Electric Vehicle Costs & Incentives

Driving an EV can save you money on fuel and maintenance costs, and incentives can reduce the upfront purchase price.

Costs of Owning an Electric Vehicle

EV charging in California costs roughly half the price of powering a standard gasoline car for driving the same distance. And when you charge at home, you can take advantage of additional  cost savings through reduced electricity rates. As more and more workplaces, businesses, and County facilities expand the availability of EV charging stations across the region, it will become easier and easier to plug in and recharge. Learn about the other benefits owning an EV.

For new vehicles, the 5-year total cost to own - or all of the vehicle-related costs such as financing, fees, fuel, insurance, maintenance, and repairs you will likely have to pay during the first 5 years of owning a vehicle – is lower on some electric vehicles compared to conventional options.

Calculate the Cost of Owning and Operating Your Current Vehicle

The Vehicle Cost Calculator is provided by the U.S. Department of Energy. Please note that sample results are based on national and state averages and are provided as examples only.

Actual costs will vary depending on vehicle type, personal driving behavior, and fueling costs.

Use the online Vehicle Cost Calculator to tailor results to your specific driving behavior and current gas prices in your area.

See all Vehicle Cost Calculator assumptions here.

Visit PlugStar’s Research a Car for detailed electric vehicle cost calculators based on state and regional conditions.

Sample results:


Incentives to Help You Purchase an Electric Vehicle

The costs to purchase a new EV are expected to be the same as the costs to buy a comparable conventional vehicle by 2025. In the meantime, a number of consumer rebates and incentives are available to reduce the purchase price of EV models.

State and federal incentives can provide as much as $14,500 in rebates and tax incentives per vehicle, making the cost of EV models competitive with their conventional vehicle equivalent.

2024 Federal EV Tax Credit Information

Understanding the federal EV tax credits for new and used EVs

Grant programs or rebates that reduce the sticker price are best to lower the upfront purchase costs, including the California Clean Vehicle Assistance Program and California Clean Fuel Reward, when available.

Beginning on January 1, 2024, the New Clean Vehicle Tax Credit (30D) and Used Clean Vehicle Tax Credit (25E) will be available at the time of sale from your local dealer because the tax credit can be transferred to the dealer. This means that if you meet the income requirements when you purchase an eligible EV or PHEV, you get the full amount of the tax credit up front. Depending on the vehicle, you could get $3,750, $4,000 or $7,500 off of the purchase price. This money can even be used as a down payment on the vehicle.

Support for Low to Moderate Income Residents

The San Diego Clean Cars 4 All Program provides grants to help income-qualified residents retire their old vehicles and replace them with zero or near-zero emission vehicle or transit cards. Depending on income and mobility options, participants can receive up to $12,000 for the purchase of an eligible new or used vehicle or the lease of an eligible new vehicle. Participants can also opt-in for transit cards instead of vehicles.

The MAAC Electric Vehicle Access Program offers support to low and moderate income San Diego county residents to apply for incentives and rebates of up to $11,000 to lower the purchase price of pre-owned and new EVs as plug-in hybrids. MAAC has partnered with Beneficial State Bank to guarantee low-interest rates that start at 3.99% for participants with a FICO score as low as 550. MAAC has also partnered with the Beneficial State Foundation to expedite Clean Vehicle Assistance vouchers to 75 income-eligible San Diego residents. The MAAC EV Access Program is not currently enrolling new participants. You can add your name to a waitlist for when enrollment re-opens. See the Program website for details.

Search for Incentives

From federal tax credits and state rebates to affordable financing and grants for low-income residents, many incentive types are available to help you purchase an EV. We encourage you to review each available program to see if you qualify. When using the incentive search, create a PlugStar profile to discover what vehicle incentives are available to you based on your household income, federal tax liability, and other characteristics specific to you.

Charger Incentives

The average cost of a Level 2 EV charger for your home can range from $400 to $6,500, depending on the hardware. Incentives, if available, can help make the cost more affordable.

Once you’ve selected an EV charger, you can utilize San Diego Gas & Electric’s special EV Time-of-Use pricing plan to save money on home charging. When you use this plan, you can program your EV to charge when electricity rates are lowest, typically at night.

Multifamily Property Owners

EV parking at an apartment

If you’re a multifamily residence property owner, often there are incentive and rebate programs to help you bring EV charging to your residents. These programs, which are typically competitive applications and require pre-planning, provide funding for EV charging infrastructure at multi-unit dwellings.

While some of these programs may be currently inactive, we encourage multifamily property owners to become familiar with the program requirements as they could be renewed or similar opportunities to fund chargers could become available in the future.

If you are a resident of a condo, apartment, or other multifamily residence, you are encouraged to share this information with your property owner to help bring EV charging to your community.