A battle is emerging in the world of transportation – the electric vehicle (EV) vs. the internal combustion engine (ICE). Soon you’ll have to choose sides, so it’s vital that you’re fully informed.
We’re here to help with that decision by offering context to consumers, whether you’ve never been near an EV or if you’re an expert. Below is breakdown of how far you can travel in each state on $100 in an EV vs. an ICE vehicle.
Table of contents
- What offers more distance for your buck? EVs vs. ICE vehicles
- How the data was gathered
- Other factors to consider in EV vs. ICE equations
- EV vs. ICE: How far can you travel for $100?
- Charging a 50 kWh battery at home (AC Level 1 and Level 2)
- Charging a 50 kWh battery via DC Fast Charger (DCFC)
- What state can you travel the furthest in with an ICE vehicle?
- What state(s) can you travel the furthest in an EV?
- Home charging (Level 1 and Level 2)
- DC Fast Charging (Tesla Supercharger/Third party networks)
- Which vehicle will get you further? EV vs. ICE
What offers more distance for your buck? EVs vs. ICE vehicles
While the percentage of market share held by EVs continues to grow, ICE vehicles remain the dominant form of transportation following more than a century of smoggy tradition.
Our goal at Electrek is not only to share the latest EV news with you, but to ensure you understand any and all of the potential benefits associated with a switch to a zero emission vehicle.
In this edition, we will offer a new lens in the United States, showcasing how far you can travel in a given state on $100 in an EV vs. how far $100 will get you in a traditional ICE vehicle.
Using a library of government data, we have been able to calculate and compile the average costs for gasoline, electricity, and travel in each state based on a number of factors. Here’s how we worked it out.
How the data was gathered
To begin, it’s important to point out that this data is approximate, and is only meant to give readers a broad perspective of the sort of money you could be saving for huge distances you can travel with an EV.
To compare EV data vs. ICE vehicles, we chose to analyze the world’s most popular EV, the 2021 Tesla Model 3, and put it side by side against the best-selling car in the US, the 2021 Toyota RAV4.
Technically, the Ford F-150 pickup is the best-selling ICE vehicle in the US by a long shot, but for the sake of comparing similarly sized vehicles, we did not include the pickup.
The average gas prices were gathered from AAA and are up to date at the time of this posting.
The average electricity prices were gathered from the US Energy Information Administration (EIA) and have been updated as of May 2021.
For the data calculated below, we used the 2021 Standard Range Plus Model 3 with a 50 kWh battery and an estimated range of 263 miles.
Other factors to consider in EV vs. ICE equations
Remember, these charts of data are compiled around one single EV model vs. one ICE model, so many of these numbers could change depending on a number of factors.
It’s important to note that efficiency is a large factor in EV charging as it pertains to the amount of energy required to fully charge a battery. Since charging efficiency usually lands between 80%-90% when charging at home, we accounted for an 85% charging efficiency in our calculations.
DC Fast Chargers are usually much more efficient – between 90%-99%, so we accounted for a 95% charging efficiency. If none of this makes any sense, we already have a detailed guide about Tesla charging at your disposal, so have a read!
DCFC charger networks like Superchargers also don’t always pull commercial energy rates, some even charge by the minute instead of per kWh, and vary on peak times. Since we do not have specific rates, we again are using state averages.
Another factor not accounted for in terms of charging an EV at home is time of use (TOU). This is the method of measuring and charging your energy consumption based on when the energy is used. Utility companies charge more at peak times of day when electricity use is higher.
That said, you can save money by charging during off-peak hours. For the sake of this EV vs. ICE comparison, we are simply using the average cost of electricity per state.
For more information about TOU and the different levels of charging listed below, check out these resources:
- Electric vehicle (EV) charging standards and how they differ
- Tesla Supercharger Guide
- How long does it take to charge a Tesla?
EV vs. ICE: How far can you travel for $100?
To begin our EV vs. ICE travel comparison, we looked at the prices of regular unleaded gasoline in each state, and calculated how many gallons of fuel $100 will get you.
We then multiplied that number by the 30 combined MPG estimated on the 2021 Toyota RAV4, to approximate how far that will truly can get you.
How far will $100 get you in a gasoline powered ICE vehicle?
|State||Avg. Gasoline Cost
|District of Columbia||$3.251||30.76||922.8|
Charging a 50 kWh battery at home (AC Level 1 and Level 2)
Calculating the number of miles on an EV like the Standard Range Plus Model 3 is a bit more complicated.
First, we took the average residential cost of electricity per state, and multiplied it by the 50 kWh size of the Model 3 battery to calculate the cost of fully charging from 0-100%.
(By the way, you shouldn’t let your battery get down to 0%, nor should you charge all the way to 100% unless you’re heading out on a long trip and plan to leave shortly after hitting full capacity.)
We also accounted for the aforementioned 85% charging efficiency, then divided by the 263 miles of estimated range on the RWD Model 3.
Once we found out cost per mile, we were able to approximate how many miles you can get out of your EV for $100 worth of electricity. Spoiler alert: EVs go WAY further.
See for yourself:
|State||Avg. Residential Electricity
Cost (cents per kWh)
|Cost to Charge
EV 0-100% (85%
|District of Columbia||$0.134||$7.88||$0.030||3,333.3|
Charging a 50 kWh battery via DC Fast Charger (DCFC)
This chart uses the same calculations outlined above, but utilizes commercial electricity rates and accounts for a better charging efficiency at 95%.
Note – Tesla and other third party DCFC networks change their fees frequently in addition to night time cost reductions in many areas. with that said, it is harder to pinpoint exact electricity costs, so we have added $0.10 kWh surcharge for each state.
In terms of EV vs. ICE distance on $100, the EV still mops the floor with its gas-dependent competitor:
|State||Avg. Commercial Electricity
Cost (cents per kWh)
|Cost to Charge
EV 0-100% (95%
|District of Columbia||$0.227||$11.95||$0.045||2,222.2|
What state can you travel the furthest in with an ICE vehicle?
If you’re looking to fill up your ICE car on the cheap and drive as far as you can, you’re going to want to do it in Mississippi.
At $2.77 per gallon on average, Mississippi offers the most combustion for your buck. In fact, for $100, you can pump about 36 gallons of gasoline.
In a 2021 Toyota RAV4, that will get you 1,080 miles of range. That’s 130 more miles than the average range in the US.
Given that the entire state of Mississippi is only 340 miles long and 170 miles wide, you may need to visit another state with all that range.
For $100, you can drive from Hattiesburg, Mississippi to New Orleans, and all the way up to Chicago, although there are probably better ways to spend 15 hours.
Here are some of the most affordable and least affordable states for ICE vehicles:
- Most affordable states for driving an ICE vehicle
- Least affordable states
What state(s) can you travel the furthest in an EV?
The more appropriate answer is “all of them.” At least when comparing an EV vs. an ICE vehicle.
That being said, there are some states that offer better deals on electricity on average, whether it’s at home or at a fast charger.
It’s important to reiterate that these are just state averages, and you most certainly can pay less (or more) to charge your EV, depending on the Level of charger and TOU.
Home charging (Level 1 and Level 2)
When charging at home, there appears to be a tie between Idaho, Utah, and Washington for the top spot.
For $100 in any of those states, you can charge a Tesla Standard Range Plus EV enough to travel nearly 4,350 miles. That’s enough range to travel from Utah, up to Idaho, over to Washington state, and back to Utah… twice!
Here are the top states that will let you go the furthest in your EV on $100 worth of electricity:
- Most affordable states to charge at home
- Arkansas, Montana, Nevada (tie)
- Least affordable states to charge your EV at home
- Rhode Island
DC Fast Charging (Tesla Supercharger/Third party networks)
When charging in public on a DC Fast Charger such as a Tesla Supercharger, Nevada is the top spot.
For $100 of DC power pulled straight from the grid, a Tesla Model 3 Standard Range Plus can travel an unreal range of 2,941 miles. That’s nearly 700 miles more than the national average.
For additional context, the longest straight-line distance across the continental US is 2,802 miles from Florida to Washington State.
Here’s how the rest of the states stacked up:
- Most affordable states to use a DCFC
- Idaho, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania (tie)
- Missouri, Texas, Utah (tie)
- Least affordable states to charge an EV on a DCFC
- New Hampshire
Which vehicle will get you further? EV vs. ICE
The data doesn’t lie. Even with state averages and approximating charging efficiencies, without considering TOU, electric vehicles destroy ICE vehicles in range for $100.
According to EIA data, $100 will get ICE drivers 950 miles of range on average in the US. Charging your EV at home can you get nearly 3.5 times that on average, and charging on a more efficient Supercharger will get an EV almost 2.5 times more range vs an ICE vehicle.
Gas and electricity prices vary by state, but when comparing a Tesla Model 3 EV to a gasoline powered Toyota RAV4, the EV is going to drive cheaper laps around the ICE vehicle, no matter where you are.
Maybe it’s time to truly consider switching to zero emissions? Our Tesla pricing guide is always a great place to start.
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