You’re likely going to see an electric vehicle’s (EV) mpge on a sticker in dealerships, but what should this number tell you? What does mpge mean? Mpge stands for Miles Per Gallon-Equivalent. This metric was made by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to measure the efficiency of electric, hybrid, natural gas, and hydrogen-fueled vehicles. The mpge rating essentially measures how much energy alternative fuel vehicles consume.
Mpge is meant to highlight the energy efficiency of alternative fuel vehicles compared to fuel-powered vehicles. Since alternative fuel vehicles are much more energy efficient, their mpge score will be numerically higher than the fuel efficiency or miles per gallon (mpg) rating of a conventional, gasoline-powered vehicle. To illustrate this, a midsize sedan with an internal combustion engine typically has a fuel efficiency of 30 mpg, while a Tesla Model 3 has an mpge rating between 113 and 141.
Electric vehicles can effectively use energy to spin the wheels and propel the vehicle rather than losing it as heat. Many electric motors use 90% of available energy to propel the vehicle forward, whereas the bulk of combustion engines use less than 40%.
Meanwhile, less than 40% of the energy available from each gallon of gasoline actually propels the vehicle, leaving more than 60% of that precious fuel to waste through heat loss from the engine and other components.
How Is Mpge Computed?
The amount of energy in a gallon of fuel is comparable to 33.7 kilowatt-hours (kWh) of electricity. How was the EPA able to get this number? A lot of physics and chemistry know-how, probably. We won’t delve into it here.
The more relevant question is how the EPA determines the mpge rating of specific vehicle models. They can answer this question by testing how far an EV travels with 33.7 kWh. Aside from real-world driving numbers, the agency also uses advanced computer modeling.
Mpge vs. mpg
Mpge is a great metric for comparing energy consumption between gas-powered vehicles and EVs. However, it isn’t the best gauge when it comes to knowing how much you’re going to pay for your EV charging. Hence, comparing mpge and mpg is a bit like comparing apples to oranges.
Mpg ratings aren’t just a measure of fuel efficiency, they’re also a measure of how much a person will spend to travel and use their vehicle. A sedan that gets around 35 mpg is generally considered to be fuel-efficient and therefore cheap.
If an EV has an mpge score of 120, this doesn’t necessarily mean that running it will be four times cheaper than a traditional vehicle that gets 30 mpg. After all, the price you have to pay to charge your EV will depend heavily on the cost of electricity in your area. Instead, you should look for a vehicle’s estimated cost to own online. Luckily, EVs don’t just have stickers with mpge ratings, they also show their estimated annual electric cost.
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