SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — San Diegans tired of paying more than $4 per gallon at the pump have another option: Going electric.
On Thursday, SDG&E officials explained how getting an electric car can reduce the equivalent fuel costs down to roughly 75 cents per gallon. They added that state and federal tax credit, and an electric bill rebate of an estimated $500 can sweeten the deal.
"We really want people to know that driving electric is more affordable than ever," said Natasha Contreras, SDG&E's electric vehicle engagement manager. "If you feel like you're getting low, there's so many public chargers that are available out there now."
SDG&E says a driver who gets 25 miles per gallon and drives 12,000 miles a year would save $1,376 annually if they charge an electric car in off-peak hours and maintain those same driving habits.
The utility offers a pricing plan that offers the lowest cost rates when charging between midnight and 6 a.m. on weekdays, and midnight to 2 p.m. on weekends and holidays. Users pay a $16 monthly fee.
The average price for a new car is now about $36,733, according to the Kelly Blue Book.
Auto industry analysts caution, however, that there are other options to save money.
Ron Montoya, a senior consumer advice editor for Edmunds, said electric cars can be expensive. He said it can cost up to $1,000 to get a more powerful charger installed into a home.
Montoya said better ways to save could be to alter current driving habits, or buy a more affordable base hybrid.
"I think if you truly want to get an electric vehicle today, it's just for the statement you want to wean yourself off of gas," he said. "You want to reduce your carbon footprint, but it's not for saving money."
SDG&E says about 36,000 customers have electric cars.