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There’s no doubt that electric vehicles (EVs) are the wave of the future, and Tesla is leading the charge. Aside from stellar performance, the main reason anyone would buy a Tesla is to reap the benefits of buying electricity over gas to save money and the environment. However, one new Tesla Model 3 owner found out that using the automaker’s Supercharger network can cost more than buying gasoline.

The Tesla Model 3 owner found that supercharging can cost more than pumping gas

The Tesla Model 3, like this one, has one of the cheapest costs to own for any luxury car.
Tesla Model 3 | Tesla

Converting the number of kilowatt hours (kWh), it takes to charge a Tesla Model 3 into the equivalent gas cost is tough. Fortunately, the Tesla app shows its owners a chart showing the savings being made, reports Auto Evolution. Unfortunately for the Tesla Model 3 owner (who was not named), the cost of a kWh at Tesla’s superchargers is $0.58, which is up from $0.25 only a year and a half ago.

According to the data collected by the Model 3 owner’s Tesla app, the difference between the total amount spent on electricity versus the equivalent gas cost was $4. The Tesla owner only used 79 kWh and only charged at Tesla Supercharger stations. However, the total cost meant that filling up a car with gas would have cost less. Of course, if the Model 3 owner used other Level 2 charging stations, the cost to charge up would have been cheaper overall.

Tesla Supercharging breakdown chart as posted by the Tesla Model 3 owner on Reddit.
Tesla Supercharging breakdown chart as posted by the Tesla Model 3 owner on Reddit. | Reddit/Auto Evolution

What can we learn from this Model 3 owner?

While Tesla’s Supercharger stations are prevalent around the U.S., they can cost an average of $0.30 per kWh. That doesn’t sound like much, but it adds up quickly. Fortunately, there are cheaper ways to charge a Tesla or any EV for that matter. However, owning and charging an EV is most cost-effective if the owner has the means to charge the car up at home.

That means many Americans living in apartments might still have difficulty charging their electric vehicles. In that case, careful planning is to prevent any range anxiety. We know this first hand from the recent 2022 BMW i4 we tested for a week. Its short range, combined with the lack of a home charging station or electrical outlet, made for a week of planning where to charge and when.

Are there places to charge an electric car for free?

A Tesla Model 3 battery charging at a Tesla Supercharger station in Beijing, China
A Tesla Model 3 charging | Kuang Da/JIEMIAN NEWS/VCG via Getty Images

Tesla Will Make Supercharger Adapters for Non-Tesla Electric Cars

Yes, many electric charging stations from Electrify America and ChargePoint offer free Level 2 charging for EVs. The only caveat is that these chargers charge slower than Level 3 chargers, so a couple of hours spent charging the car could only yield around 45 miles added to the overall range.

Of course, you could technically leave the electric car charging for multiple hours to regain a nearly full battery. However, that would be in poor form since you would be taking up charging space for other EV owners. It would also take a long time, depending on your EV, but at least it would be cheaper than pumping gas.