Electric Cars

Record high fuel costs push the charge to electric

The Chancellor might have cut 5 pence per litre off fuel duty in his recent Spring Statement, but that did little to counter the ever-rising bills at the pumps. A recent report stated that drivers are now paying 40 per cent more for a tank of diesel than they were a year ago. Even if you shop around for the cheapest fuel in your area, there’s simply no way that that’s not going to hurt your bank account.

So, are electric cars the answer? It certainly seems so. So far this year, sales of electric vehicles are more than double what they were in 2021, while two thirds of all EV registrations are to businesses in some form or another.

Ah but hang on, say the critics, what about the rising cost of electricity, won’t that counter the cost advantages of running an EV or plug-in hybrid? Just like the cost of petrol going up, the simple answer is yes, the cost of electricity going up will undoubtedly make electrified vehicles more expensive to run. But, and it’s a big but, they’re starting from a much, much lower point than petrols or diesels.


Doing the petrol and diesel maths

So, let’s do some maths – and don’t worry, we’ll keep it simple. Pump prices are fluctuating wildly at present, but for the moment we’ll use an average of £1.65 per litre for petrol and £1.80 per litre for diesel.

Let’s say the average petrol car does 40mpg. That £1.65 is equivalent to £7.49 per gallon, so in fuel costs alone, that equates to 18.7p per mile.

For the diesel car, we’ll take an average of 60mpg and that £1.80 per litre is equivalent to – are you sitting down? – £8.17 a gallon. This time, that works out to 13.6p per mile. These are purely fuel costs we’re looking at remember, not the total running per mile costs of the car.

When you’ve recovered from seeing those per gallon rates of fuel, let’s do the same for electricity. Again, how much you pay per kWh can vary dramatically in terms of your supplier and your area, so we’ll do a number of calculations here?


Doing the electric maths

Let’s take a round number of 30 pence per kWh. Most EVs will do at least 3.5mls/kWh and the best ones can get up to and beyond 4mls/kWh, so we’ll take an average of 3.7mls/kWh (though most EVs should better that, especially in the summer).

At 3.7mls/kWh and 30p/kWh, our typical EV is costing 8.1 pence per mile. However, if your electricity costs 25p/kWh, then that drops to 6.7 pence per mile. And we know we’re quibbling over pennies here, but they all soon add up.

The news just gets better for EVs too. If you can switch your electricity provider to an off-peak EV tariff, then that could see your electricity rate drop as low as 5p/kWh which is the equivalent to 1.4 pence per mile in our typical EV.

On the flip side however, it’s why when you’re charging on the road, it’s so crucial to look for the best chargers and account deals when it comes to your per kWh price – see our feature on EV charging on the road https://tuskercars.com/knowledge-hub/charging-an-electric-car-on-the-road-by-nat-barnes/


Plug-in hybrids aren’t quite as advantageous

For obvious reasons, plug-in hybrids aren’t quite so advantageous compared to full EVs in terms of fuel costs, but when you’ve got 30-40 miles of electric range, therefore it pays to constantly keep them charged. A plug-in hybrid’s electric range might be less than a full EV, but those electric miles will always be cheaper than the ones you do on petrol or diesel.

Either way, it doesn’t take much to see that while electricity rates have gone up, there’s a long way to go before the costs of running an EV will be on a par with petrol and diesel cars.


By Nat Barnes



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