Electric Cars Are Still More Expensive to Run Than Petrol Cars

It would seem intuitive that the running costs of an electric car are cheaper than those of a petrol-powered one. The mainstream press have been awash with attention-grabbing headlines claiming that running an electric car is far cheaper than for an equivalent petrol- or diesel-powered vehicle. Most of the headlines would have you believe that even though the initial cost of the EV is substantially higher than a petrol car over a short period, this cost is offset by the cheaper fuel costs.

Go to Tesla’s website and you will find a calculator that shows you the relative savings over time when it comes to fuel consumption. Not so fast, Mr Musk; new research from the MoneySupermarket has come up with some interesting information: across the board, EVs are about GDP10,000 more expensive than a petrol-powered car (like for like).


Compared to a petrol or diesel vehicle, you will save costs on fuel, of course, and also servicing. In fact, owning an EV in the UK right now will save you in the region of GBP710 per year. But considering a six-year ownership period, the average car ownership duration in Europe right now, an average petrol car will cost you a total of around GBP26,900, a diesel will cost you GBP36,698 and an EV will average out at about GBP38,000.

In fact, it will take about 14 years of ownership for an EV to pay you back. There are but a few countries where this is not the case—Norway being one of them—and all of them are in countries where there are incentives to buy an electric car. Forget range anxiety and lack of charging infrastructure; it is the cost of ownership that stops the public from buying into the electric dream.

Electric vehicles are currently more expensive due to the cost of the batteries. Sure, there will come a time in the future when battery cost comes down whilst petrol runs out and becomes more expensive, and the balance of costs is tipped in favour of electrics. For now, though, it would seem that whilst we all know that burning fossil fuel is bad for the environment, very few of us are willing to spend more money making sure that our kids have a place to live in the future.

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