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Tailpipe Tally · 5 October 05

The Environmental Defense Fund has a tool called tailpipe tally to help evaluate your vehicle’s fuel costs and emissions against other cars, including the latest hybrids. This was made back when gas was almost free at $1.92/gallon, so multiply the gas price by 1.5.

Fuel Tally

I ran the numbers for Eve, back in her fossil fuel period, pitted against the latest Ford Mustang and a couple of hybrids. This calculates the cost of driving 8000 miles over a year, which I figure is on the high end for my normal commute.

Eve didn’t have a catalytic converter, so compared to less efficient, newer vehicles she’s a real smoker. Best to have her off the road and going through a 12 step EV program.

As a rough comparison my first EV used to cost about 25-35 cents a day to charge. Back then I was commuting around 12 miles round trip (all uphill!) in a heavier EV. Using the same 8,000 miles for comparison that works out to $166-$233 in electricity for a year. Add in the cost of batteries amortized over three years and we’re looking at around $575/yr “fuel” costs. But no oil changes, tuneups, mufflers, air filters, anti-freeze, etc…

The calculations use MPG ratings from fueleconomy.gov but they don’t mention if it’s the user contributed ratings or what the manufacture claims. In either case I would expect to get worse results than what is shown. Commuting a short distance in the city doesn’t allow the car to warm up sufficiently which nets lower mpg and higher emissions.

It would be interesting to run a worst case MPG test. Put a gallon of gas in a vehicle and then start, drive one mile, and stop. See how many times this can be done before the gallon is used up.