I saw someone ask a question on Quora about fuel costs and decided to do some analysis myself. This is after two and a half years of ownership, and a little over 43,000 miles.

43,000 Miles

It’s been quite a long time driving the car. I’ve mostly gone to the gym, the grocery store, and to coach volleyball. A few ski trips, but not that many.

In that time, I drive an average of 38mi/day and use around 9.5kWh to do that. My long term efficiency is 267Wh/mi. That’s pretty good, as I see people posting around 300Wh/mi or more. I think they have lead foots, while I try to be efficient most of the time.

Autopilot, which I use regularly in a few spots, is nice as well as I tend to go slower ;).

Fuel Costs

This is roughly what I wrote on Quora, using a few cars for comparison. I’ll use the current cars, and our old Prius, to compare costs. I’ll use the average cost of gas in Colorado, which is around $3.50/gal. I’ll use my cost of electricity, which is around $0.14/kWh.


Using my cars for comaprison, here are the efficiencies I’ve seen.

  • 2010 Prius: 47–48mpg (call it 47.5)
  • 2012 BMW X5 35i - 23–24mpg (call it 23.5)
  • 2022 RAM 3500 diesel - 14 mpg

This is the RAM without towing. Towing trailers is usually down in the 8-10mpg range or less. This is also the summer efficiency for the Prius. In winter that’s down in the 43mpg range, but Colorado has lots of warm winter days, so in a colder climate, it’s likely less. I’m sure the BMW is worse in winter, but I’ve tended to only track the long term mpg, not summer/winter.

Costs to Operate

This ignores maintenance, and is only the cost to go a mile. I’ll assume these prices for now:

  • Gas - $3.20/gal
  • Diesel - $3.50/gal
  • Electricity - $0.14/kWh

I’ve seen better and worse and fuel is going up now as we approach summer. I’ll use these numbers for now.

Using these figures, I get the following costs per mile:

  • Prius - $0.7
  • BMW - $0.14
  • RAM - $0.25
  • Tesla - $0.037

These show the Tesla being roughly half the cost of the Prius, and much less than the other cars.

The Model Y is still the best car I’ve owner.

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