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Any given EV, such as the Ford F-150 Lightning,  is bound to have better gas mileage/fuel economy equivalent than its ICE counterpart. With gas prices expected to say high for at least another year or so, a cheaper fuel source is definitely worth considering. Even when taking EV battery production into account, EVs also create less pollution.

Of course, some EVs are still much better than others regarding fuel economy. Sticking with a smaller EV, such as the Tesla Model 3, will probably be smarter for your wallet in the long run.

How do we measure the fuel economy of EVs?

We use MPGe (or miles per gallon equivalent) to measure how much electricity a vehicle needs to travel. According to KBB, the EPA determined that one gallon of fuel equates to 33.7 kWh of electricity. 

Drivers often don’t realize that a high MPGe rating doesn’t always mean an above-average range. Think of it as a way to measure how well an EV uses that electricity to operate in terms of overall performance. 

Blue Grass Auto also points out that MPGe ratings have some estimating involved. Your MPGe rating will vary based on your driving behavior, how much cargo you’ve got on board, and your charging method.

While the same estimations apply to gas-operated cars, mpg is far easier for most drivers to quantify. It’s simply how many miles you can drive divided by how much gas you’ll need to drive those miles. Looking exclusively at an EV’s range won’t always give you the best idea of your fuel savings.

Most EVs are capable of at least 100 MPGe, which looks far preferable to the double-digit mpg ratings of ICE cars. This makes it harder for the average buyer to choose which EV would save them the most money on fuel. To judge an EV’s true efficiency, KBB says it’s better to examine an EV’s total ownership costs

How much MPGe does the Tesla Model 3 earn?

The Tesla Model 3 RWD’s official EPA rating is 132 MPGe. That’s one of the best ratings of the entire lineup, and it also gets 267 miles of range.

Ford says that the F-150 Lightning Platinum trim is capable of 300 miles of electric range, yet it only earns 66 MPGe. Lower MPGe ratings indicate that the truck’s battery might not use electricity efficiently enough to get its maximum range. 

In contrast, the base Ford F-150 Lightning makes a 68 MPGe. While this model only has 230 estimated miles of range, you’re more likely to actually get that many miles from a full charge.

What’s holding this electric pickup from getting its maximum range? For one thing, Edmunds tells us that the F-150 Lightning trim has a maximum towing capacity of 10,000 pounds. Pulling that weight will require more electricity than driving without a trailer attached.

The F-150 Lightning Platinum trim is also capable of 563 hp and 775 lb-ft of torque, making it faster than many other trucks. The Tesla Model 3 also boasts a lot of horsepower that could affect its mileage. However, since the Model 3 weighs less, it generally requires less electricity to accelerate and operate.

These upcoming heavyweight EVs could have even worse MPGe ratings

A blue 2022 Ford F-150 Lightning Platinum electric pickup truck driving through a city
2022 Ford F-150 Lightning Platinum |

Ford F-150 Lightning Ownership Costs Calculated: Electricity vs Gasoline

Larger EVs, such as the Cadillac Lyriq and GMC Hummer EV, also boast range estimates of over 300 miles. However, given that the Lyriq can weigh nearly as much as the F-150 Lightning, its MPGe rating might be equally disappointing. Ford’s EV weighs over 6,000 pounds, so we shudder to think how poor the Hummer EV’s MPGe will be at 9,063 pounds.

If misleading range estimates don’t throw you off, the elevated price tags of big EVs probably will. According to Car and Driver, you could end up paying over $90,000 for a Ford F-150 Lightning Platinum. The Tesla Model 3 retails for a mere $40,390 before destination fees and taxes.

You’re still almost guaranteed to save more money with an F-150 Lightning compared to the regular F-150. However, if you want an EV and don’t require as much brute strength, a smaller sedan will maximize your savings.