The true cost of driving green

When it comes to driving, going green looks to be the future for the UK particularly as there are plans in place to ban all petrol and diesel cars by the year 2040.

What effect would going green and switching to an electric vehicle have on drivers and their wallets?

We’ve looked at the most popular vehicles in each category; petrol, diesel and electric comparing the numbers including initial purchase price, running costs and insurance.

In many cases the initial cost of buying electric is more expensive, for example an electric vehicle is more expensive to buy than a petrol model by over £10,000, but the running costs of electric vehicles are significantly cheaper.

Total cost compared

Total cost compared

Purchasing petrol cars is over £10,000 cheaper on average than electric cars, £9,757 less than buying diesel vehicles.

Over 6 years, electric is the priciest option, with an average of £37,699, compared to £36,698 for diesel and £26,941 for petrol.

The running costs of electric cars are 36% cheaper than petrol and diesel.

Running cost over lifetime (annual)

Running cost of a car over lifetime

While petrol and diesel cars are spending over £700 a year on fuel, electric car users spend just £285.67.

Although electric cars have the highest average outright cost, they save money each year from paying no road tax.

On average, diesel cars are the most expensive to service, costing 46% more than electric.

Over 6 years electric car drivers will spend 36% less on fuel, road tax and car insurance costs, even though over half of drivers are

reluctant to swap due to concerns about cost.

UK charging points

UK City Population Number of charging points People per charging point
East Midlands 4,677,00 1023 4572
East of England 6,076,000 1349 4504
Greater London 8,674,000 4807 1804
North East 2,625,000 929 2826
North West 7,174,000 1431 5013
Northern Ireland 1,875,000 468 4006
Scotland 5,373,000 2850 1885
South East 8,948,000 2786 3212
South West 8,948,000 1673 5348
Wales 3,099,000 629 4927
West Midlands 2,834,000 1119 2533
Yorkshire & the Humber 5,391,000 1049 5139

Making the switch

We asked 1,000 UK car owners to get an idea of their thoughts about electric cars and whether they would consider making the switch from more traditional petrol or diesel vehicles.

In our survey, it was also uncovered that over 60% of vehicle users were unaware of discounts and grants made available by the government to lessen the price of switching. Similarly, just under 2/3 of drivers were uninformed of where they would charge an electric car in their local area. Below we've broken down the cost of driving green – what could you be saving?

Top 3 reasons why people haven't made the switch

What would it take for the UK to make the switch

Sources and methodology

Averages for Petrol cars are based on the top 3 most sold cars of 2018, whilst the averages for diesel and electric are based on the top 3 recommended cars within the article that fall below the average cost of all cars listed in the same article.

The cost of fuel for petrol and diesel cars was calculated by converting the MPG to litres, and using the price of £1.20 per litre. Tax over lifetime is calculated using the first initial tax payment when you register the car, and then 5 of the tax rates for second tax payment onwards.

Average insurance prices is based on taking an average of all age groups listed within the original source. Where the average car service couldn't be found for the specific model, the average basic UK car service was used based on the source outlined. Where different levels of servicing we available, the most comprehensive price was chosen.

Total running costs take into consideration tax, servicing, MOT, insurance and cost of fuel. Cost of fuel for electric cars is based on Real kWh (as listed within the source), with the average electricity cost of 16.5p, based on the average annual mileage of 7900.

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