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Fuel/Maintenance Savings vs. reasonable expectations

Hi all! I recently ordered a Model 3 LR with estimated delivery in December. I am excited at the thought of getting away from ICE (currently drive an Audi S5) mainly because I cringe every time I am at the pump paying for premium fuel. It didn't bother me as much in recent years but after moving I drive at least 90 miles a day during the week and savings on fuel alone seems to be a no-brainer. My first question is how accurate did you find the fuel savings calculators online? When customizing my calculations with estimated electrical costs (assuming my charging is done at home which I plan to do) is close to $20K when factoring in my current vehicle eats up premium fuel at a pretty hefty rate. This does not account for the oil changes and other maintenance but am not oblivious to the fact that these costs will be offset by maintenance on the M3 LR (i.e., service, tires, etc) and increase in insurance premiums.

Although I am excited about cutting out the gas stations, I do not find myself completely in love with the M3 (yet). Anybody else have similar on the fence feelings and made the move to the M3 based on a dollars and sense standpoint but come to love the vehicle after taking ownership?

Thanks all.
 

Braumin

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Mar 5, 2021
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170
Canada
I don't drive as much as I did before Covid, so I don't have exact numbers to help you out here. My BMW 335i would use roughly $120/month in fuel per-pandemic. I am spending about $20/month in power now charging exclusively at home.

Our power rate (with tax included) is $0.15/kWh. My M3P with 5000 km on the odometer uses about 185 Wh/km on average. That works out to about 2.7 cents per km driven. My BMW was closer to 10 cents per km. Plus it of course needed oil changes and whatnot. But just focusing on movement alone it's about 1/3 the cost to drive my M3P vs my BMW 335i.

The savings are real. If I had a LR I am sure it would be even higher, but I like the performance way too much.
 

KenC

Active Member
Sep 4, 2018
3,949
3,643
Maine
Hi all! I recently ordered a Model 3 LR with estimated delivery in December. I am excited at the thought of getting away from ICE (currently drive an Audi S5) mainly because I cringe every time I am at the pump paying for premium fuel. It didn't bother me as much in recent years but after moving I drive at least 90 miles a day during the week and savings on fuel alone seems to be a no-brainer. My first question is how accurate did you find the fuel savings calculators online? When customizing my calculations with estimated electrical costs (assuming my charging is done at home which I plan to do) is close to $20K when factoring in my current vehicle eats up premium fuel at a pretty hefty rate. This does not account for the oil changes and other maintenance but am not oblivious to the fact that these costs will be offset by maintenance on the M3 LR (i.e., service, tires, etc) and increase in insurance premiums.

Although I am excited about cutting out the gas stations, I do not find myself completely in love with the M3 (yet). Anybody else have similar on the fence feelings and made the move to the M3 based on a dollars and sense standpoint but come to love the vehicle after taking ownership?

Thanks all.
You say, you'll save $20k in fuel? Over what timeframe, 15yrs?

If you want to save as much on fuel as possible, consider getting the most efficient model, which is the SR+. Having said that, the simplest calculation is just figuring out your cost per mile. In my LR-AWD, I get about the rated efficiency, ~245Wh/mile, so roughly 4 miles/kWh. Since my electricity is 15cents/mile, that works out to a little under 4cents/mile. My BMW is lucky to get 20mpg, and at $3 gas, that's 15cents/mile. So multiply the 11cent difference by 12k miles, and you get ~$1300 a year in fuel savings. As for the other stuff, maintenance on a 3 is cheaper than on any german vehicle even if oil changes are included for a few years. You use less brakes, so fewer pad and rotor changes. I'm not even sure I'll ever have to change pads. And, my insurance didn't change when switching from my BMW to the Tesla.

As for loving the vehicle, I had no doubts about the Model 3 being far more fun to drive than my BMW.
 
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You say, you'll save $20k in fuel? Over what timeframe, 15yrs?

If you want to save as much on fuel as possible, consider getting the most efficient model, which is the SR+. Having said that, the simplest calculation is just figuring out your cost per mile. In my LR-AWD, I get about the rated efficiency, ~245Wh/mile, so roughly 4 miles/kWh. Since my electricity is 15cents/mile, that works out to a little under 4cents/mile. My BMW is lucky to get 20mpg, and at $3 gas, that's 15cents/mile. So multiply the 11cent difference by 12k miles, and you get ~$1300 a year in fuel savings. As for the other stuff, maintenance on a 3 is cheaper than on any german vehicle even if oil changes are included for a few years. You use less brakes, so fewer pad and rotor changes. I'm not even sure I'll ever have to change pads. And, my insurance didn't change when switching from my BMW to the Tesla.

As for loving the vehicle, I had no doubts about the Model 3 being far more fun to drive than my BMW.
A couple different calculators I tried came up with a comparable figure. Seemed high which is why I asked the question. This past year I've been spending between $89 - $110 per week in fuel. Low end $90 x 52 = $4,680.00 in fuel. Multiple that by 5 years and it comes to $23,400.00 for fuel alone. I understand gas prices fluctuate and the calculator could have not calculated cost of electricity that I would be using at home. I also understand your calculation but have not paid attention to my actual miles enough to figure out.
 
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tm1v2

Member
Oct 18, 2021
575
404
USA
A couple different calculators I tried came up with a comparable figure. Seemed high which is why I asked the question. This past year I've been spending between $89 - $110 per week in fuel. Low end $90 x 52 = $4,680.00 in fuel. Multiple that by 5 years and it comes to $23,400.00 for fuel alone. I understand gas prices fluctuate and the calculator could have not calculated cost of electricity that I would be using at home. I also understand your calculation but have not paid attention to my actual miles enough to figure out.

What's your off-peak electricity rate, on whichever rate plan you would use if you get an EV?

It does seem like the fuel cost savings will add up quickly in your case. Enough to offset the cost of selling your used car for a brand new car? Maybe not, but it'll help. As long as you can charge at home, I think the total experience of daily driving an EV is vastly superior to an ICE car. With your 90+ miles/day you should do this switch!
 
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What's your off-peak electricity rate, on whichever rate plan you would use if you get an EV?

It does seem like the fuel cost savings will add up quickly in your case. Enough to offset the cost of selling your used car for a brand new car? Maybe not, but it'll help. As long as you can charge at home, I think the total experience of daily driving an EV is vastly superior to an ICE car. With your 90+ miles/day you should do this switch!
10.4¢/kWh. No, it will not offset it completely especially considering my car is paid off; however, my S5 has 75,000 miles on it and is no longer under warranty. Best case scenario I keep the car for another 12 months and will continue to drastically depreciate with the miles I'm now putting on per year. As of today, I can get a little over $27,500 selling to Carmax. When taking that off the purchase price (assuming numbers stay the same by the time I take delivery) then remaining price tag is offset considerably with estimated fuel savings. If we were in a perfect world I would just run my car into the ground but we aren't and aging S5's are not cheap to maintain and operate. And did I mention I get nauseous every time I pay for premium fuel now...such a joke.

Thank you for your insight.
 
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Yeah, I'm up in St. Augustine, $0.10/kWh, and I've been actually using 80% as my charging efficiency, so just like @Jeremy3292's calc above, that puts a "full tank" at ~$9.84

Now as to mileage, that's car (model, tires, etc.)+ driving habits + environment/weather.

I did some review of costs, distances, etc., just last week, and at 2134 miles (since June '21), I've spent right around $57 for charging. That's with a few trips ending at locations with free charging (at least, included with parking), and a few very low to "full" charges at the SuC that's about 7 miles away, using my free Supercharger miles (1000 with the car using a referral link).
 
Yeah, I'm up in St. Augustine, $0.10/kWh, and I've been actually using 80% as my charging efficiency, so just like @Jeremy3292's calc above, that puts a "full tank" at ~$9.84
There's a lot of consternation on here about what is the correct % to use for charger losses as it also varies by type of charger used. I feel 85% is plenty conservative enough as some say the inefficiency is only 10% or less. At the end of the day, you are just trying to get a good estimate IMO. 👍
 
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There's a lot of consternation on here about what is the correct % to use for charger losses as it also varies by type of charger used. I feel 85% is plenty conservative enough as some say the inefficiency is only 10% or less. At the end of the day, you are just trying to get a good estimate IMO. 👍

Yeah, I figure there's not a ton of cost difference, just pick one and consider it your "worst case" calculation :)
 

jjrandorin

Moderator, Model 3, Tesla Energy Forums
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One of the problems with asking this type of question online, is that there is usually someone who will start doing things like quoting "Average cost per gallon in the US is $2.XX and all of a sudden, everyone drives a 40-50 MPG vehicle in their eyes. Then, they start talking about California Electricity rates, and will end up saying "See, a gas car is actually cheaper!"

While I dont believe the calculators online, you can ballpark it yourself, with info in this thread. OP, one thing I am going to remind you, is that you said you spend $4860 a year in fuel currently. So, if your electricity bill goes up 2k for the year from what it is now, you are saving 50% over your gas car.

A lot of times, people buy an EV, then after a month end up here on this website saying something like: "WTF?!?! My electric bill DOUBLED (from 120 a month to 240 a month or something), I thought this was cheaper?!?!!?!??!?"

Somehow forgetting that they are not paying for gas any longer, and that has to be taken in the equation. I only mention it, because its entirely possible for you to save 50% over your S5, yet have your electric bill for the year go up $2400 (or 200 more a month than you pay now) and both of those things can be true.
 
One of the problems with asking this type of question online, is that there is usually someone who will start doing things like quoting "Average cost per gallon in the US is $2.XX and all of a sudden, everyone drives a 40-50 MPG vehicle in their eyes. Then, they start talking about California Electricity rates, and will end up saying "See, a gas car is actually cheaper!"

While I dont believe the calculators online, you can ballpark it yourself, with info in this thread. OP, one thing I am going to remind you, is that you said you spend $4860 a year in fuel currently. So, if your electricity bill goes up 2k for the year from what it is now, you are saving 50% over your gas car.

A lot of times, people buy an EV, then after a month end up here on this website saying something like: "WTF?!?! My electric bill DOUBLED (from 120 a month to 240 a month or something), I thought this was cheaper?!?!!?!??!?"

Somehow forgetting that they are not paying for gas any longer, and that has to be taken in the equation. I only mention it, because its entirely possible for you to save 50% over your S5, yet have your electric bill for the year go up $2400 (or 200 more a month than you pay now) and both of those things can be true.

When looking at numbers I keep fuel and electricity in the same pot of outlays and offset in my estimates. However, I am sure I'll still balk momentarily when I see my increased electric bill for the first few times, lol. I'll just have to remember the feeling I had this morning when paying $4.79 per gallon for fuel...blah. Thanks for the insight.
 
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Lots of good information here. One thing that someone recently told me, and I looked it up and found it to be true, is that the Tesla Wall Connector is actually 90-95% efficient so you lose a lot less when charging with that. I am not sure if this is still the case, but the cost of the charging equipment and installation is eligible for tax incentives to offset some of the cost.

Depending on your driving style, and your commute (highways, vs surface streets) estimating 240-300kw/mile is probably safe. Figure out what you pay per kw/hour, and run that through the equation.

When charging at home I find that it is ballpark 25% the cost of gas to drive around. On a road trip where I have to pay a premium for super charging or destination charging its 50-60% the cost of a comparable trip with gas. Definitely savings there. Maintenance is another big one - now all you really need to do are tire rotations (many places will do this for free, and Tesla will come to your house or workplace and do it for around $50 or so), wiper blades, cabin air filter, and tires. The brakes seem to last forever, no oil changes, no filters, no fuel line cleaning, no air filter (engine), no spark plugs or coils, etc. If your previous vehicle was an Audi I would imagine annual maintenance was a premium - so that is going to save you probably close to $1k a year if I had to guess.

That covers the main financial benefit (although resale value is something to consider and Teslas are holding their value wayyyyy better than german sedans). The intangible benefits are going to become more apparent as you own and drive the car. Not having to stop and get gas is such a luxury. One of those things you don't realize you hated until you no longer have to do it. Not to mention your car is going to be safer, quieter, faster, and far more intuitive. Not sure if you had an automatic or a manual previously but the driving experience and throttle response is just ridiculously better in every conceivable way. Driving an ICE vehicle is such a drag now - it's like riding on the back of a sluggish, lumbering animal. You lose so much finite control over the vehicle when you rely on a gas engine with a transmission and stall converter, etc.

Anyway congrats on the purchase. You'll save money and I suspect like it quite a bit more.
 
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jjrandorin

Moderator, Model 3, Tesla Energy Forums
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When looking at numbers I keep fuel and electricity in the same pot of outlays and offset in my estimates. However, I am sure I'll still balk momentarily when I see my increased electric bill for the first few times, lol. I'll just have to remember the feeling I had this morning when paying $4.79 per gallon for fuel...blah. Thanks for the insight.

In 2018 when I got my model 3P, the car it replaced was a BMW 435 M sport, with the "power and sound" OEM tune kit. I got real world about 17 MPG, and bought exclusively premium fuel for it (usually from costco, which is also a top tier gas supplier but I digress).

In order to remind myself of what I said above, I not only repeated to myself every month "remember, your not paying $4.50 a gallon for gas", when I got my electric bill, but I also explained the math to my wife, and then told her "If I ever start complaining about the electric bill, just shut me up by reminding me I am not going to the gas station" (lol).

For me, driving a model 3 performance as a daily driver instead of the 435 it replaced saves me about 50%. The first year, however, that 50% savings went back into the model 3 due to me hitting potholes and getting flat tires and bent rims, and having to replace those (on the same roads I drove the 435 on and never had to replace a rim).

That was annoying, but that first year I still broke even, and I am even more eagle eyed about potholes than I used to be, so its been ok since that time.
 

jjrandorin

Moderator, Model 3, Tesla Energy Forums
Moderator
Nov 28, 2018
12,369
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Riverside Co. CA
Not having to stop and get gas is such a luxury. One of those things you don't realize you hated until you no longer have to do it.

Seriously.... (I agree here 100000%). "Planning to get gas" is just something you get used to doing, so it doesnt seem that annoying, just mildly inconvenient.... until you no longer have to do it.
 
Seriously.... (I agree here 100000%). "Planning to get gas" is just something you get used to doing, so it doesnt seem that annoying, just mildly inconvenient.... until you no longer have to do it.

Yeah, it's funny (and definitely a first world problem) but I always seemed to need gas when I was running late somewhere. To top it off, gas station parking lots are chaotic with cars driving erratically, having to get out of your car and stand in the elements while breathing toxic fumes, handling nasty pump handles. It seems to be getting even worse (I had to get gas for my lawn mower the other day) and Speedway has little TVs installed on the pumps with the volume turned up all the way advertising nonsense. Around here Shell stations ask 20 questions before you can ever get the pump going (no, I don't want a car wash). All in all, I absolutely loathe the thought of going to a gas station now - if I wanted to mingle with peasants I wouldn't have bought a Tesla.
 
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