive to own a battery electric vehicle than an internal combustion engine vehicle. It costs me about 2.5 cents a mile to drive my Chevy Bolt (4.3 miles per kWhr and 11 cents/kWhr.


Some of us are seeing 70% increases in the electrical rates. The cost of NG has quadrupled and we are paying the price.

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