Hesham Rakha helps weigh the cost options between gas-powered vehicles and electric vehicles
At the start of the fall semester, the national average price of a gallon of gas was over $5.00. With gas prices on the rise, many have wondered if they can save money by using an electric vehicle.
For those who are comparing gas and electric vehicles in terms of sustainability, there are significant differences in this area. Electric vehicles do not have any emissions (assuming electricity is generated from a clean source) and do not require routine oil changes. Overall, according to Dominion Energy, electric vehicles require less preventative maintenance.
However, the New York Times stated that electric vehicles are hard to come by because of supply chain issues and the higher cost compared to gas-powered vehicles.
Despite this, demand is on the rise for electric vehicles and owners are willing to take the challenges, which include finding places to charge them. Dominion Energy says the number of electric vehicle charging stations across Virginia is more than 800. According to ChargeHub.com, only 14 of those are in Blacksburg, Virginia. Moving forward Virginia is getting more than $15 million from the federal government to assist in building a network of electric vehicle charging stations.
However, going green may be worth the extra challenges, wait time, and initial purchase cost, according to Hesham Rakha, Professor in civil and environmental engineering and director of the Center for Sustainable Mobility at Virginia Tech Transportation Institute (VTTI).
“Many people are driving around town each day much more than they are on the freeway,” said Rakha. “While gas vehicles tend to be more energy-efficient on the freeway, electric cars are the opposite. They are more energy-efficient in the stop and go conditions of daily driving.”
Rakha and his research team created a calculator to help those make the decision of cost between gas powered or electric vehicles based on yearly mileage, electricity cost in the area, gas prices, and miles per gallon of the vehicle. You can find this calculator at https://www.vtti.vt.edu/icev-bev-cost/.
Rakha’s additional research work includes the development of calibration methodologies of transportation modeling tools, the development of various energy and emission modeling frameworks, the development of safety modeling tools, and the large-scale modeling of the interdepencies of the communication and transportation systems.