Use a timer to plug in your vehicle

plugging in

Plugging in your vehicle doesn't have to drive up your electric bill


  • To watch a short video on how to program a timer:  click here


  • To calculate what it costs to plug in a vehicle (or two) and consider the savings when using a timer:   click here


A well-maintained vehicle needs only two to four hours of heating time to start. By using a timer and programming it to come on two to five hours before you need to leave home, you could save up to $45 a month on your electric bill.

Plug-in timers can be purchased locally for about $20 each (hard-wired timers are about $50 each) and only take a few minutes to program.

Note:  When the temperature reaches 20 below zero or colder, you may want to increase the amount of time your car is plugged in, but generally not more than four hours.

Energy-saving plug-in options:

  • Timer:  Programmable to turn the electricity to your vehicle on and off at the times you choose.  (This can be a hard-wired or manual variety.)

  • Switched Outlet:  Wired to your head bolt outlet, it's a light switch inside your home that allows you to control the electricity to your vehicle without going outside.  


Typical engine preheating wattages

  • Midsize vehicle...........600-1000 watts

  • Large car or truck.....1000-1500 watts

Use this formula to compute the cost to plug in your vehicle:

     (Total watts / 1000) X hours used X 20¢ = Cost

Based on 600 to 1,500 watts, the cost range to plug in is 12¢ to 30¢ per hour. If you plug in overnight (e.g.10 hours), that calculates out to $36 - $90 a month.

A well-maintained vehicle only needs 2-5 hours of heating time to start (4-5 hours for diesels). Depending on your vehicle and heater type, heating your vehicle for only the required time can reduce your cost down to $18 to $45 per month.  

Use one of the money-saving devices listed above to make plugging in more economical. 

To learn more ways to save, click here.


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