Guess What: Electricity Isn’t Free

One of my favorite indicators of ignorance are the people who buy personalized license plates, or affix stickers, for their electric cars that say “Emission Free.” Even if you ignore the enormous environmental impacts associated with manufacturing an electric car (which are significantly higher than a gasoline-powered car), if you live in a state that generates a lot of its electricity from coal, you are essentially driving a coal-powered car.

The next most ignorant view is that at least you don’t have to buy expensive gasoline! People seem to forget that electricity isn’t free, from whatever source. It seems Europe is waking up to this:

BERLIN—Rocketing electricity prices are increasing the cost of driving electric vehicles in Europe, in some cases making them more expensive to run than gas-powered models—a change that could threaten the continent’s electric transition. . .

Coming just as some governments are removing subsidies for EV buyers, this change could slow down EV sales, threaten the region’s greenhouse-gas emission targets, and make it hard for European car makers to recoup the high costs of their electric transition. . .

At the pricing peak, drivers of Tesla’s Model 3, the most efficient all-electric vehicle in the Environment Protection Agency’s fuel guide in the midsize-vehicle category, would pay €18.46 at a Tesla supercharger station in Europe for a charge sufficient to drive 100 miles.

By comparison, drivers in Germany would pay €18.31 for gasoline to drive the same distance in a Honda Civic 4-door, the equivalent combustion-engine model in the EPA’s ranking.


There is no relief in sight for EV users. In Germany, power prices have risen by a third from €0.33 per kWh in the first half of this year, according to Germany’s federal statistics office, and some power companies have announced prices will increase to more than €0.50 per kWh in January.

That price range is three- to -four-times higher than the average cost of electricity in the U.S. Still want to copy Germany’s energy policy?

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