Gas is over $5 a gallon for regular in Needles, CA

Gas is over $5 a gallon for regular in Needles, CA

I hear that there are gas lines in California too.

How much impact does gas prices make on your Tesla purchasing decision if you are still in contemplation mode?

What gas price would make you change your mind?

Is it just the fact that there are gas lines that put you over the edge?

Just curious.

olanmills | October 15, 2012

No impact.

If you already buy expensive cars, then maybe it makes a difference to you, but then, the price of gas probably isn't that big of a deal anyways.

Otherwise, the Model S is an expensive car. Even if electricity costs nothing, I would not be saving money by buying it.

jbunn | October 15, 2012

Nearly 100% of my decision. My price point is $4.00/gal. Based on the lenght of time I own a car, price of electricity, and cost of my car, if gas stays under 4 bucks over the next 12 years, I'm out money. If it's over 4 bucks, I'm money ahead. My commute when I reserved was costing 16 bucks a day in fuel, and that was less than 4 bucks. I'm guessing it's only going to go up from here.

MB3 | October 15, 2012

Gas price does factor in for me a bit since we drive so much. Even at 4 USD/gallon, we would save over 40k in fuel costs compared to a comparable premium sedan (if there were a comparable car). But the primary factor for me is how the S is such a great showcase of the advantages of an electric car. I would want to get the car anyway, the financial benefit just makes it a little easier to justify.

sergiyz | October 15, 2012


$40k over what time period or miles driven ?
That looks a bit high to me.

Superliner | October 15, 2012

@ olanmills .. + 1 If one can afford a car in this class, The price of gas if of little or no importance at all. There are eleventy million reasons why I'll buy a Model S, the price of gas is not one of them.

Beaker | October 15, 2012

While filling up this morning I chanted to myself just 2 more weeks, just 2 more weeks.

The $100,000 question is how many days/weeks I'll have to chat that before it becomes true.

jbunn | October 15, 2012


It's a conscious decision to pay high up-front cost, to get a low TCO, for me.

(But yeah, it's way cool. Perhaps, I'm just rationalizing... hehehe)

Brian H | October 15, 2012


TikiMan | October 15, 2012

A large part of my desision to buy the Model S is due to the fact that I don't like paying 'extortion money' to an industry that IMHO is cheating us, and causing undue harm to our economy. So for me, part of my desision is a matter of superior ethics, and good Karma. It also comes with the desire that; by spending a very large amount of money in buying the Model S, it will help get this ground-breaking company to a point where they will hopefully in-turn help support a future version of an 85 kWh (or higher) Tesla EV that is priced closer to $30k for the avarage middle-class consumer.

So, to make a long story short... It is OUR responsibility to buy this car (if you can afford it). Especially if you don't believe in supporting the Evil Empire known as 'Union Oil' (or whatever sister names they pretend to call themselves now days).

BYT | October 15, 2012

Thanks TikiMan, I sometimes forget that is also one of the primary motivating factors for me as well. Big Oil can drink it, I want no part of them and will no longer have to stress and get angry when prices go up. Well, maybe I still will as produce will also get expensive and air travel as well.

mrspaghetti | October 16, 2012

Gas prices not really a motivator for me, although it might make it easier to convince the wife that the total cost of ownership over the life of the car is about the same as for a $50k-$60k ICE vehicle.

MB3 | October 16, 2012

@sergiyz We have a 2005 prius with well over 250k now. At 25 mpg and 4 usd per gallon that is 40k usd in gas costs. Many premium sedans get closer to 20 mpg so that would be 50k usd

petero | October 16, 2012

The price of gasoline was not a factor me. The “S” appeals to me simply because it so different and an elegant (out of the box) solution to fulfill my transportation needs that no one else is able to provide.

I feel higher gasoline prices are a more effective way to promote change in the auto industry than CAFÉ and emission standards. Big ICE will only change when they have too because they have too large an investment in infrastructure and are too use to recycling parts and designs to start with a blank piece of paper. Case in points look at these EVs: Ford Focus, Nissan Leaf, Toyota Rav 4, BMW 1e … all are modified ICE designs. Big ICE built hybrids because they were the cheapest way to improve mileage by 25% and consumers would bear the added price!

If our Governments increase the taxes on gasoline we could have better roads, more and better EV infrastructure, and most of all (like the space program) an investment in R&D that could change the world! Look what we have done to the price of pack of cigarettes in the last 30 years!

mrspaghetti | October 16, 2012


Heavily taxing cigarettes is completely different than doing it to fuel. Consider how much merchandise is transported via vehicles that need gasoline or other petroleum derivatives. You're talking about artificially driving up the price of virtually everything for everyone. Not good for an economy that's already sucking air.

Teoatawki | October 16, 2012

Sadly, many of the poor have no choice but to drive, and have older, worse fuel economy vehicles. This makes gas tax one of the most regressive forms of taxation.

jerry3 | November 3, 2012

petero -- If our Governments increase the taxes on gasoline we could have better roads, more and better EV infrastructure, and most of all (like the space program) an investment in R&D that could change the world!

The problem is that the gas tax goes into general revenue and gets frittered away on pork-barrel projects. What really needs to happen is that amendments to laws under consideration need to be relevant to that law. That would eliminate "I'll vote for your X if you tack on my Y". It would also cause a lot of laws not to get passed in the first place.

pilotSteve | November 3, 2012

@jerry3 - some day, some how, some one (smarter than me) will come up with a way to constrain REVENUE and SPENDING to achieve what you describe. You have offered a pretty clever way that might do just that..... thanks!

noel.smyth | November 3, 2012

TikiMan+1. I too believe those that can, should, so that this technology becomes mainstream.

rwang | November 3, 2012

The economical arguments should be based on total cost of ownership including factors such as:

Cost to acquire vehicle
Cost to maintain
Additional accessories
Downtime costs due to maintenance
Cost of electricity

Cost per mile savings


As a fellow forum member, why are many of our smart, intelligent, and passionate folks such Tesla fan boyz and gurlz about how we justify ownership.

No matter how you slice this, you could have bought a leaf or prius or volt if you were serious about ROI. The savings from a MOdelS could have been put to a charity, or to something else more useful to global good.

Let's be real, the Model S is part ego, part exclusivity, part technical marvel, part utopian idealism that just happens to also do the environment some good.

I bought the car because I wanted something exclusive. I'm glad it does good. Otherwise, I'd wait 4 more years for an A6 etron.


Captain_Zap | November 3, 2012

Not an ego thing here, by any stretch of the imagination.
Neither is exclusivity.

jbunn | November 3, 2012

Leaf does not have the range I need for daily commute. Prius is out because hybrids are too complex.

rwang | November 3, 2012

jbunn - curious why are hybrids too complex. price/performance ratio is pretty decent. IMHO, not a fan of the design shape of the prius and the usual prius on the freeway who hogs up the left lane going 60 mph, but other than that, it does the job like the old soviet cars.

jerry3 | November 4, 2012


Certainly the Prius is more complex than a Model S, but it's actually less complex than an old fashioned car. Many of the items found in an ICE car have been replaced by more reliable electronics or have been simplified. For example, there is no alternator, no starter motor, no clutch, no serpentine belt(s), and the automatic transmission with its hundreds of parts has been replaced by simple planetary gear system similar to a differential.

Michael23 | November 4, 2012

The sad thing is my wife commutes 2 hours a day in her new ice and I will only drive 4 miles in my performance s. we need her mini s for parking in sf though and it's too early to upgrade it.

Brian H | November 4, 2012

Interesting; I guess in effect the electric motor is the "starter motor". And since it is not plugin, the charging generator is de facto like an alternator, no?

jerry3 | November 4, 2012


Strictly speaking, either motor/generator can charge or power the Prius. Toyota has dumbed down the explanation and so it's not technically accurate. The difference between the two is that MG1 is half the size of MG2.


- Half the size of MG2.

- Spins the engine up to about 1000 rpm to start it. Note that fuel and spark are not added to the engine until it's spinning fast enough to run by itself. This eliminates the "cold start" and it's engine wear.

- Can be over-revved at high vehicle speeds so the engine is aways spun at speeds over 41 mph.

- Powers the Prius at certain time but never when the Prius is in reverse.


- Twice the size of MG1

- Directly attached to the drive wheels.

- Powers the Prius in reverse.

- Powers the Prius when a lot of motor power is required (generates electricity when less power is required or when braking).

MG1 and MG2 always work in opposition as long as the vehicle is is motion. That is one is powering while the other is generating.

A starter motor on an ICE car is far smaller and not nearly as robust same goes for the alternator.

A much more detailed explanation is here, and although it only deals with the 2001 Prius, the basic principles haven't changed--only the values and some implementation details:

Volker.Berlin | November 5, 2012

Let's be real, the Model S is part ego, part exclusivity, part technical marvel, part utopian idealism that just happens to also do the environment some good. (rwang)

I agree, with the exception of those 100+ mile round trip daily commuters. For those, all the above applies, too, and on top the Model S also makes economic sense. :-)

Otherwise, I'd wait 4 more years for an A6 etron. (rwang)

Only four years? Good luck with that. I don't hold my breath.

Tiebreaker | November 5, 2012

I'll wait 4 more years for GenIII.