pricing energy in a Covid19 world

Discussion in 'Prime Fuel Economy & EV Range' started by Old Bear, May 1, 2020.

  1. Old Bear

    Old Bear Senior Member

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    T. S. Eliot wrote "April is the cruelest month..." -- and he didn't even own an electric vehicle.

    As a Prime owner, my numbers for April are a mere 169 miles of coronavirus-free electric driving and my EVSE power consumption meter showing only 42 kWh used for the month.

    At 20.5-cents per kWh here in eastern Massachusetts, that 42 kWh works out to an energy cost of $8.61 or about 5-cents per mile driven.

    But, cruel April, here is the irony: regular gasoline at my local filling station is $1.86 per gallon. If I were to assume a nominal 45 mpg for the Prius, that would be 3.75 gallons costing $6.98 which would be only 4.1-cents per mile.

    That means that running in electric mode was about 22% more expensive that burning $1.86/gal gasoline.

    Looking at it another way, the $8.61 spent on electricity would have purchased 4.63 gallons of gas at $1.86 per gallon. And, were I to have driven the same 169 miles on 4.63 gallons, my vehicle would have needed to averaged only 36.5 mpg.

    I suspect that this kind of harsh mathematical reality also extends to all kinds of renewable energy -- which has just become much more costly and less attractive when compared to dirt-cheap fossil fuel.

    “April is the cruelest month, breeding
    lilacs out of the dead land, mixing
    memory and desire, stirring
    dull roots with spring rain.”

     
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  2. schja01

    schja01 One of very few in Chicagoland

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    I’d rather build a windmill than finance big oil regardless of price disadvantage.
     
  3. Salamander_King

    Salamander_King Senior Member

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    Your assumption is too harsh on toyota engineers who designed the gas engine to be fitted on PRIUS PRIME. You should be able to get EPA rated 53mpg easily. Most of the time I get well above that mark on my PRIME. With your 20.5c/kWh electricity rate, you have been paying more to drive on EV than HV for most part of pre-COVID19 oil market anyway. I have had PRIME for little over 3 years, and there have been only a few month that the price of gas went above $3 mark which is my break even point for the EV vs HV. Yeah, the oil is cheap now, but try generating electricity using gas engine generator, you will see how cheap your 20.5c/kWh of electricity from the grid is.

    BTW, crude oil price did plunged, but did that bring the natural gas price down with it? If anything, wouldn't the stay at home order causing higher demands on national grid? If so, renewable energy sectors may be doing far better than the big oil companies...
     
    #3 Salamander_King, May 1, 2020
    Last edited: May 1, 2020
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  4. ETC(SS)

    ETC(SS) The OTHER One Percenter.....

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    Said the wild bird hater.... ;)
     
  5. Old Bear

    Old Bear Senior Member

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    I appreciate your comments and agree.

    Let me redo my calculation using 53 mpg instead of 45 mpg:

    Regular gasoline at my local filling station is $1.86 per gallon. If I were to assume a nominal 53 mpg for the Prius, that would be 3.19 gallons costing $5.93 which would be only 3.5-cents per mile.

    That would make electric driving at 5-cents per mile 43% more expensive!

    At 5-cents per mile electric and 53 mpg gas, gasoline would have to cost $2.70 per gallon to make the two costs equivalent.

    Of course, my driving in April was almost all short trips to and from the local supermarket in urban traffic starting with a cold engine, so it is very unlikely that I could have come close to 53 mpg.

    And please understand that I'm not complaining. Mrs. Bear and I love our Prime and take great non-economic satisfaction in its plug-in convenience and comfort.
     
    #5 Old Bear, May 1, 2020
    Last edited: May 1, 2020
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  6. Salamander_King

    Salamander_King Senior Member

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    Yap, that sounds about right, with your current 4.0miles/kWh (169miles/42kWh). Now, if you really want to save while still using precious electricity, then you could drive more conservatively to get the most out of kWh. If you can get half of what I am getting now (19.4miles/kWh or ~1cent/mile on EV at our 21c/kWh rate) your cost comparison could become in favor of EV. ;)

    Screenshot 2020-05-01 at 5.07.04 PM.png
     
    #6 Salamander_King, May 1, 2020
    Last edited: May 1, 2020
  7. Daisy81

    Daisy81 New Member

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    How are you getting that much mileage per kWh? Teach me!
     
  8. Salamander_King

    Salamander_King Senior Member

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    Using cheap gasoline to accelerate the car at starting from a stop and on uphill by switching to HV mode. Save the EV on the downhill and easy going coasting part of the travel. Don't do this if your electricity is still cheaper than the current cheap gas price. It will ends up costing you more and use unnecessary gasoline. In my region, currently normal 4-5miles/kWh EV drive cost me almost twice more than a normal 53 mpg HV drive. Our current cost of electricity is 0.21c/kWh and gas is $1.39/gal.

    Screenshot 2020-05-02 at 6.31.03 PM.png
     
  9. Old Bear

    Old Bear Senior Member

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    Unfortunately, I live within the city limits of Boston and, while most of my trips are short, they generally consist of accelerating from a traffic light, traveling a few hundred feet, and accelerating from another traffic light. Repeat.

    Now, I'm not really into neck-snapping acceleration -- even though I admit that I occasionally enjoyed the rush of exiting the toll-booths on the Mass Turnpike when it still had toll-booths. However, when driving in Boston within a stream of ordinary city drivers, it is not wise to experiment with hyper-miling when leaving a traffic light unless one wants to be rear-ended by someone screaming curses and making exceedingly unpleasant hand gestures.

    Back in the mid-1970s during the energy crisis, I lived in Maine and drove a 4-cylinder Chevette. Frequently making the trip between Portland (the state's largest city) and Augusta (the state capital), I felt that a tremendous amount of gasoline was being wasted just because the state refused to move these two cities closer together.

    :)
     
  10. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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    it's all in climate, speed, hills and acceleration. not everyones circumstances can be improved by learning
     
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