Tesla Sales Spike Alongside Record High Gas Prices. Is It Really Cheaper to Charge?

With gas prices at an all-time high, it feels like a great time to look into purchasing an electric vehicle. Apparently, there are a lot of people who think this way. As crude oil prices continue to rise, so does the number of folks ordering Tesla EVs.

Tesla sees a massive order surge in parts of the country with the highest gas prices.

A red Tesla Model Y is driving on the road.
The Tesla Model Y | Tesla

According to Electrek, the continuously rising price of gasoline is driving massive sales volumes to Tesla. It seems that folks in a position to purchase a new car are liking the odds of saving money at the pumps by avoiding them altogether.

Electrek’s post states that they received information stating that Tesla sales surged upwards of 100 percent last week compared to the previous week. Despite the fact that over 80 percent of electric vehicles on U.S. streets are Teslas, the recent surge isn’t just a result of a rapidly growing country. Instead, regions of the country most affected by the gas price hikes are the regions purchasing the most Teslas.

Unfortunately for them, though, the turnaround time on Teslas orders is not nearly as fast as the cars themselves. New orders for the EV giant’s entry-level sedan model, the Model 3, are not expected to arrive until July 2022. Furthermore, the Model Y, Tesla’s mid-size SUV that also carries a relatively attainable price tag, is currently on pace for delivery in September 2022. Electrek states that a new Tesla production facility opening in Texas may increase production rates. However, buyers looking to get into a Tesla immediately are going to have to spring toward the used market.

Is charging an EV cheaper than buying gas?

A Tesla Model X EV charging at a Tesla electric charging station of driving range miles
A Tesla Model X charging | Robert Nickelsberg/Getty Images

This question is quite loaded because of the varying cost of electricity everywhere. Whether you’re charging at home or at public charging stations, prices vary from state to state and even from parking lot to parking lot. However, there is a bit of insight on this topic.

Back in May 2020, Car and Driver did some real-world research to find a definitive answer to this question. To do so, they put four vehicles to the test. A standard Mini Cooper pitted against its electric Mini counterpart and a pair of Hyundai Konas; one hybrid and one electric.

For gasoline numbers, they used the February 2020 average gas price of $2.44 for regular gasoline and $3.11 for premium. Assuming those prices remain constant and the vehicles travel 15,000 miles annually, the cost to fill a standard Mini Cooper with premium gasoline for three years came out to $4,478. Additionally, the Hyundai Kona hybrid needs $3,623 to meet the same mileage threshold over three years.

Considering the same mileage with an average charging cost of 22 cents per minute at a rate of 50 kilowatts at public charging stations, the electric Mini total came in at $1,939. Furthermore, the electric Kona needed just $1,723.

Using this data, the average annual savings of charging an EV versus filling a gasoline-powered car comes in at $739. Keep in mind that is assuming those gas prices that we could only dream of at this point in time.

Additionally, if you have a 220-volt outlet at home and can charge your car without using public stations, Investopedia says it costs as little as $30 per month for standard everyday use.

Should you buy an EV now to save money on gas?

A Tesla dealership with a lineup of Model S vehicles in Shanghai, China
A Tesla dealership with a lineup of Model S vehicles | JOHANNES EISELE/AFP via Getty Images

Ultimately, springing to buying a different car because of current inflated gas prices may be a bit drastic. However, if you’re already in the market for a new car, it’s definitely something worth considering. 

Of course, if you are considering buying a Tesla, you may want to consider shopping used. That is unless you’re prepared to wait between four and six months for a brand new one. 

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