Why Now, Amid Soaring Gas Prices, Is The Best Time To Buy An Ebike
March 25, 2022
Maybe you’ve been waiting for the right time to purchase an electric bike for full-time use, or even part-time to save money and emissions. Maybe you live in an area where owning and operating a car is just flat-out stressful if not impossible. Or, maybe the recent surge in prices for gas has inspired you to look into additional, more affordable, methods of transportation to use as needed.
Whichever scenario you find yourself gravitating towards, making the decision to purchase an electric bike to avoid filling up your car can feel like an overwhelming one to make. You might be weighing the pros and cons of electric bikes versus cars, thinking about how you’ll park a bike, how to safely lock it, or whether an ebike truly is the more cost-effective way to go given our current climate of shortages, inflation, and more recently, the surge in gas prices.
Allow us to help reduce your sense of overwhelm and the amounts you’re spending on gasoline. We aren’t here to sway you one way or the other (although we know which option we’re choosing!). Instead, let’s compare vehicles to electric bikes by taking a look at the cold hard facts (and prices!), which might help you and your decision-making.
Economic Impacts on Transportation and the Automotive Industry
Inventory Backlog Due to Supply Chain Shortages
According to Kelly Blue Book, the average price Americans are paying for a new car in 2022 has reached a record high: $47,000. This is partly due to ongoing supply chain shortages. From semiconductor chips, also called microchips, to factory seats, shortages in the automotive industry have made new cars impossible to find, and when available, are selling well above the manufacturer's suggested retail price (MSRP). So much so, that a backlog in components and limited new vehicle inventory has even surged prices in the used car market.
Modern vehicles inherently will not work without these microchips, as a car’s safety system and its high-tech features rely on them to function. These components are equally as extensive to produce as they are vital to a new vehicle. According to the Semiconductor Industry Association, an average microchip can take roughly 12 weeks to manufacture. Ones that are more advanced can take up to 20 weeks. Factor in the mass-production and transportation of the finished products, and you’ll see a lead time of about six months. It is evident that until manufacturing can keep up with the demand for vehicles, prices and availability will continue to traject upward.
Inflation Impacting Transportation Costs and Vehicle Maintenance
Inflation skyrocketed 7% in 2021 and is steadily still climbing. As the cost for goods continues to increase (i.e. new and used cars), so too, will the cost to service, maintain, and use. It’s no surprise that vehicles will require more service and maintenance as opposed to electric bikes. Not to mention, how much more costly it will be.
Although cars have a much higher driving range, speeds you can drive at, and overall comfort levels, they can and likely will, require a higher spending capital. Let’s talk through some numbers:
- Car Payment: The average monthly car payment is $644 (new vehicle), $488 (used vehicle), and $531 (lease payment).
- License/Registration/Taxes: A general cost is around $700 annually, although, these costs will vary depending on market prices for vehicles and state and local tax rates.
- Insurance: U.S. drivers pay an average of $1,655 per year for full coverage car insurance.
- Maintenance and Repairs: Although this will vary, the average yearly cost to maintain and repair a vehicle is roughly $1,000.
The 2022 estimated annual average cost to service and maintain a new vehicle is, brace yourself, $11,083. And this value doesn’t include the cost of gas…
As of March 7, 2022, the US national average for gas was $4.10 and climbing, with the highest average gas prices being in California at $5.69. With gas prices surpassing $6 (at the time of writing this article) around Aventon HQ in Southern California, let’s take a hypothetical look at how much the average SoCal person spends on gas commuting to their standard 9-5, five-day-a-week workweek, not including any traffic, stop-and-go, vehicle warmup, errand running, additional travel, social gatherings, or other responsibilities.
The average person commutes 20 miles one-way to work, not factoring in detours or route changes. Their vehicle gets the national average of 24 mpg at $6 per one gallon of gas per SoCal’s current prices.
Driving to and from work totals to an average 40-mile round trip drive daily, not including uncontrolled variables such as changes to their route, traffic, stop-and-go conditions, etc, from Monday to Friday.
40 miles total / 24 miles per gallon = 1.7 gallons used per day
1.7 gallons x $6 mpg = $10.20 per commute
On average, it’ll cost $10.20 to drive to and from work every day, not thinking about any extra gas you burn through in traffic, stop signs, red lights, and all the like. While working days will vary slightly month-to-month, there are an average of 22 working days per month. Let’s first calculate how much gas would cost for one month of commuting to and from work.
$10.20 per commute x 22 days = $224.40 per month
The math from here is fairly straightforward:
$224.40 in gas per month x 12 months per calendar year = $2,692.80 spent on gas annually
The amount this commuter spends on gas solely for work in Southern California annually doesn’t come close to the purchase prices for Aventon electric bikes. When factoring in other use cases for cars, like running errands, short-distance travel, responsibilities, and social commitments, the annual price can easily increase. In fact, according to U.S. Department of Transportation's Federal Highway Administration, Americans drive an average of 13,500 miles a year. When taking the average gas price in their area and multiplying it by the average annual miles driven, American's will have spent anywhere from $2,300 - $3,000 on gas in 2022 alone. Not to mention, the national averages listed above lean generously lower as opposed to the reality of what people are paying for gas in our current culture. Next, let’s take a hypothetical look at how soon an electric bike would pay itself off when only factoring in gas expenses that are reflected in SoCal. Then, you might be convinced that now, more than ever, is the best time to invest in an ebike to avoid these skyrocketing gas prices.
How Soon Will My Aventon Electric bike Pay Itself Off?
Although virtually all of Aventon's electric bikes can be used for commuting purposes depending on an individual's needs and preferences, we’re going to focus on our top three most popular electric bikes to commute to work with. Keep in mind from the above scenario, that the average person commutes about 40-miles, spending $10.20 per commute, 22 times a month. The below information applies to gas prices and usage solely going to work in freeflow traffic; it excludes any other day-to-day vehicle use.
The Aventure is perfect for all-terrain commuting: sand, snow, street, you name it! Priced at $1,999, the Aventure or Aventure Step-through would pay itself off in 197 working days, or 6.5 months if you count the days consecutively, when compared to current gas prices.
Car: $10.20 per commute x 197 commutes = $2009.40 spent on gas
(whereas you could pay off your Aventure ebike in 6.5 months!)
The Level ebike is Aventon’s go-to commuter that's equipped with both fenders and a rear rack. Priced at $1,799, the Level or Level Step-through would pay itself off in 177 working days, or just slightly over 5.5 months, when you compared it to the current cost of gas.
Car: $10.20 per commute x 177 commutes = $1,805.40 spent on gas
(instead, this could’ve paid off your Level ebike in 5.5 months!)
Aventon Soltera 7-Speed
The Soltera 7-speed ebike is Aventon’s lightest ebike, perfect for urban riding. Priced at $1,399, the Soltera 7-Speed or Soltera 7-Speed Step-through would pay itself off in 138 working days, or just 4.5 months in comparison to how much gasoline would cost to fuel a car!
Car: $10.20 per commute x 138 commutes = $1407.60 spent on gas
(the quickest of all, pay off your Soltera 7 in 4.5 months!)
When comparing the cost of gas to commute in a car versus on an ebike, the data speaks for itself. Again, keeping in mind, that the values above are only for gas consumed during a commute and do not include gas for additional driving, car payments, or car maintenance costs. At which point the ebike pays itself off, whether 6.5 months for Aventure, 5.5 months for Level, or 4.5 months for Soltera 7, you’d then be able to continue riding your ebike free of additional gas costs! But that doesn’t mean cost-free. Instead, here’s a breakdown of the routine costs you can expect when you regularly use your ebike: i.e. charging costs!
Electric bike Charging Costs
Calculating how much it costs to charge an ebike is easier than you might think. You’ll need to know both your electricity provider’s kilowatt (kWh) rate is as well as your battery’s capacity measure in kWh. Below are the steps needed to calculate your battery capacity, battery capacity converted into kWh, and lastly determining cost per charge. Following the formulas, we’ve provided an estimate of how much it would cost to annually charge the Aventon Aventure, Level and Soltera 7 based on US average electricity rates. The costs per charge will vary depending on your city, state and electricity provider’s rate per kWh.
- Determine your battery capacity, which is measured in Wh. While most ebike manufacturers provide this information, it can also be calculated by multiplying V by Ah:
Voltage (V) x Amp hours (Ah) = Watt-hours (Wh)
- Convert Wh capacity into kWhs by dividing your ebike’s Wh capacity by 1000:
Wh / 1000 = kWh
- Multiply your battery’s kWh capacity from step 2 by your electricity provider’s kWh rate:
kWh (from step 2) x provider’s cost per kWh = cost to charge your ebike battery
Aventure Charging Costs
The Aventure has a 48V, 15Ah (720Wh) battery that can average roughly 45-miles per charge depending on rider weight, terrain, speed, etc. On average, electricity providers in the US charge roughly 13 cents per kWh. So,
.72 kWh x 13 cents = 9.4 cents to fully charge the Aventure ebike
9.4 cents per day x 365 days per year = $34.31 spent annually to fully charge Aventure
Cost to Charge Level
Level electric bikes have a 48V, 14Ah (672Wh) battery that can average roughly 40-miles per charge depending on rider weight, terrain, speed, etc. Electricity providers in the US charge an average of roughly 13 cents per kWh. So,
.67 kWh x 13 cents = 8.7 cents to fully charge the Level ebike
8.7 cents per day x 365 days per year = $31.75 spent annually to fully charge Level
Soltera 7 Charge Rates
The Soltera Seven-Speed electric bike has a 36V, 10Ah (360Wh) battery that can average roughly 40-miles per charge depending on rider weight, terrain, speed, etc. US electricity providers, on average, charge roughly 13 cents per kWh. So,
.36 kWh x 13 cents = 4.9 cents to fully charge the Soltera 7 ebike
4.9 cents per day x 365 days per year = $17.89 spent annually to fully charge Soltera 7
Which Is The Best Bang For Your Buck?
It’s no surprise that electric bikes are less costly in the long run to use, when compared to vehicles and the current gas prices. While we certainly aren’t here to tell you to ditch your car and seemingly overnight solely rely on an ebike, we are here to point out how equitable and sensible electric bikes can be during these inflationary times.
So whether you’re hoping to ease into breaking up your time spent between a vehicle and an ebike, or to replace one with the other, our goal is to inform you on just how much you can save when you start limiting your trips to the gas station. And that isn’t limited to just finances, but also time spent in your car and in traffic away from friends, family, and hobbies! Although electric bikes may seem like a pricier investment upfront, in the long-run, you’ll pay off your Aventon electric bike in just under 6.5 months worth of gas that you otherwise are continuing to purchase. Which at that point, you’ll be simply paying pennies to charge!