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The cost of owning a car is far higher than its purchase price. Expenses such as fuel, maintenance, and repairs add up over time.

Andrew Burnham of Argonne National Laboratory co-authored a recent report about the total cost of vehicle ownership.

“Over the lifetime of a vehicle, the maintenance and repair for a gasoline car might be $25,000 or so – so a very significant amount,” he says.

But he says these long-term costs are typically less for electric vehicles.

EVs have fewer parts to service, as they don’t need oxygen sensors, spark plugs, motor oil, or timing belts. Burnham’s team estimated that scheduled maintenance for fully electric vehicles costs about 40% less than for gas-powered cars.

“There is a potential for large amount of maintenance and repair savings over the lifetime of an electric vehicle versus a gasoline one,” he says.

EV drivers can also save a lot of money on fuel.

So even though the up-front cost of an EV may be higher, Burnham says car buyers should look beyond the price tag at the dealer. It’s worth considering how much you drive, how long you plan to own a car, and other factors that determine how much a vehicle will cost you over time. 

Reporting credit: Sarah Kennedy/ChavoBart Digital Media