Driving down the cost of driving

June 23, 2023

Did you know? Driving an EV saves more money in Washington than in any other state, compared to driving a gas car.

Switching to an EV will save over $3.00 per gasoline gallon equivalent, according to a Clean & Prosperous Institute analysis.

In this first week of summer, we’re not surprised to see the usual June spike in gas prices. Globally, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and Saudi Arabia’s decision to reduce supply have put upward pressure on prices. Across the country, summer demand is pushing up prices. At the same time, refinery utilization on the West Coast is below the national average, creating tight supply. And here in Washington, closure of the Olympic pipeline (for scheduled maintenance) has further constricted supply and put pressure on prices. 

This year’s January-to-June price rise is 25%. That compares to 39% last Jan-to-June, and 34% the year before. 

Only in the Covid-19 spring of 2020 did prices not rise between January and June.

Of course, another component of increased prices are increased refinery costs, as Washington state’s cap-and-invest program puts a cap on emissions. 

“We have changed our regulatory environment from one that is a pollute-for-free, to one that requires fossil-fuel emitters to comply with our state carbon reduction goal,” said Michael Mann, executive director of Clean & Prosperous Washington.

How much of these compliance costs should be passed on to consumers is a fair question to ask during this time of historic oil company profits.

In 2022, global oil giants netted over $200 billion in profit. And profits have continued to soar this year, with global oil companies netting over $100 billion in just the first quarter. That works out to a yearly profit margin of over $50 for every person on the planet.

Mann adds, “There’s now a compliance cost for polluting, and if the oil companies choose to pass that on to consumers, then consumers now have a choice to move to cleaner and cheaper fuel.”

Moving to a cleaner and cheaper fuel pays off for drivers in Washington faster than in any other state. With volatile gasoline prices averaging $4.91 per gallon last week, and stable electricity costs, Washington fleets and families realize a “clean car discount” of over $3.00 per gallon, or more than $2,000 per year in fuel savings*.

* 2023 Ford F-150 4-wheel-drive 25mpg combined city & highway; $4.91 gas, $1.19 electric GGE, 15,000 miles driven.

And on top of the fuel savings, EVs are cheaper to maintain – and deliver better performance.

That may be why so many drivers are switching to EVs. Only one state ranks ahead of Washington for EV market share. However, that state – California – has a ten-year head start with its Cap-and-Invest program, limiting emissions and investing carbon auction revenue in EV incentives and infrastructure.

Source: https://www.autosinnovate.org/posts/papers-reports/get-connected-2022-q4

To help free families and fleets from the expense and volatility of gasoline, state and federal funds from the Climate Commitment Act (CCA) and Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) offer incentives for the purchase of a new or used EV, including a new $50 million state program being developed for lower-income families. 


Driving electric is good for the pocketbook. And it’s patriotic: 5 of the top 6 cars on the “Most American-made” list are EVs. 

The climate crisis requires a new perspective. Let’s celebrate energy independence and focus on the opportunity to drive down the cost of driving. Already 100,000 Washingtonians have lowered their transportation costs by 75%. Our attention should be focused on bringing the benefit of low-cost, home-grown electrified transportation to all in Washington.

Clean & Prosperous Washington is a project of the Washington Business Alliance.
Contact us at info@cleanprosperouswa.com