Electric Cars vs. Gas Cars: Which One is Cheaper in the Long Run?

The automotive industry has witnessed a paradigm shift in recent years, with the emergence of Electric Vehicles (EVs) as a promising alternative to Gas Vehicles (GVs). As environmental concerns grow and technological advancements continue, the debate over which type of vehicle to choose becomes increasingly important. This article aims to provide a comprehensive comparison between Electric cars vs Gas cars, focusing on economic considerations for the long run.

electric vehicles vs gas cars
Source: Visual Capitalist

Environmental Impact 

According to a study by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) on climate change, electric vehicles are considered to be more environmentally friendly than gas vehicles. EVs produce fewer greenhouse gas emissions during operation, as they rely on electricity rather than gasoline. 

The energy source for EVs plays a crucial role in determining their environmental impact. In regions where electricity generation is dominated by renewable sources, such as solar and wind, EVs have a significantly lower carbon footprint. Gas vehicles, on the other hand, emit carbon dioxide (CO2) and other pollutants directly from their tailpipes. These emissions contribute to air pollution and are a major factor in global climate change. The Pew Research Center reports that Americans are increasingly recognizing the importance of EVs in mitigating climate change, with a growing percentage of the population viewing them favorably.

ev vs gvs

Fueling Costs 

EVs: One of the most compelling advantages of EVs is their lower fueling costs. Electricity is generally cheaper than gasoline on a per-mile basis. Moreover, home charging allows EV owners to take advantage of lower off-peak electricity rates, making their overall fueling expenses even more economical. 

GVs: Gasoline prices can be volatile, subject to geopolitical factors and global demand. While fuel-efficient gas vehicles can save money compared to less efficient counterparts, the overall fueling cost tends to be higher than that of electric vehicles. 

Maintenance and Repairs 

EVs: Electric vehicles have fewer moving parts than gas vehicles, translating to lower maintenance requirements. There is no need for oil changes, transmission servicing, or exhaust system repairs. Additionally, regenerative braking in EVs extends brake life. Although battery maintenance is a consideration, modern EV batteries are designed for longevity. 

GVs: Gas vehicles have more complex engines that require routine maintenance, including oil changes, air filter replacements, and exhaust system repairs. These maintenance tasks can accumulate over time, leading to higher costs. 

Incentives and Subsidies 

EVs: Many governments around the world offer incentives and subsidies to encourage the adoption of electric vehicles. These can include tax credits, rebates, reduced registration fees, and access to carpool lanes. These incentives significantly lower the initial cost of EV ownership. 

GVs: Gas vehicles typically do not enjoy the same level of incentives as electric vehicles. Government subsidies for gas vehicles are limited, usually focused on fuel efficiency rather than ownership itself. 

Depreciation and Resale Value 

EVs: Historically, electric vehicles have experienced higher rates of depreciation compared to gas vehicles. However, as EV technology improves, their resale values are becoming more competitive. The influx of used EVs onto the market is leading to increased consumer confidence in buying pre-owned electric vehicles. 

GVs: Gas vehicles tend to have higher resale values due to their established presence in the market. However, depreciation rates can vary depending on factors such as make, model, and overall condition.

Long-Term Economic Benefits

 The long-term economic benefits of choosing between EVs and gas vehicles are noteworthy. EVs are often seen as a wise investment for the future, as they provide a hedge against rising fuel prices. Gasoline prices are subject to volatility due to global geopolitical events, while electricity prices tend to be more stable. 

Government incentives and subsidies for EVs further sweeten the deal. Many countries offer tax credits, rebates, and reduced registration fees for EV owners. These incentives can significantly reduce the effective cost of an EV and make it a more economical choice in the long run. 

Resale value is another aspect to consider. As consumer preferences shift towards sustainable transportation, the demand for used EVs is expected to increase, potentially leading to higher resale values compared to gas vehicles.

Public Perception and Adoption 

EVs: According to a study conducted by Pew Research Center, Americans are increasingly viewing electric vehicles positively2. The study reveals that a majority of Americans recognize the environmental benefits of EVs and are open to the idea of owning one. As charging infrastructure improves and battery technology advances, the appeal of EVs is likely to grow even stronger. 

GVs: Gas vehicles have a long-established presence in the market, but there is a growing awareness of their negative impact on the environment. As public sentiment shifts towards sustainability, the automotive industry is facing pressure to innovate and produce cleaner alternatives.


Here’s a table highlighting the long-term economic feasibility of EVs versus GVs:


Electric Vehicles (EVs)

Gas Vehicles (GVs)

Initial Purchase Price



Fuel/Charging Costs



Maintenance Costs



Resale Value

Generally Competitive

Dependent on Model

Environmental Incentives



Total Cost of Ownership

Potentially Lower

Potentially Higher

In the battle between electric vehicles and gas vehicles, the former emerges as a frontrunner when considering environmental impact, evolving public perception, and long-term economic benefits. While initial purchase prices of EVs may be higher, the lower fuel and maintenance costs, combined with increasing resale value, make them a more economical choice over time. As charging infrastructure expands and battery technology improves, electric vehicles are poised to dominate the future of transportation, offering a cleaner and more sustainable way to navigate the roads.

Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is based on research available up to July 2023 and data from the provided sources. Readers are encouraged to explore the latest data and research to make informed decisions.

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