Is it More Expensive to Run an Electric or Petrol Car?

Electric vehicles are becoming more popular nowadays because of their cost-efficiency compared to fossil-fuel cars. Can you really save a lot by driving an electric car? In this article, let’s explore whether electric or petrol cars are more expensive to run. 

Cost of Driving an Electric Car in the UK

The cost of running an electric car depends on various factors such as its make, model, and the vehicle’s specific features. In a way, it’s much like fuel engine vehicles, too. There’s no single answer as to the cost of driving an electric vehicle. 

However, here’s some good news for you. Electric cars will most likely cost a lot less throughout the course of your ownership. If you look closely, the cost of electricity is much cheaper compared to diesel or petrol. Also, electric vehicles need very little maintenance compared to internal combustion engine cars. 

To add to that, the government also offer grants and schemes, as well as tax discounts and exemptions. If you have an electric vehicle, you’ll most likely enjoy these perks and even drive for free in the Congestion Charge Zone. 

Cost of Charging an Electric Vehicle

The price of charging the car at a charging point varies depending on the network of the charge point as well as its location. Several places give electric car owners a pay per session arrangement for on-street charging stations. If you have a network subscription, you won’t have any problem because you can charge your car for free. 

The cost to charge may also depend on the power rating of the charge point. For example, it may either be slow such as lamp post charging, it could be fast like in car parks, or it could be rapid like in motorway service stations. Rapid charging points charges your car in a short time but it’s usually expensive to choose this option. 

Since rapid chargers can charge an electric vehicle within 20 to 40 minutes, it’s more convenient for you. However, you’d have to pay more. If your journey is time-sensitive, then this is the best option. You can expect to pay about £6 to £7 for half an hour of charging. This will allow you to drive for about a hundred miles. 

Charging Your Electric Vehicle at Public Stations

If you drive a Tesla, there are Tesla Supercharger Networks across the UK. It’s usually free to use for older cars. However, if you are a new Tesla owner and you’ve bought your car after January 1, 2017, then you’re only allowed a certain number of hours that you can charge your car for free. 

Tesla owners get billed 26p per kilowatt-hour. But in some locations, the billing is per minute. If this is the case, there is a tier 1 and tier 2 that needs to be accounted for. Tier 1 is for charging speeds of 60 kW and below,  while tier 2 is for 61kW and above. Tier 1 is about half the cost of charging on Tier 2 speeds. 

There are also Tesla models like the Model S and X that have been ordered before November 2, 2018 that get 400 kWh of credits for the Supercharger network every year. This equates to about a thousand miles. If you’re not sure about the charging credits you should get as a Tesla owner, it would be best to consult the car manufacturer directly. 

But what about for non-Tesla owners? For this, charging fees will depend on the network you’ll be using. You may have to pay fees to register, subscribe, and connect first before you can charge your car. There are also charging cards from major charging networks in the UK that you can use. Some of these cards you can get from ChargeYourCar, Shell Recharge, Ecotricity, GeniePoint, and Polar. 

How About Charging the Car at Home?

Of course, many electric car owners charge their vehicles mainly at home. It’s crucial to be on the best tariff for home energy to ensure that the costs are low. The cost of charging your electric vehicle will be added to your usual electricity bill. 

The charging cost will vary depending on how often and how long you charge your vehicle. Also, the charger type plays a role in the cost. To install a home charge point will cost about £1,000. However, the Office for Zero Emission Vehicles or OZEV provides a grant that can help electric car owners like you in reducing the upfront cost of the installation up to £350. 

Tariff Costs for Electricity

It’s a great idea to shift to an electric vehicle from a fossil fuel-powered car. But before you make that purchase, you may want to consider first how much owning an electric vehicle will add to the cost of your electricity at home. 

Here’s an example, if you have an annual mileage of 8000 miles every year, you would be paying for 2800 kWh of electricity to your annual bill. Remember that 1 kWh is equal to 3.5 miles. So, before you decide, check the best energy tariff for your needs. 

Most energy companies have lower prices during off-peak periods such as during the nighttime when electricity demand on the grid is less. You may also want to consider how long the off-peak periods are so you can choose that tariff and know when the best time to charge your electric car.


If you look at the expenses of owning an electric car, it’s much cheaper in the long run. The downside is you may have to do some adjustments such as installing a charge point in your home, registering to public charging stations, and making a number of computations on the cost of charging an electric car at home. 

If you’re willing to go through all the preparations to own an electric car, then you’re on your way to saving money! But if you’d rather stick to traditional cars, that’s certainly up to you. What’s important is that you’re driving a car that you love and enjoy