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Teslas are luxury electric vehicles that come jam-packed with futuristic and high-tech features. As a result, they come with a significant price tag. However, they also carry cost-savings associated with being electric. Teslas can save you money in gas and maintenance compared to internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles. So, how much does it cost to own a Tesla Model 3?

First, we’ll look at my monthly costs of owning a Tesla Model 3. Then we’ll look at the yearly costs and finally combine them into one annual cost.

But first, let’s get some assumptions out of the way:

  1. I have a Model 3 without special add-ons. (I actually have a list of my favorite Tesla mods, but they are all optional).
  2. Let’s assume I drive 1,000 miles per month, on average (I actually drive a lot more than that, but 1,000 miles is closer to typical driving habits).
  3. The current Supercharger rate (September 2020) is $0.28/kWh.

How Much Does it Cost to Own a Tesla Model 3?

Monthly Costs:

Cost Category

Monthly Cost

Loan Payment $580
Insurance $150
Charging for 1,000 miles (with home solar) $0
Charging for 1,000 miles (with superchargers) $72

Yearly Costs:

Cost Category

Yearly Cost

Windshield Wiper Fluid $6
Tire Rotation (optional) $75
Patching a Tire $30

Total Yearly Cost of Owning a Tesla Model 3:

$9,735

You can get a more detailed breakdown of my driving habits and what it’s like to drive a Tesla by reading my year in review.

Now let’s compare this to the cost of owning a comparable internal combustion engine (ICE) car.

Cost of Owning a Mercedes Benz A-Class

The Mercedes Benz A-Class is a comparable luxury vehicle to the Tesla Model 3. It costs about the same off the lot, so we can assume the monthly payment and insurance are the same as for the Model 3.

Next comes the cost of gas and oil changes.

Cost of Gas for ICE Car

The Mercedes gets a combined 28 miles per gallon. At 1,000 miles per month, that’s 35.7 gallons of gas per month. In Miami, gas is about $2/g right now (very cheap– September 2020), giving us $70.40 per month in gas.

Other Costs for ICE Cars

We can assume the Mercedes will require wiper fluid, tire rotation and patching tires on the same interval as the Tesla. The Mercedes needs an annual oil change and oil filter replacement, and with the premium oil that will be about $80.

So all told, the cost of the Mercedes is about $920 more than the Tesla each year.

Environmental Costs of ICE Cars

If only the buck stopped there. Unfortunately, those 35.7 gallons of gas per month come with other costs. These are the social and environmental costs of carbon emissions. In Florida, we are particularly vulnerable to climate change.

Over a year of driving, the Mercedes will emit about 8,500 pounds of carbon emissions, not to mention other toxins that come out of the tailpipe. Very conservatively, the cost of carbon emissions to society is $50/ton. This is to account for all the changes that will need to be made as global warming becomes ever-more severe. Things like increased medical costs, raising roads, growing food, and getting clean water. At this rate, the ICE car costs an additional $200 per year to future generations and governments. Is that a price you’re willing to pass on to your children?


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