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Getting There: Online tool compares costs of electric and gas cars –

by Oct 31, 2022Blog0 comments

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A new online comparison tool shows drivers the costs associated with an electric vehicle vs. those of a gas-powered automobile.
As the push toward more electrified vehicles seems to be growing, questions still linger.
The Virginia Tech Transportation Institute is addressing a key question drivers have when it comes to electric and gas-powered vehicles: How do they compare financially?
The transportation institute has developed an online tool to help answer that query.
Hesham Rakha, director of the institute’s Center for Sustainable Mobility, has created the Cost Comparison Tool, which compares the two types of automobiles.
“After finding no tool available to the public, I wanted to create a tool that anyone can see to determine where a gasoline-powered vehicle or battery electric vehicle is best for them financially,” Rakha said in a VTTI news release last week.
The VTTI comparison website is basic, with a box that breaks down “yearly mileage, electricity cost, the Environmental Protection Agency-rated miles per gallon, loan interest rate, loan duration, and price,” according to the release.
The website also includes a chart with several years of gas prices showing the cost of using each style of vehicle.
The online tool keeps it simple at this point, but Rakha plans to add more details to the site, including maintenance costs of electric vehicles “and variables such as different routes and energy versus fuel consumption.”
Rakha added an interesting tidbit in the release about how the vehicles travel differently.
Gas-powered vehicles are more fuel-efficient when traveling on interstates and highways at higher speeds than slower, stop-and-go urban driving.
Electric vehicles are less efficient at higher speeds because that consumes more power.
VRE extends fare-free rides
September’s fare free Virginia Railway Express rides seem to have been a success, so much so that the commuter rail service has extended the temporary gratis trips.
The extension of the free rides will be in play for zones 1, 2 and 3—south of Reagan National Airport, “throughout the duration of the Yellow Line bridge shutdown,” according to the Friday agenda for the Operations Board meeting.
The Yellow Line closure is connected to the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority’s work on the rail system.
Rich Dalton, the CEO of VRE, told the Operations Board the Yellow Line might open in early November, which is when the free and lower-fares would end.
Dalton suggested VRE also offer promotional lower fares while work continues on the Metrorail Yellow Line, which he said is expected to last through the spring of 2023.
The board approved the measure.
The September free ride promotion bumped VRE’s rider trips to 142,096, a 21% increase compared to August, which had two more operating days, according to VRE.
VRE held a survey on the free fare option that indicated it “was especially successful in getting riders who took us pre-pandemic back on the service,” according to VRE’s agenda.
Avoiding traffic was the top reason for riders who took the trains in September. Free fares and gas prices also were top reasons for the VRE riders to avoid driving to work.
About 80% of the riders in the survey said they would return after the fare free rides end.
Scott Shenk: 540/374-5436
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I am a Stafford County native and veteran reporter covering Fredericksburg region transportation issues and Spotsylvania County.
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A new online comparison tool shows drivers the costs associated with an electric vehicle vs. those of a gas-powered automobile.
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