One graph that shows both the benefits and costs of owning an electric vehicle

Alert reader Richard Grossman noticed a fascinating graph included in a New York Times article by Lisa Friedman published Jan 20, 2021, and entitled “ClimateFwd: How Trump’s Legacy Gets Undone.” The thrust of the article was an itemization of the actions the Biden Administration will take to reverse some of the anti-environmental policies of the Trump Administration, but the author also took pains to point out that the cost of EV ownership has already reached parity with the cost of owning a comparable conventional car, as long as one considered the full “life-cycle” costs (fuel, repairs, insurance, etc.). Note that gas-powered cars have a price range completely overlapping those of EVs, though you can spend more on a gas-powered car than you can on an BEV or hybrid.

Unlike most cost comparisons, this one also portrays the emissions benefits of driving an EV. Although the graph was not explained in the article, it presumably reflects full “life-cycle” emissions and costs. I presume that they had some sort of time horizon for emissions, as some emissions (e.g., methane released during the production of gasoline) are short-lived and therefore not directly comparable to CO2 emissions, which are essentially permanent (eventually dissolve into the world’s oceans, but remain present and will return to the atmosphere if the carbon in the air is ever reduced).