How Much Money Can You Save by Riding an E-Bike?

How Much Money Can You Save by Riding an E-Bike?

There are so many advantages to commuting by bike. Many people would say that improving your health and doing your part to protect the environment are both priceless.

But there's one benefit of bicycle commuting you can put a price tag on, and that's the cost savings. Whether you choose a conventional bike or an e-bike, the potential boost to your wallet is huge.

Since e-bikes are booming—and since they make bicycle commuting so easy to do—we'll focus on them in this article. We've calculated just how much money you can save by e-biking instead of driving. The answer: well over $5,000 a year.

How is that possible? We'll break it down for you in this article.

Two Types of Vehicle Costs

First, let's define what we mean when we talk about vehicle costs.

There are two types of vehicle costs: operating costs and ownership costs.Operating costs are how much you have to spend to run the vehicle, and are usually calculated per mile (or km). Ownership costs are long-term costs associated with owning the vehicle.

As it turns out, both the operating costs and the ownership costs for e-bikes are dramatically lower than those for cars. If you're looking for ways to trim your budget (and who isn't?), e-bike ownership is something to consider.

Let's take a look a closer look at each category.

Operating Costs

Operating costs include fuel, maintenance and repairs, parking, and tolls (if any). As you can see from this chart, e-bikes offer significant savings from fuel alone.

Operating Costs for a 10-Mile Round Trip

  Car (Medium Sedan) HSD
Fuel $.931 $.012
Maintenance, Repair, & Tires $.923 $1.04
Parking $1.504 Free
TOTAL $3.35 $1.05

Savings: $2.30

If you replaced one average car trip with an e-bike trip five days per week for one year, you’d save at least $598 per year—likely more, depending on the cost of parking in your area.

Believe it or not, a little over $10 should buy an average commuter enough electricity to charge their e-bike battery for an entire year.

How much gas can you get for $10?

And if you live in a good-sized city where parking comes at a premium, this chart likely underestimates how much you'll save in parking fees and fines (and it doesn't even take into account the value of the time you spend hunting for parking).

Depending on the type and age of your car, you may also save a bit on maintenance. The amount saved on maintenance increases with the age of your car, as older vehicles cost more to keep running.

The cool thing is, operating cost savings from e-biking happen even if you need to keep your car—and the more you ride, the more you save.

If you replaced one average car trip with an e-bike trip five days per week for one year, you’d save around $598 per year. Now that's some solid motivation to ride.

Ownership Costs

What if you want to go one step further and actually use an e-bike to get rid of your car? That could mean going completely car-free or eliminating your family's second car.

To find out how much you'd save, you need to add in the ownership costs of e-bikes vs. cars. Ownership costs include insurance, depreciation, and license, registration, and taxes. Any finance charges you may have also count as an ownership cost.

Here's how the ownership costs break down:

Annual Ownership Costs

  Car (Medium Sedan) HSD
Insurance $1,2515 $2536
License, Registration, Taxes $6617 FREE
Depreciation $3,1698 $5289
Finance Charge $79410 None
TOTAL $5,875 $781

Savings: $5,094

Even if you have no car payment, replacing your car (or your second car) with an e-bike would save you around $5,094 per year.

As you can see,

replacing your car with an e-bike could save you around $5,094 per year in ownership costs (more if you own anything bigger than a medium sedan). 

Pair that with the lower operating costs of riding an e-bike, and all of a sudden you're looking at a lot of extra cash.

How much extra? Well, let's say you sell your second car and use part of the proceeds to buy a Tern HSD. One parent uses the HSD to drop your child off at daycare each day, ride to work, and pick up the child on the way home. The total commute length is 10 miles each day, including all stops. You also use the HSD for biweekly grocery runs and other errands, racking up an additional 5 miles each week.

That means you'd be e-biking instead of driving around 2,860 miles each year, for an operating costs savings of $598. Now add the $5,094 you'd save by not owning a second car, and you get $5,692 per year. Who couldn't use that kind of money?

It's important to remember that these are estimates, and your exact savings will depend on many factors that only you can determine. But if you wanted to, you could sit down and calculate exactly how e-bike ownership will affect your family's budget, using these numbers as a starting point.

And don't forgetwith all the extra exercise you'll be getting, you may be able to cut out your gym membership and a few doctor's visits, too.

Ready to test ride an e-bike? Find your nearest Tern dealer here.


1 Your Driving Costs, by AAA, 2019. https://www.aaa.com/AAA/common/AAR/files/AAA-Your-Driving-Costs.pdf
2 Assumes a battery range of 47.5 miles (midpoint of Tern HSD range), electricity cost of 13.31¢ per kWh.
3 Your Driving Costs, by AAA, 2019.
4 On-street parking for 1 hour.
5 Your Driving Costs, by AAA, 2019.
6 Quote from Velosurance for an HSD S8i.
7 Your Driving Costs, by AAA, 2019.
8 Your Driving Costs, by AAA, 2019.
9 For the S8i, assumes straight-line depreciation over 7-year period.
10 Your Driving Costs, by AAA, 2019.