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Electric car ownership is the cure for range anxiety, study shows

However, AAA's study found EV ownership is slightly more expensive than a comparable gas-powered model, even after fuel savings.

2019 Chevrolet Bolt EV
EVs aren't so scary.

I've heard it, you've heard it and anyone remotely familiar with electric cars has heard it: range and charging anxiety. It's the fear of running out of charge while driving, or not finding a proper plug to juice up the car before hitting the road again.

Well, here's a not-so-shocking revelation: Owning an electric car actually eases those anxieties. AAA released its latest EV study on Wednesday and it found car buyers shouldn't dismiss battery-powered cars until they actually live with one.

After surveying 40,000 electric vehicle owners, plus another 1,000-plus plug-in hybrid owners, AAA concluded that owning an EV is the best prescription for the unknown factors surrounding them. In total, 71% of those surveyed were first-time EV buyers, and 96% of them said they would shop for another EV. Don't knock the EV life until you try the EV life.

Nick Miotke/Roadshow

More fun stats about those first-time EV owners: 43% of them said they drive more now that they own an EV, though 78% also had a gasoline-powered vehicle at home as well. Yet, 87% said the EV is the go-to choice of transportation in their household.

As for the anxieties surrounding EV ownership, 57% of Americans think they'll run out of range while driving, and 58% believe there aren't enough places to charge an electric car. Fair points: Infrastructure for charging battery-powered vehicles can't touch our wide network of gas and diesel stations.

However, 95% of EV owners reported they have never run out of range while driving. On average, 75% of owners just charge their cars at home. Think about it: If you make the investment and, at a minimum, install a Level 2 charger, the car should always be nearly topped off. It's rare someone will blow through an entire, say, 200-mile range in one day. The average EV driver goes 39 miles per day.

Knowing this, AAA asked if after owning an EV they felt better about these fears. The majority, 77%, said yes and were less or no longer concerned about range.

Andrew Krok/Roadshow

It wasn't all pretty, though. In fact, the study found EV ownership is, on average, a little more expensive than owning a gasoline-powered car. This scenario looks at a compact EV and a comparable compact car, so don't blow up with comments comparing SUVs to an EV. That's different.

The overall cost of owning an EV was about $600 more than a comparable gasoline-powered car over five years, though fuel costs were far lower. The electricity needed to drive 15,000 miles per year cost $546 on average. Fueling up a similarly sized car and going the same 15,000 miles cost $1,255. Maintenance costs were also lower for electric cars.

EV life is obviously an adjustment, but with more information, perhaps consumers can make a better informed decision. At a minimum, maybe we can start to dispel associated worries.

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