Electric, diesel or hybrid car? Cost and CO2 calculator helps consumers choose

Nov 18, 2010 By Susan Carpenter

As the Environmental Protection Agency struggles with how to accurately label passenger vehicles for fuel economy and greenhouse-gas emissions, a new online cost and CO2 emissions calculator has launched to help fill the void.

"Electrics, hybrids, plug-ins, all these alternative powertrain cars are a hot topic these days, but there's not a good way to look at the bottom line of what it costs to own one of these," said Jon Lal, founder of BeFrugal.com, a frugal-living website that offers tools to help consumers save money, including its new calculator.

The calculator (at http://www.befrugal.com/tools/electric-car-calculator/) allows consumers to first determine which type of alternative-drivetrain vehicle best suits their driving needs based on what state they live in, how many city and highway miles they drive, how many road trips they take each year (and at what distance) and in their state, whether it be electricity, gas or diesel.

Using its database of 64 vehicles (four electric, eight diesel, 13 hybrid and 39 popular gas-powered cars) the calculator then allows users to make side-by-side comparisons using EPA miles-per-gallon data, manufacturers' suggested retail prices and other factors.

Electric car operating costs are translated into an mpg equivalent, or MPGe, using individual states' electricity costs as calculated by the U.S. Department of Energy. Electric cars' upstream are also calculated using DOE data on the electricity source for each state.

According to BeFrugal.com, Washington, Idaho, Kentucky, West Virginia and Arkansas are the states with the lowest electricity rates, making most economical on a cost-per-mile basis. Vermont, Idaho, Washington, Oregon and New Hampshire are the best states in terms of electric cars' lowest upstream per kilowatt-hour.

The top two states for electric cars' lowest operating costs and greenhouse-gas emissions: Idaho and Washington.

Explore further: Why your laptop battery won't kill you

3 /5 (2 votes)
add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

UC Davis Will Study Users of New Plug-in Hybrid Cars

Oct 30, 2007

The latest green car goes under the UC Davis microscope today: a hybrid sedan modified to recharge from a standard 110-volt electric outlet. It can travel as far as 20 miles on batteries before drinking a drop of gasoline, ...

Pricing can cut CO2 emissions from electric generators

Apr 28, 2008

Levying a price on carbon dioxide released by electric generators could considerably reduce greenhouse gas emissions — even before the deployment of any environmentally friendly technology — according to scientists in ...

New Cost Tool Helps Fleet Managers Evaluate Hybrid Vehicles

Aug 04, 2005

A new software tool that compares the costs and emissions of hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs) to conventional vehicles is now available for government and business fleet managers interested in reducing fuel costs and protecting ...

Obama to unveil new vehicle emission policy

May 21, 2010

US President Barack Obama will unveil a new national policy on fuel efficiency and vehicle emissions Friday, including support to develop electric cars, the White House said.

Recommended for you

Why your laptop battery won't kill you

6 hours ago

News on Tuesday that major U.S. airlines are no longer going to ship powerful lithium-ion batteries might lead some to fret about the safety of their personal electronic devices.

New incubator network to help clean-energy entrepreneurs

11 hours ago

The Energy Department's National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) and the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) have launched the Clean Energy Incubator Network. The program, funded by the Energy Department, aims to ...

Can we track the world's nuclear weapons?

13 hours ago

The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists has unveiled an interactive infographic that tracks the number and history of nuclear weapons in the nine nuclear weapon states: the United States, Russia, the United Kingdom, France, C ...

Towards dust-free wood combustion

14 hours ago

About 15 million wood-fired stoves and combustion systems exist in Germany, including central-heating boilers for apartment houses. They are subject to strict clean air regulations. New wood-fired boilers ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.