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New Englanders Smacked by Energy Spike, Now Paying More to Charge Cars Than to Fill up with Gas

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Parts of New England have seen power costs soar so much this winter that some drivers of electric and hybrid cars report it's now more expensive to charge them than it would cost to fill their vehicles up with gasoline. 

One of the selling points of purchasing expensive electric vehicles is that the high cost is eventually offset by savings at the gas pump. That's no longer the case at this point in the northeast.

CBS News reports electricity rates across the region have jumped an average of 30% since last summer, while gasoline prices have receded well below their peak in June of 2022. 

slider img 2Web engineer Matt Cain, who lives in Amherst, Massachusetts, told CBS Money Watch he ran a price comparison when his electricity bill shot up in January and found that his overall costs for utilities had climbed a whopping 50%.

"We have a Prius Prime that we normally drive around town, and we drive most of it on electricity. It's now 50% more expensive than fueling it with gas," he said. 

Cain explained to CBS the price hike hasn't changed his driving habits, but it has prompted his wife to charge her car where she works at a local community college. 

"It's not a point of pain for me, but it's something I've noticed," he said.

On the social media platform Reddit, other EV owners noted the rising recharging costs. 

One Massachusetts resident said their power company, National Grid, had raised local electricity prices to 44 cents per kilowatt-hour — three times the national average.

The combination of a global energy crisis, supply constraints and inflation have "put significant upward pressure on natural gas and electricity prices throughout the country," John Lamontagne, a National Grid spokesman, told The Hill in a statement last month. 

"It is being acutely felt in New England and Massachusetts because natural gas is the fuel that drives electricity prices and our region is supply constrained," he said.

"We are in pretty much the same boat in {New Hampshire} and it sucks," said another Reddit user. "Went from an average of $220 a month electric bill... to now close to $400 a month and that's with off-peak charging, and it's supposed to go up again significantly in February."

The price hike caused the user to sign up for a solar array resulting in a monthly bill of about half their current power bill, the user added. 

Several Twitter users also reported electric rates in New Hampshire have increased 117% since last fall.  

New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu (R) tweeted on Sunday about the high electric costs in his state. 

"Lowering electric costs is my #1 priority," Sununu wrote. "New England's governors were up early for a productive meeting, with universal agreement on the need for real short & long-term solutions to provide rate relief. We're moving in the right direction. I'll keep pushing to deliver solutions."

New Englanders are seeing uniquely high EV charging costs because the region currently has the highest electricity prices in the country. At about 28 cents per kilowatt-hour this fall, it's double the national average, according to CBS News

The outlet explained the region's high electricity prices are the result of the rise in the price of methane gas. About 45% of New England's electricity comes from methane. Another 53% comes from natural gas. 

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Tanya Bodell, an energy adviser, and partner at consulting firm StoneTurn told The Hill last month that natural gas prices have not been this high in New England since 2008. 

And the price of these two sources is anything but stable, WBUR reported last fall. Prices of both of these two fuels began to rise after the U.S. began turning its glut of natural gas into liquefied natural gas (LNG) and exporting it.  The European Union began stockpiling LNG after the Russian invasion of Ukraine, driving up demand, according to The Hill

In an op-ed for The Front Page, Daniel Greenfield, a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center, wrote: "Granted, anyone in New England planning to drive an electric car in the winter isn't too bright anyway. And the article urging homeowners to get solar panels is the punchline in that little comedy."

"The Biden administration's refusal to expand supply means that Americans and Europeans are struggling to make do with limited supplies of real energy leading to price surges," he continued. 

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About The Author

Steve Warren is a senior multimedia producer for CBN News. Warren has worked in the news departments of television stations and cable networks across the country. In addition, he also worked as a producer-director in television production and on-air promotion. A Civil War historian, he authored the book The Second Battle of Cabin Creek: Brilliant Victory. It was the companion book to the television documentary titled Last Raid at Cabin Creek currently streaming on Amazon Prime. He holds an M.A. in Journalism from the University of Oklahoma and a B.A. in Communication from the University of