Electric vs Petrol Cars: Which is Cheaper?

2 November 2018

What would you spend £2,700 a year on? A really exotic holiday? More meals out? It’s a tantalising proposition that you could make a reality, simply by choosing an electric vehicle and making great savings on your car’s running costs. In this article, we explore:

·         what is a low emission vehicle

·         how far they can travel

·         how long they take to charge

·         the cost saving benefits of electric vehicles

·         hidden petrol and diesel car running costs


What’s the definition of a low emission vehicle?

There are three main categories of Ultra-Low Emission Vehicles (ULEVs):

  1. Battery electric vehicle (BEV) — powered solely by a battery from mains electricity. They generally have a range of 100-200 miles on a single charge.
  2. Plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) — combining a plug-in battery and a petrol or diesel engine. These cars can travel up to 40 miles on electricity alone but can continue to use the petrol or diesel combustion engine to extend the range to over 500 miles.
  3. Extended range electric vehicle (E-REV) — this vehicle turns it’s wheels using a battery-operated motor which can be powered by an electric battery or the internal combustion engine. These vehicles can range from 150 miles on electricity only and up to 300 miles when the fossil-fuelled engine kicks in.

Despite their differences, the one thing all these cars have in common is that they release less than 75 grams of carbon dioxide into the air for every kilometer traveled.

Not sure which will best suit your needs? A good car benefit scheme provider will be on hand to help decide which is right for you.


Long journeys are perfectly possible

If you decide to choose an electric vehicle, knowing where you can charge it is important. With the government aiming for half the UK’s new cars to be electrically powered by 2020, and their intended ban of petrol and diesel car production in 2030, there has been huge investment in electric vehicle technology and infrastructure. And more is being added all the time.

If you’re planning on short, local journeys, installing a charge point at your home address should be sufficient. Early adopters of electric vehicles can qualify for a government grant of up to £500 towards the cost.

Should you want to undertake longer journeys, you can be confident that there are plenty of charging points along your route. Zap-Map helps you locate the UK’s 18,483 connectors in over 6,500 locations so you can plan longer journeys effectively.


Make big fuel savings by moving to electric

One of the major benefits of electric vehicles is how inexpensive they are to fuel in comparison to petrol or diesel cars. It takes just £2-3 to charge an electric car to drive 100 miles, whereas an equivalent petrol or diesel car costs over four times as much, at £9-13 per 100 miles.

Multiply that by your annual mileage and then again by the length of your car agreement and you can see there’s quite a saving to be made.

Tusker tip: charging your electric car overnight could further increase your savings as some energy companies reward ULEV owners for charging off-peak.


Electric vehicles make zone charges disappear

As our air quality deteriorates, more cities are introducing congestion and low emission zone charges to discourage inner-city vehicle use.

Congestion zones

Right now, London is the only UK city operating a congestion zone fee which stands at £11.50 a day. However, vehicles that meet the Euro 5 standard for air quality and emit 75g/km or less of carbon dioxide (ie ULEVs) do not qualify for the charge.

Cities across the UK — including Manchester, Birmingham, Bristol and Southampton — have long talked about implementing congestion zones. As consultations continue, it’s only a matter of time before they’re also introduced, making an electric vehicle a wise choice for the future.


Low emission zones

If you live in, or travel to, London, Brighton, Norwich, Nottingham or Oxford, you probably already know about the low emission zones in these cities. Currently, only larger vehicles are being charged the steep £100-£200 daily fees. But the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, wants to expand the boundaries of the London zone to include the area inside the north and south circulars and extend charges to include cars as early as 2019.

The good news is that by choosing a ULEV, you’ll avoid the £12.50 per day charge on top of the congestion zone charges. That’s a potential daily saving of £24.00, simply by going electric.

Tusker tip: save more cash by checking to see if your council offers free parking or reduced resident parking permits for ULEV owners.


The verdict — electric car running costs vs petrol

Besides the obvious green benefits of electric vehicles, the cost savings in comparison to equivalent petrol or diesel cars is significant. Factor in average fuel costs alone and the typical UK driver could save £1,200 a year. Add in extra savings for congestion and low emission zones and this number jumps to £2,700 every year.

Which means the question you need to ask yourself isn’t, “should I get an electric car?” but, “can I afford not to?”

See the range of low emission vehicles you could be entitled to through Tusker's car benefit scheme. Log in or create your account and start saving today.

Call us: 0333 400 2020

If you would like help placing an order or you are an existing driver.

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