To visit our daughter, we took a 17-day trip in our electric car from Madison to Seattle and back, a total of 4,300 miles, consuming 1,200 kilowatt hours of electricity.
Using the Environmental Protection Agency’s formula of 33.7 kilowatt hours per gallon of gasoline, we used the energy equivalent of 35.7 gallons of gasoline for the entire trip. That’s at 120 miles per gallon — electric vehicles are way more efficient.
Our carbon emissions were a function of how electricity is produced in the various states where we charged the car. Washington, Idaho and Montana have significantly cleaner electricity than Wisconsin because they use more hydro and less coal.
We stopped at superchargers 31 times, totaling $228. Stops lasted 15 to 25 minutes about every 100 miles, usually a good time for a brief break from driving.
Five of our hotels provided Level 2 charging overnight, at no cost to hotel guests. Our sixth hotel had no charger, but a public parking ramp across the street provided an overnight charge for $10. In our daughter’s Seattle neighborhood, a nearby grocery provided 2-hour charging sessions at no cost.
As dirty electricity becomes cleaner, and as the cost to own an electric vehicle declines, electric vehicles will replace more conventional vehicles and help protect the climate.