The Costs of Owning an Electric Scooter: Cheaper than a Car?

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The Costs of Owning an Electric Scooter: Cheaper than a Car?

Electric scooters are a fun and easy way to make your commuting more environmentally friendly, but are they also budget-friendly? Cars have been the industry leaders for private transportation for a century, but they can be incredibly expensive. Electric scooters might be a more economical choice when you break down the costs. Here’s what you need to know about the costs of owning an electric scooter, and how they might be cheaper than owning a car.

The Costs of Owning a Car

According to the popular budget and money management company NerdWallet, the average annual cost of owning a relatively new vehicle that sees regular use is roughly $10,700 as of 2022. However, this may not consider the initial costs of buying a car and may not cover lifetime maintenance costs. 

Initial costs

The average cost of a new car in 2022 was around $47,000. For a used car, you could expect to pay slightly less, at $33,000. This is largely attributed to the rising cost of inventory and inflation, especially in the United States.

After buying the car, though, you’ll have to register it and pay your taxes for it. This includes the actual vehicle registration fee (the fee for filing your insurance and proof of purchase with the state), the dealership fee if you happen to buy your vehicle at a dealership, the cost of getting your driver’s license, and the tax rate for your vehicle (which is an annual recurring cost). On average across the United States, this is about $2,781 for a new vehicle or $2,081 for a used vehicle (with about $100-$300 in renewal fees annually).

Initial investments for owning a car are incredibly high and likely to only go up from here.


The most common fuel type for cars in the United States is gasoline, which averages around $3.60 per gallon nationally as of writing. If the average vehicle has a 12-gallon tank and you fill it roughly once every ten days (in line with national averages), then you’re spending about $130 in gas per month. That’s $1,560 per year. 

If you drive a diesel vehicle, you’re spending even more. Diesel costs on average around $3.90 per gallon as of writing, meaning, if you’re using the same size tank and filling it just as often as you would a gas vehicle, you’re spending around $140 per month and $1,685 annually. 

What about electric vehicles? The cost to recharge an electric vehicle at a public charging station is roughly $12 to $16, which sounds good until you realize that you’ll need to recharge your electric car about 2-3 times per week, costing a total of $36-$48 per week or $1,872-$2,496 annually. This can of course be factored into your monthly electricity bill if you are charging at home, though this does require a home charging station, which may incur extra costs.


Maintaining a car varies in difficulty depending on a couple of factors, including the age of the vehicle and your location. Generally, though, you’ll be paying regular maintenance costs for things like oil changes and tire rotations. NerdWallet estimates that the average car owner pays about $121 per month in maintenance costs for a new vehicle. 

That being said, you will also need to make larger repairs every few years or every 10,000 miles or so. These might include new tires, air filter replacements, and brake pad replacements. Assuming you only need these done every five years or so, the total cost to replace all of these can vary from about $330 to upwards of $1,450.

You might also have major unexpected costs like flat or blown tires, transmission concerns, weather damage, overheated engines, failed batteries, broken starters, or even collision damage. These can cost several thousand dollars each in repairs depending on the severity of the issue or may total the car completely. Thankfully, many major costs are covered by warranties from car manufacturers, but they can be incredibly costly if the warranty runs out or is voided for any reason.


Insurance is legally required for all vehicles in the United States and in many countries. The cost depends heavily on the kind of coverage you’re looking for as well as your driving record and credit history. Nerd Wallet provides this helpful chart with averages. 

Driving and credit history

Average annual cost of full coverage

Average annual cost of minimum coverage

Good driver with good credit



Good driver with poor credit



Driver with an at-fault accident and good credit



Driver with a recent DUI and good credit



Lifespan and Total Costs

According to most modern research, the average car in America will last its driver around 12 years or 200,000 miles. If your car is really well-maintained and new when you buy it, though, it might last as many as 300,000 miles and/or upwards of 20 years. This is fairly rare, however, and requires diligent daily maintenance and regular mechanic visits throughout its lifetime. 

So, if we consider the average car to be new on purchase, gas-powered, with minimum insurance coverage for a driver with a good record and good credit, and with an average lifespan of 12 years (assuming it stays within warranty the entire time), the total lifetime cost of owning a car in the United States comes out to about $113,561 at the lowest.

The Costs of Owning an Electric Scooter

It’s difficult to find an estimate for the lifetime costs of owning an electric scooter, given that they are a much newer method of transportation than cars. That being said, we can break down the cost into the same categories we used before to compare them on a relatively equal footing.

Initial costs

Scooters generally cost somewhere between $300 and $2,000 depending on the kind of scooter you’re buying. Electric Scooter Insider breaks down the initial cost of buying a scooter using this category chart.


Price Range


$300 – $700


$450 – $1,500


$1,500 – $2,500


$2,500 – $3,500



Whichever style of scooter you opt for, you’ll also need to think about registration and taxes for your vehicle. While these vehicles are exempt from registration fees in some states, it’s a good idea to assume you’ll probably have to register your vehicle and factor in that cost - about $5-$20 depending on your state. You’ll also probably need a driver’s license (though this isn’t always the case), so factor in that cost as well - between $20 and $80, again depending on your state. Always do research for your location to see what specifications you need to meet.


Electric scooters, as the name implies, run via a rechargeable battery that usually comes with a plug or charging station that doesn’t require any kind of special plug-in to work; any outlet will do. Charging that battery to full is often incredibly cheap, ranging from about three cents to $0.39 per charge. 

Let’s assume that you need to charge your scooter before and after your commute every day, giving you a total of four charging sessions per day. This brings your total monthly fuel cost (assuming you use your scooter every day) to about $47 per month maximum. 

Keep in mind that this cost might be slightly higher if you use a public charging station, as they may charge a fee for the use of the facilities.


Of course, an electric scooter is also going to need repairs occasionally, from tightening the stems and replacing the brake pads to tire changes and replacing batteries on occasion. These replacements and tune-ups should be performed by a specialist, but with the appropriate training and knowledge, many minor repairs and replacements can be done at home, reducing their cost to parts only.

Minor repairs like calibration and minor part replacement (like brake pads) tend to cost between $35 and $75, while larger repairs and maintenance - wheel replacements, battery or motor replacements, part exchanges, etc. - can cost between $100 and $500.

So, for a normal scooter’s lifetime, you might expect to pay around $700-$1,000 total for maintenance. 


Most states in the United States don’t require you to have any minimum level of insurance to own and operate an electric scooter. That being said, it’s always a good idea to have some sort of insurance for long-term use vehicles, especially if they’re your regular commuting vehicle. 

Electric scooter insurance costs on average about $20-$30 per month, so $240-$360 per year. 

Lifespan and Total Costs

Unfortunately, the lifespan of an electric scooter is still fairly short as we continue to innovate and improve on them. Currently, the average lifespan of a privately owned electric scooter that’s properly maintained is about 3-5 years. This does mean you’ll have to replace your electric scooter more often than you would have to replace a car, which we’ll take into account with our total cost estimate.

If we consider your average electric scooter to be a mid-range commuter model that is insured and ridden by a licensed rider, that has regular maintenance for its entire lifetime, and is completely replaced twice (for a total of three scooters) over a 12-year period (to make this comparable to the car estimate), the average cost of owning and operating an electric scooter is about $14,300, which is considerably less than the cost of owning a car for that same amount of time with those same factors in mind. 


Obviously, there are different factors to consider when deciding whether owning a car or an electric scooter is the right option for you. You should consider the distance of your commute and the infrastructure available to you, as well as your safety on the road and whether or not you’ll need to take passengers. Make sure you’re choosing the vehicle that’s right for your situation. 

Want to make the switch to electric scooters? Alien Rides has your back. With an impressive lineup of industry-leaders for you to choose from, all vetted by our rigorous quality assurance tests, we’ve got models for every kind of rider to enjoy. Explore our selection today to find the electric scooter that fits your needs.

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