in teh long run, the Total cost of ownership is way less than that "$30K" car.
No it doesn't
Lets take my gas guzzling Crown Victoria Police Interceptor as an example, now I bought it used but I believe they cost around $32,000 new, lets call that $35,000 to be safe and we will assume the life of a car is 100,000 miles
I get about 15 MPG because of hilly terrain, little highway driving and a lead foot. gas is about 3.70 here and has stayed about there for 4 years now but we'll call it 4.25 to offset any unexpected future price increases.
Add in 20 engine oil changes at $40 each for the good stuff
5 air filters at $15 each
3 fuel filters at $10 each
3 sets of 8 brake pads at $80 each because I'm guessing the Tesla's regenerative braking extends the lives of discs and pads so I'll just add all my brake jobs in.
1 set of 4 brake rotors at $350
6 years of Pennsylvania state emissions inspections means that I will be paying $30 more for having to do the actual inspection instead of just getting the exemption sticker.
I get $65,008.33 for the total cost over the life of the car assuming gas hits $5 a gallon in the next few years and you do maintenance more than most people.
Now I like the Tesla but considering the average midsize now gets twice the mileage of my car it is not cheaper in the long run. I will however consider Tesla in the future when they can start bringing their prices down. Until then I'll probably be looking at a Charger R/T or Taurus SHO in 6 years or so when I decide to get a new car.