Are electric cars worth it? 12 EV myths, debunked

Author profile picture

Susan Meyer

Senior Editorial Manager

  • Licensed Insurance Agent — Property and Casualty

Susan is a licensed insurance agent and has worked as a writer and editor for over 10 years across a number of industries. She has worked at The Zebr…

Author profile picture

Beth Swanson

SEO Content Strategist

  • Licensed Insurance Agent — Property and Casualty

Beth joined The Zebra in 2022 as an Associate Content Strategist. She is a licensed insurance agent whose goal is to make insurance content easy to r…

Find the right insurance for your electric vehicle.

Location pin icon
No junk mail. No spam calls. Free quotes.

The electric vehicle debate

There’s more conversation around electric cars than ever before. With over 1.5 million electric vehicles (EVs) on the road today, consumers are becoming increasingly excited about the ever-growing options for eco-friendly cars.[1]

There has been a lot of conversation circulating about electric vehicles after California introduced a state law banning the sale of new gas cars after 2035. This law is an effort to fight climate change and reduce the demand for fossil fuels. This ban will affect new car consumers and car manufacturers in the state.[2]

On a federal level, the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 came with new guidelines for who could qualify for the Clean Vehicle Tax Credit. The U.S. government is offering incentives for those who purchase electric vehicles and has been for some time. The new legislation includes new guidelines for those who qualify for the credit, such as new income limitations and assembly location requirements (final assembly must take place in North America to qualify).[3][4]

There are also new guidelines for those who purchase a used electric vehicle.[5]

 how new legislation affects buyers

Debunking EV myths

Even as they grow in popularity, EVs are still fairly new to the market, and there is a lot of misinformation out there about them. We’re here to debunk 12 of those myths and give you all the information you need to answer the question that may have brought you here in the first place — are electric cars worth it? 

Myth #1: Electric cars leave a bigger carbon footprint

 carbon footprint myth

You may have heard that electric cars aren’t good for the environment since the electricity that charges them creates power plant emissions, which don't outweigh the CO2 emissions caused by gas cars. 

Fact: Electric vehicles typically have a smaller carbon footprint than gasoline cars, even when accounting for the electricity used for charging.

An MIT study shows that — even when considering the total emissions from production — charging and driving the average electric car in the U.S. emits about 200 grams of CO2 per mile. The study also reveals that, on average, gasoline cars emit more than 350 grams of CO2 per mile. While this data was published in 2019, it continues to be the industry standard to this date.[6]

 environmental benefits of an electric car

Myth #2: Electric cars don’t have enough range

 electric vehicle range myth

One of the biggest EV concerns is about the range of the vehicle. This has contributed to a myth that electric cars don’t offer enough mileage per charge, even for daily commuting. 

Fact: Electric cars offer enough range for the average daily commuter. The average American commutes about 41 miles per day, and a full charge on an all-electric vehicle offers well over that.[7]

According to data made available in December of 2022, the average electric vehicle has a range of 211 miles.[8]

Myth #3: Charging stations are not readily available

While it is true that electric cars require access to a charging station, a common misconception is that charging stations are not readily available for the average American. 

Fact: There are about 49,000 charging stations across the nation that are for public consumption — and the number continues to grow.[9]

Fact #2: Most EVs can be charged with a standard 120 Volt (Level 1) outlet at home. At-home fast-charging stations may require the help of an electrician since they require a dedicated 240 Volt (Level 2) outlet. 

Myth #4: Battery manufacturing is worse for the environment than gasoline cars

 battery manufacturing myth

When it comes to manufacturing of lithium batteries, there are a few concerns raised by EV skeptics, which include:

1. Greenhouse gas emissions associated with battery manufacturing. Greenhouse gases are created by human activity and trap heat in the earth’s atmosphere, which contributes to climate change. The manufacturing process of EV batteries can emit CO2 into the environment, so it’s a common belief that it’s more harmful to the environment to manufacture the car’s battery than it would be to simply drive a gasoline-powered vehicle. 

Fact: The greenhouse gas emissions associated with EVs are typically lower than those from an average gasoline-powered vehicle, even when accounting for manufacturing.

Even if the manufacturing process of an electric car creates more emissions at first, the emissions saved over the lifetime of an electric car far outweigh the emissions caused by gasoline-powered vehicles.

2. The impact of lithium mining on wildlife and ecosystems. There are growing concerns over the effect that lithium mining has on wildlife. A study published in March 2022 suggests an increase in lithium mining leads to a decline in surface water, which could leave negative effects on flamingos and other bird species.[10]

Fact: The good news is that further research reveals that birds, specifically the flamingos from the study, are not being harmed, but instead find homes in other nearby water sources. Researchers are now calling on companies to develop more sustainable mining practices as electric vehicles and other battery-powered technology increase in demand.

3. Growing concerns over ethical mining practices surrounding cobalt. Cobalt is a key mineral used to manufacture EV batteries, but whistleblowers have cited concerns with health and safety risks in cobalt mines, as well as the potential abuse of child labor.[11]

Fact: Activists and researchers alike are demanding change in industry-wide practices, calling upon government officials and major battery manufacturers to place a ban on the trading of tainted cobalt.

Myth #5: I won’t save money since my electric bill will go up 

 electricity bill myth

It’s true that your electric bill is likely to go up if you plan to charge your vehicle at home. But many still worry that switching from a gas-powered vehicle to an electric car will cost more in the long run.

Fact: Gas prices are more expensive and volatile than electricity. 

Let’s do some math. The average person drives about 14,200 miles per year, and the average fuel economy on a car is about 27 miles to the gallon. Assuming gas prices are roughly four dollars a gallon, your total gas cost per year exceeds $2,000. 

Now let’s compare it to electricity. An efficient EV can go about four miles per kilowatt-hour, with the average price of one kilowatt being 10.63 cents, leading us to assume you’d pay around 2.7 cents per mile. When you multiply that amount by the average miles driven per year (just over 14,200), you’d pay $383.40 per year in electricity. That’s over $1,600 in savings.

Myth #6: The grid can’t handle too many new electric cars

You may have heard that the power grid will not be able to handle hundreds of thousands of cars being charged all at once. However, when taking into account when people charge their electric vehicles (typically at night) there is very little need for concern.

Fact: Most electric vehicles get charged at night during off-peak hours when power demand tends to be the lowest.

According to a study by McKinsey & Company, the projected growth in e-mobility will not drive an immediate or substantial increase in total electrical grid power demand. We can also note that, as technology improves, our grid becomes more optimized. As of right now, there is no need for new power plants shortly, even as we add more EVs to the grid.[12]

Myth #7: Electric cars are not as safe as gasoline-powered

Gas-powered cars go through extensive safety testing before heading to market. Some skeptics are under the impression that electric cars are not well-tested for safety before hitting the market. This impression stems from the uncertainty behind an electric car’s battery and the risk of electrocution if the car is involved in an accident.

Fact: All light-duty cars and trucks sold in the United States must meet the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards and, therefore, must undergo an extensive testing process on everything from controls and displays to the flammability of interior materials. All vehicles must pass every extensive test regardless of whether the vehicle operates on gasoline or electricity.[13]

The public is also concerned about the fire hazard that a lithium-ion battery poses on an EV in the event of a collision. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration conducted a study in 2017 and concluded that the frequency and severity of fires and explosions from lithium-ion battery car batteries are comparable to or even slightly less than those for gasoline or diesel-powered models.[14]

Myth #8: Electric vehicle batteries will end up in landfills

 ev battery landfills

It’s no secret that lithium-ion batteries won’t last a lifetime. Naturally, there are worries that the batteries will end up in a landfill once the battery no longer serves the car. But think again. Over the years, companies have been recycling old car batteries and they can continue to do the same with EV batteries. 

Fact: Lithium-ion EV batteries can be recycled, just like 99% of the batteries found in conventional, gas-powered cars.[15]

The power cells featured in an electric vehicle can store solar and wind energy. Recycling companies can also break down the battery to access the valuable raw materials within. These materials will then be sold back through the marketplace to produce new batteries.

Myth #9: Electric cars are too expensive

When electric cars first came onto the market in the late 2000s, they were seen as a luxury — especially due to their high price tag. But there are exciting shifts taking place in the electric car market that could lead to more affordable options.

Fact: Incentives like the Federal Clean Vehicle Tax Credit will pay you a portion of the money you spend on purchasing an electric car. 

Many states like California, Colorado, Maryland and Florida offer incentives, rebates and other programs to help you purchase and maintain an electric vehicle. So make sure to double-check what kind of incentives are available in your state before purchasing your next car.

Myth #10: EVs only come in sedan models

In the early days of electric cars, you would only find sedan models since the lighter build allows the electric engine to go further. Car manufacturers are making new improvements across the world to bring electric engines to all types of car models.

Fact: EVs are currently made as sedans, crossovers, SUVs and even trucks. 

Here are just a few examples of non-sedan electric cars available now: 

  • Nissan Ariya (Crossover) 
  • Chevrolet Bolt EUV (SUV) 
  • Ford Rivain (Truck) 
  • 2023 Hyundai IONIQ  (SUV) 
  • Hyundai Kona Electric (Crossover)

Myth #11: There isn’t enough lithium to make EV batteries

 lithium battery myth

You might be concerned about lithium mining since it is still a nonrenewable resource that is needed to produce electric car batteries. Let’s take a look at the facts about our lithium stores. 

Fact: Lithium is found worldwide in various geographical pockets, (about 24% of it exists in North America). We won’t be as dependent on any one global region for lithium the way we are for gasoline.

However, the World Economic Forum suggests that the world could face lithium shortages by 2025 due to the increased demand for EVs. Other factors could lead to issues, such as water shortages: water is used in the lithium extraction process. 60% of the world's lithium stores are found in the "Lithium Triangle" of South America, which already faces consistent drought, making things more complicated when it comes to accessing lithium. [16]

Myth #12: Electric cars can’t charge with clean energy

Solar energy is the most prevalent renewable energy source found in people’s homes right now. So it’s common that you’d want to charge your eco-friendly car with your eco-friendly energy sources.

Fact: Solar energy can be converted into electricity for your car, although it may not have the capacity to charge your car all the way.'


EV’s may indeed require that you use energy from the grid. However, that should not persuade you to only consider a gas-powered vehicle. The carbon footprint of an electric car, even when solely charged using grid energy, is still considerably less than a car that runs on gasoline.

What Are The Disadvantages of Electric Cars?

As with everything, there are a few disadvantages to an electric car. One main disadvantage is that they don’t yet have quite the same range as gas-powered cars. While an electric car is more than suitable for daily commutes, it may not be the best choice for someone who takes frequent road trips, especially if there are no charging stations along the way. 

Another drawback is that electric cars take a long time to charge when using a standard Level 1 outlet. It can take eight hours to charge up to 36 to 40 miles. When upgrading to a Level 2 outlet, the car can charge from empty to full in about four hours. The fast-charging station you see in parking lots can charge from empty to about 80 percent within 20 minutes to an hour.

Insuring an Electric Car

You might also wonder what the insurance looks like on an electric car. It’s true that new cars are typically more expensive to insure. But what about insuring a new electric car?

When we look at electric vehicle insurance, it will ultimately depend on the make and model. For example, a luxury car like a Tesla will be more costly to insure than a Nissan Leaf.

Is It Really Worth Buying an Electric Car?

Even after clearing up these common misconceptions about electric cars, you may still wonder: “Are electric cars worth it?” 

We suppose it depends on what is most important to you when looking for a car. In the end, eco-consciousness and saving money on gas are motivators for people to switch to electric cars, and the technology is only getting better. So while you may not be ready for an electric car now, you shouldn’t completely rule out the possibility of an electric car for your next vehicle. 

Ready to browse and shop auto insurance policies for your electric vehicle? Compare auto insurance policies now.

 are electric cars worth it infographic

  1. Current EV registrations in the US: How does your state stack up and who grew the most YOY? Electrek

  2. Governor Newsom Announces California Will Phase Out Gasoline-Powered Cars & Drastically Reduce Demand for Fossil Fuel in California’s Fight Against Climate Change.

  3. Inflation Reduction Act of 2022. IRS

  4. Credits for new clean vehicles purchased in 2023 or after. IRS

  5. Used Clean Vehicle Credit. IRS

  6. Mobility of the future. MIT

  7. 15+ Average commute time statistics [2023]. Zippia

  8. Range of full electric vehicles. EV Database

  9. A Comprehensive Guide to U.S. EV Charging Networks. U.S. News & World Report

  10. Climate change and lithium mining influence flamingo abundance in the Lithium Triangle. The Royal Society Publishing

  11. The dirty secret of electric vehicles. World Economic Forum

  12. The potential impact of electric vehicles on global energy systems. McKinsey & Company

  13. Part 571: Federal motor vehicle safety standards. Code of Federal Regulations

  14. Lithium-ion Battery Safety Issues for Electric and Plug-in Hybrid Vehicles. NHTSA

  15. Recycling lithium-ion batteries from electric vehicles.

  16. The world needs 2 billion electric vehicles to get to net zero. But is there enough lithium to make all the batteries? World Economic Forum

  17. Charging Your EV With Solar Panels and Using the EV Tax Credit To Lower the Cost.