Electric Car Maintenance vs Gas: Which is Cheaper?

With electric cars becoming more popular and available, you may be wondering if they are cheaper to own than your standard gas-powered cars. The purchase price of an electric car, although higher than your average gas-powered car, has started to become more affordable as newer models get released. Energy costs are also lower with an electric car as the rising cost of gasoline fuel continues to convince more drivers to make the switch. The real savings with an electric car, however, can actually be seen when looking at electric car maintenance costs versus gas. With fewer moving parts and less routine maintenance services like oil changes needed for an electric car compared to a gas-powered car, electric cars can save you a lot of money on maintenance in the long run. Combined with incentives like a $7500 federal tax credit on electric vehicles, electric cars may actually be more affordable to own than a gas-powered car. Whichever type of car you drive, CarAdvise will help you save on all of your maintenance costs.

Let’s break down the maintenance costs of both an electric car and a gas-powered car so that we can compare them and see the relative savings value.


Electric Car Maintenance Costs

A study from a predictive analytics firm called We Predict looked at the maintenance service costs of over 13 million 2018 model vehicles over their first 3 years of ownership. The study looked at repairs, maintenance, diagnostics, software updates and recalls. What they found is that maintenance service costs for electric cars for the first 3 years is only $77 on average. This can be attributed to the lack of certain routine maintenance items being needed compared to those of a gas-powered car such as oil changes, fluid checks, and oil filter changes. After the initial 3 year period, the average cost per service for an electric vehicle becomes $514. As more parts need to be maintained and replaced after the 3 year mark, labor and diagnostic costs increase for electric cars. The study also notes that repair bills for electric cars were 22% less on average than those of their gas-powered counterparts.

The findings of the study coincide with those of a 2021 Department of Energy report that estimated the cost of electric vehicle maintenance to be 6.1 cents per mile.


Combustion Engine Vehicle Maintenance Costs

The same study from We Predict saw that maintenance costs for combustion engine vehicles was substantially higher than for electric vehicles. For the first 3 years of ownership, gas-powered cars required $228 for maintenance on average, compared to just $77 for electric vehicles. After the 3 year mark, the cost of an average maintenance service is 31% higher for gas-powered cars than for electric ones – $749 compared to $514. Since gas-powered cars contain many more mechanical components than electric cars do, there are more parts to maintain, resulting in higher costs for the first 3 years. When some of these mechanical components need replacing after around the 3 year mark, such as spark plugs, shocks and struts, or various fluids, replacement parts and labor will drive up the cost. With the electrical components that make up most of the inner workings of electric cars, there are often higher labor costs associated with maintenance and repair, but since these parts need complete replacement less often, the average service cost is lower. When it comes to car repair, gas-powered cars tend to cost 22% more than electric cars.

The 2021 Department of Energy report aligns with the findings of this study. Research from the Department of Energy shows gas-powered car maintenance costs amount to 10.1 cents per mile, 4 cents more than the electric cars’ 6.1 cents per mile cost.


Electric Car vs. Gas Maintenance Costs

Below is a side-by-side comparison of the maintenance costs for electric cars and gas-powered cars:


energy costs for gas and electric cars


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