While the electric car vs petrol car debate has raged on for some time now, one area of the argument that has never been in doubt is the matter of running costs. Once you get past the upfront ticket price, the short and long-term costs attached to EV ownership are substantially lower than those of traditional combustion engine counterparts. The biggest of those overheads is fuel costs, which sit at roughly a third of the cost of the average petrol car.
However, domestic energy tariffs have seen substantial change for the worse. The energy price cap increased by 54% as of 1 April, with average household bills set to rise by around £700. For EV owners, that means charging costs are on the up, but how badly will that affect overall ownership costs and, perhaps more crucially, EV running costs versus those of petrol and diesel alternatives?
Firstly, how did we get to this point with energy costs?
Energy price rises are affected by increases in wholesale gas prices – i.e. the amount energy firms pay for the gas in the first place. According to Money Helper, energy prices have been on a steep rise since October last year, with gas prices hitting a record high as the world reawakens from the lull of lockdowns, alongside other economic factors.
Secondly, what is the energy price cap that is the underlying cause behind energy price rises?
The energy price cap was introduced at the beginning of 2019 by regulator Ofgem as a method of capping energy prices at reasonable levels for UK households. The energy cap limits how much supplies can charge you per unit of gas and electricity used, so there’s no upper limit to what you can pay. It’s a control placed on the individual unit price.
The cap is reviewed every six months, with the energy price cap in April 2022 surging by 54% due to the factors mentioned above.
With energy prices high, the cost to charge an electric car in the UK will naturally come up too.
But, how much does it cost to charge an electric car? According to Which, typical charging costs for an annual mileage of 9,000 miles can span anywhere from £500-830 a year depending on the size of the EV you own. In light of new energy tariffs, however, charging costs could go up by around £200.
That’s no small figure to consider, but your new total is still likely to be nowhere near that of the fuel costs of a petrol or diesel car. Data analysed by NimbleFins suggests motorists spend an average of £1,272.25 a year fuelling their petrol cars, and £1,683.26 a year fuelling their diesel cars. Furthermore, these figures were based on average mileage figures of 6,300 miles and 9,400 miles respectively, meaning the latter cost for diesel figures is a much closer comparison point to the data from Which.
Of course, it only takes driving by one petrol station to know that fuel prices have absolutely skyrocketed alongside energy tariffs. So, in reality, everyone is now paying notably more, regardless of the type of technology behind their car’s powertrain.
Everyone’s paying more now. While that might offer some rather unsatisfying relief for EV owners, there are ways to bring your charging costs down – although there’s no easy way around what are almost comprehensive energy price rises.
Still, if you’re looking to move frugally while energy prices are soaring, there are a few things you can do:
No matter whether you’re driving electric, hybrid, petrol or diesel, we’re all going to have to stomach some steep fuel costs this summer and beyond. The good news for electric car buyers is that EV prices are steadily dropping all the time. The associated running costs are proportionately still as impressively low as they were before when compared to running a combustion vehicle.
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