Cost to Charge and Cost per Mile by State for Model S

Cost to Charge and Cost per Mile by State for Model S

Using October 2011 data from the U.S. Dept. of Energy, we calculated the cost in different states for a full charge and also the cost per mile based on the 160, 230, and 300 mile estimated range at 55mph. These estimates are averages for each state. This was calculated by multiplying the cost per KWH by the capacity of each battery. If anyone has come up with anything different, I'd love to see it.

Thank you.

Take a look at it here:

Thank you,
Max Mindel

Mycroft | January 25, 2012

Wow, Hawaii is expensive! Good job on the map and article Max.

brianman | January 25, 2012

Nice visual, Max.

If you happen to have the data handy, it would be interesting to indicate the top 3 electrical sources (coal, nuclear, hydro, etc.) by state with percentages. Maybe an on-hover tooltip on each state name? A tooltip approach means you could tie it to the map and the chart.

Discoducky | January 25, 2012

Great job Max! Visuals are always good to sway the doubters.

Can you work the state into the TCO calculation? Since most people may not know their electricity rate as much as they know their gas price and MPG's.

So for a given state (WA kWh), if you bought a given car (say Honda Odyssey at 17MPG city) at an expected average gas price over 5 to 10 years (say $6 for WA) vs buying the base Model S how long will it take for the Model S to be cheaper than the given car?

And then you could tie it back to Solar Panels to see how long it would take to pay off a given size solar panel. This might be good for states like Hawaii where electricity rates are high.

Just a couple of thoughts, but great job! | January 25, 2012

I appreciate the feedback and the great constructive thoughts!

Absolutely I plan to work the states into TCO. That's why I've ben holding off on my update to all of the car makes. I've only updated 3, but I want them all to be selectable by state so that the data is even more helpful.

Ultimately I will have break-even data too.

Thanks everyone for your positive comments!

I appreciate it. | January 25, 2012

Brianman. Thanks for the positive comments. I don't have that data, but that sounds really interesting so I will definitely look into it.

Max Mindel | January 25, 2012

Mycroft, its kind of sad that Hawaii has such high electricity prices. Wouldn't it be great if they could harness free energy from ocean waves?

Max Mindel

Sudre_ | January 25, 2012

I found a 2007 link that shows generated power per state and CO2 emissions for the generation. It does not break down the methods used for generation per state but it does show how much CO2 is put out by different methods. Idaho has very low CO2 (if I recall the data correctly). I am curious how they kept their costs so low.

Kallisman | January 25, 2012

I thought Hawaii also has geothermal power close to the ground surface. Maybe it's just a matter of politics?

jackhub | January 25, 2012

Thanks Max, good info and graphics. It may be too difficult to work it in, but some areas offer off-peak discounts. In the two largest urban areas in Kentucky there is a 30% discount for off-peak charging. For charging the three battery sizes the cost to 'fill it up' would be $2.67, $4.01, and $5.67 respectively. Not bad for a tank of gas!

Robert.Boston | January 25, 2012

Re Hawaii: they are putting up some wind turbines, and OPT has installed some wave energy devices. Definitely moving in the right direction.

Re: generation by state: this is really hard to get right, because there are massive flows of power across state lines. Reporting the internal generation is a poor proxy for the answer to the question, "where does my power come from?" or, even, the relevant question, "what power source will likely fuel my Tesla?"

If a state has a nuclear power plant, a couple of coal plants, and large number of gas turbines (Massachusetts), it's very likely that natural gas is on the margin in most hours (at least historically; with the very low gas prices recently, coal is being pushed to the margin). Other states have lots of nuke and coal, and only a few gas turbines (Alabama); there, coal is more often on the margin.

In some states, like Michigan, coal is on the margin overnight and gas is on the margin during the day, so it's actually environmentally better to charge during the day there.

SteveU | January 25, 2012

@jackhub at least in California the rates are really complicated if you go to a time-of-day rate. It depends on which utility serves you (which part of the state you are in), which rate schedule you get (there are several and various rules for which is available to you), what time of year it is, what time of day it is, whether your house has electric heat, and how much power you use in total for the month. Depending on all of these variables, a kWh can cost between 5-cents and 35-cents... roughly. So California by it self pretty much spans the entire range on the chart!

ThomasN | January 25, 2012

Great site and chart. I'd suggest you recruit off peak rates from metropolitan areas. PGE in Portland Oregon has a 10pm to 6am rate of 4.422 which is half of the average rate in oregon

Volker.Berlin | January 25, 2012

Cost per mile isn't all that critical in Hawaii since they cannot go very far, anyway... ;-) SCNR

Volker.Berlin | January 25, 2012

There are (at least) two older threads in this forum that discussed this very topic. Maybe they are still worth reading:

jd3tm | January 25, 2012

great chart and data. For California, there is another aspect to consider. Which rate schedule you choose. If you choose rate schedule E6 ("time of use") you get charged 12 cents per kwh during off-peak evening hours according to my conversation with PGE yesterday. Since I will be charging at night, cost per kwh on this schedule puts Cali in much better shape compared to the rest of the US.

In my case, it will be even better because I have Solar so I get to "sell" power back to PGE at 21 cents per kwh (peak usage rate) and "buy" it at 12 cents (off-peak rate).

Can't wait for my Model S!!

sig 692

jd3tm | January 25, 2012


wow, I had no idea our state was this complicated. PGE is my provider living in San Jose. I didn't get that complicated a description by the PGE rep I talked to yesterday. But, he was part of the "Solar" division so maybe the rules are different if you are on that plan???


DeDe | January 25, 2012

@jd3 - not to have California rates monopolize this thread, but another option with time of use is the E-9 schedule for electric vehicles. When we were evaluating our solar options (installed on Nov. 1), the solar company did an analysis of our usage with both the E6 and the E9 rates (can get more complicated if you elect to have a separate meter for the EV). I think we might switch to the E9 rate schedule once our Tesla is delivered...though we will have to wait until Nov. 1, 2012, since you can only switch rate schedules once every 12 months. BTW, we're in San Jose as well...:)

SteveU | January 25, 2012

There are actually two E9 rates (A and B) and, as John_DeDe points out, also E6. If you go to you can see a rate schedule for E9 (both A and B) which I am not sure is current but at least gives you an idea how complicated it is. Note that what your baseline is (see the rate schedule for how it is used) depends on where you live and whether you have electric heating (so the complexity is two dimensions worse than the table in the referenced file). The E6 schedule is similar in structure and complexity.

Teoatawki | January 25, 2012


I found a 2007 link that shows generated power per state and CO2 emissions for the generation. It does not break down the methods used for generation per state but it does show how much CO2 is put out by different methods. Idaho has very low CO2 (if I recall the data correctly). I am curious how they kept their costs so low.

17 Hydro plants. (+some gas fired and 3 co-owned coal plants).

Charged_Up | January 25, 2012

I think your florida rate is too low - in south fla we pay about 15 cents per kw if I'm not mistaken....

Leofingal | January 25, 2012

I am in NY, and I do not pay anywhere near the 18c/kWh shown in this data, so I think the rates vary widely by region of NY. I do know that I seem to get a reduced rate based on my higher than normal usage (sounds backwards, but appears to be this way). I have a geothermal heat pump so my electric consumption is pretty high for a household. My Tesla will add to this, but not a whole lot with my relatively short driving distances. I am surprised (and maybe not so surprised) to see NY as the highest rate of the lower 48 states.

We get a ton of Hydro power from Niagara Falls, and we have nuclear in the Rochester area as well. Wind has built up quite a bit in upstate too over the past few years.

ddruz | January 25, 2012

Comment re Hawaii: I live in Hawaii. Our electricity is indeed the highest in the country but our gas prices are also well above average. Our current gas price averages $3.85 per gallon on Oahu. At that price a car needs to exceed 41.0 mpg to be less expensive per mile to run on gas than on electricity at the 9.38 cents per mile shown in the table for the model S.

What is not so apparent to outside observers is the tremendous incentive to install photovoltaic in Hawaii. We have some of the most consistent sun in the country and PV is economically very viable here given our high electricity costs. Government tax credits and incentives total ~65% of the PV cost so our out of pocket to install PV is only ~35% of the total expense. Given our high price of electricity, our out of pocket costs for PV are paid back in 7 - 8 years. After that electricity is free.

Therefore what is missing in this discussion is that many if not most of the people who are buying a model S are probably putting PV on their homes because the economic incentives to do so are so enormous. For 7 - 8 years we will be paying the equivalent cost per mile of a 41 mpg gas car. After that we will power our electric cars for FREE.

The much larger concern for Hawaiians owning a model S than the the cost of filling it up is the cost of servicing it should Tesla not establish a service center here. It is absolutely cost prohibitive to pay the Rangers to come 5,000 miles round trip from California if your car breaks down in the interim between their regular annual maintenance visits (which are affordable because they can be shared between all Tesla owners in the state).

brianman | January 25, 2012

"Government tax credits and incentives total ~65% of the PV cost"
Another reason to envy the beach people. ;)

Robert.Boston | January 25, 2012

@Leofingal: You're right; the NYS average blends a very high rate for NYC/Long Island/Westchester with a markedly lower rate for upstate. It's one of the only "progressive rate" structures I can point to in the country--the (on average) rich downstate folks pay more than the (on average) poorer upstaters. | January 25, 2012

Thanks for your info about the use of PV in Hawaii. I wasn't thrilled about writing about the high cost of energy in Hawaii. Excellent point and other potential EV buyers should be aware of this. I will include your point about PV use in that section.


Max Mindel | January 25, 2012 Is there a link you can refer me to that talks about your 65% tax credit on PV. Thanks.

Max Mindel

ddruz | January 25, 2012 Here is a link from one of the solar companies in Hawaii which explains the 65% total tax credits:

Hope this is helpful. | January 25, 2012

Thank you
Very helpful info.

Brian H | January 26, 2012

Vancouver, BC;
as noted on Off Peak Survey thread, 6.67¢ base residential rate (9.62¢ after 1,350kWh/mo.)

So $2.67, $4.00, and $5.67 + charging losses (20%??) to taste per fillup.

Per mile: 1.9¢

About power costs: the wholesale prices have dropped 50%+ since 2008. Shale gas is displacing many wind, nuclear, coal projects, etc. Hawaii could do far worse than import some LNG from the mainland (ports built to import from abroad have mostly been converted to export!)

stephen.kamichik | January 26, 2012

When I visited Hawaii about 25 years ago, I noticed that everything was very expensive there. Most of the extra costs was linked to shipping expenses. Most people in Hawaii had two or three jobs just to survive.

phb | January 26, 2012

@ddruz: have you popped over to and asked if there are any Roadster owners on the islands and what they have done for service?

Just a thought. | January 27, 2012


I'm sure that rates in some places are all over the place. These rates I have are an average from data from the Dept of Energy from October 2011. I hope to eventually have regional perhaps by county to get more accuracy in version 2 of this map. Thanks for your input.

Max Mindel

stephen.pace | February 4, 2012

@Kallisman: Hawaii does have some geothermal production now, although it remains largely untapped. DDruz can probably provide more accurate and recent background, but years ago one story I heard was that a lot of local opposition was thought to do in part with people being worried that the additional roads and traffic would interfere with marijuana production (e.g. hidden fields would be found). Of course, that could not be the stated reason, so instead it was something like 'geothermal wells are stealing the breath of Pele' (e.g. angering the volcano goddess).

One issue is even if you generate a lot of energy on the big island which is best suited to geothermal production, it isn't trivial to move it to the others.

Kallisman | February 5, 2012

Thanks for the answer and link. I read it all. Interesting. Seems there is good potential to reduce dependence on imported fossil fuels.
I agree it isn't trivial to transport electricity between islands, and might be an expensive investment. But in the long run I believe it would pay off. It's not a small task to transport oil around the globe either. After all, oil companies manage to lay long pipes on the ocean floor from offshore installations, and still make money. They also have the technology to drill sideways for difficult to reach sources. Maybe it's about time to use the technology developed for the oil industry for something better. All of Hawaii could be self supplied with energy.

digitaltim | February 5, 2012


The domestic US electric markets are broken down into regions largely defined by NERC (focused on reliability). See:

You may be able to mine each region to better understand source fuel mix.

Alternately, FERC governs the electric markets where they are divided into RTO/ISOs (focused on market pricing rules) as follows:

The US EIA site for a good breakdown of fuel mix for the country:

--Tim | February 7, 2012

Great info. Thanks!
I'll see what I'm able to use from it.

Max Mindel

Papafox | February 9, 2012

No need to worry about us Hawaii Tesla S types. Sun and tax incentives for solar are plentiful. The solar panels on my roof will pay for themselves in less than 5 years and I have enough juice left over to drive my 70 mile/day commute in the S without buying any power from the electric company. Tesla S plus solar panels plus Hawaiian sun = joy.

Discoducky | February 11, 2012

@Papafox, would you mind posting your ROI calculation for your PV installation please? How many kW did you get? Only 5 years in the red is awesome! I'm considering moving to HA one day.

Brian H | February 11, 2012

Lotsa sun and lotsa Feed-In-Tarrif, I betcha. Of course, comparing to 30¢/kwh grid power helps, too. That's 4X what I pay here.

Brian H | February 11, 2012

typo: "Feed-In-Tarriff".

brianman | February 11, 2012

"Feed-in Tariff" (1 hypen, 1 r) ;)

brianman | February 11, 2012

hyphen* lol

BruceR | February 11, 2012

The rate you actually pay in any given location in the US is far, far more complicated than this map portrays. Good summary, but the devil is in the details. My local utility rate guide is 129 pages! One of the worst documents I have ever read, but definetly worth your time to find out for yourself exactly what rates are available for you to choose from and how you might then put them to good use.

I have an all electric house and get paid the same rate as I buy it, so I have a grid connected solar system. No time of use rates available. A friend lives in a nearby state that has time of use rates but pays significantly less for the solar generated power. So he disconnects from the grid durring the day and runs off his own batteries and solar power. Saves a bundle!

Brian H | February 11, 2012

So, how do you like "Muphry's Law"? Gets ya (almost) every time.

brianman | February 11, 2012

@BrianH - Heh, indeed.

ncn | February 18, 2012

This would actually be most useful if it was broken down by utility region; New York in particular has massive variance in prices from Long Island through to Western New York. But retail prices are pretty constant within a given utility region (most of the cost is in "delivery", aka grid, charges). That would probably be more useful than county breakdowns.

Hawaii is a perfect market for electric cars, because gasoline is even more expensive than the electricity. It's also a great place to install solar panels.

Though until Tesla builds a service center there, I think you'd have to be crazy to buy a Tesla in Hawaii -- the Ranger costs would be killer. There are enough Teslas in Hawaii already that they probably should build one. Even if parts had to be flown in, at least employees wouldn't.

ncn | February 18, 2012

Worth noting: Hawaii is already at grid parity. If you have the capital, it will save you money to install solar panels, BEFORE incentives -- the 65% incentives only make it more valuable.

At the moment, the only reason to not have solar panels in Hawaii is lack of capital and lack of access to loans.

Looking at these numbers makes me think the future is coming sooner than people think. My friends' solar panel design should at *minimum* cut the cost per watt in half relative to existing cheapest panels, which should reach grid parity in most of the country; their battery design, with at least 10x the energy density per dollar of existing designs, should eliminate worries about overnight storage. Both should be manufactured within a decade, as no new manufacturing processes are needed.

Perhaps the grid will just be dismantled.

ddruz | February 18, 2012

@ncn: Ditto about solar panels in Hawaii and that Tesla should build a service center there asap. (Tesla is also missing a bet not to put a store in central Waikiki: ~4 million visitors a year, upscale, trendy, perfect brand match, excellent way to hit affluent US and Japan and Asian clientele at once, a highly proactive EV state and plenty of environmentally conscious locals with money.) I live in Hawaii and you are dead on that the only reason not to have solar panels is lack of access to capital or a roof to put them on.

Brian H | February 18, 2012

If you're not "just kidding": powering homes during daylight hours in a super-sunny state is a ludicrous justification for dismantling the grid. Let me list some of the factors: night, clouds, winter, manufacturing, retail, office towers, apartment towers, dust, maintenance (see: ), transmission corridors, real estate coverage, dust, etc.)

ddruz | February 18, 2012

@Brian H: You are correct that we do indeed still need the grid in Hawaii. Most folks with PV here create extra electricity during normal days and shuttle it to the grid. Then we draw it back at night, on cloudy days or if our PV system goes down for one reason or another. My understanding is this is relatively common practice in many parts of the country. Some people may opt to go off the grid with PV and their own storage batteries. That is an individual choice. But even the most pro-PV advocates here do not advocate dismantling the grid.