Electric powered vehicles may be fewer in number and pricier in their initial costs than their gasoline-powered counterparts.
But a new study released Tuesday suggests it costs less than a third as much in fuel to drive a battery-powered vehicle.
The U.S. Department of Energy announced Tuesday it has added a new "eGallon" web site -- a quick and simple way for consumers to compare the costs of fueling electric vehicles vs. driving on gasoline. In Tennessee, the eGallon price is about 97 cents, meaning that a typical electric vehicle could travel as far on 97 cents of electricity as a similar vehicle could travel on a gallon of gasoline, which now average $3.23 a gallon in Chattanooga.
"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," U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz said in a statement Tuesday. "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."
Sales of plug-in electric vehicles in the U.S. tripled in 2012, but the 50,000 electric-powered vehicles sold were only a fraction of the more than 15 million cars and trucks sold in the United States in 2012.