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Only $1.14 per Gallon?

By Michael P. Tremoglie

NEW YORK (MainStreet) -- The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced last month the launching of the "eGallon" - a tool that will compare the costs of fueling electric vehicles (EVs) to fueling gasoline-powered ones. According to the report, the national average eGallon price is about $1.14.

This means that an EV can travel as far on $1.14 worth of electricity as a conventional vehicle on a gallon of gasoline. The tool also does state by state comparisons as well. So while everyone can currently calculate how much it costs to go to work with a conventional vehicle - now EV drivers will be able to calculate their costs.

"Consumers can see gasoline prices posted at the corner gas station, but are left in the dark on the cost of fueling an electric vehicle," Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz said in the communiqué announcing the calculator. "The eGallon will bring greater transparency to vehicle operating costs and help drivers figure out how much they might save on fuel by choosing an electric vehicle. It also shows the low and steady price of fueling with electricity. Not only can electric vehicles save consumers on fuel and reduce our dependence on oil, they also represent an opportunity for America to lead in a growing, global manufacturing industry."

The DOE says that the electric costs are more stable than gasoline prices because of the difference between the global oil market and electricity generating costs. The price of electric generation is steadier than the fluctuating oil market.

According to DOE, EV sales in the U.S. tripled in 2012. More than 50,000 EVs were sold last year, and sales are growing significantly again in 2013. The increase is ascribed to significant cost reductions and improvements in vehicle performance.

The DOE also noted that the Chevy Volt was highly rated by the Consumer Reports annual owner-satisfaction survey for the second straight year and that the Tesla Model S was awarded the 2013 Motor Trend Car of the Year.

The eGallon is calculated by determining how much it would cost to drive an electric vehicle the same distance as a similar conventional vehicle could travel on a gallon of gasoline. The DOE takes the average distance that a gasoline-powered vehicle can go per gallon - which is 28.2 miles for comparable 2012 model year cars - and then calculates how much it would cost to drive the average EV that same distance.