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Is an Electric Car Cheaper to Run Than Petrol?

Author: Samuel Beckingham
Updated: Aug 30, 2022
3 minutes read

Ahead of the energy price cap increase, how does charging an electric vehicle compare to the price of petrol? Both petrol and electricity prices fluctuate, but in these unprecedented times, will it still be economical to refuel using electricity rather than petrol?

In terms of charging an electric vehicle, home charging has always been the cheapest option. Those lucky enough to have off-road parking and a home charging point are better off than those without, by as much as £1,250. The main reason for this being that public charging is subject to a 20% VAT rate, while home charging is currently at 5%. Campaigners have been calling for this to be reviewed if the impact to the general public of going green is to be minimised. With millions of car owners expected to transition to EVs, it wouldn't make sense to put them out of pocket on the way to net zero.

Not only this, but companies have upped their prices for public charging ahead of the October price rise. This means that rates are likely to go up even further. Companies will try to be as competitive as they can, but energy comes at a premium, so they may not be as cheap as they have been in the past.

Zap-Map revealed in a new study that charging prices went up by 13p per kWh in just six months from December 2021. This is only going to increase further as the energy price cap goes up.

Here are the estimated costs for electric and petrol cars. The electricity costs are valued for home charging.


Cost for a full charge/tank

Cost over 10,000 miles










The question of which is cheaper depends on a number of factors, like what kind of car you have, the condition of the battery, charge capacity and what meter rate you’re on.

Octopus Energy is the only energy supplier that offers a discounted off-peak rate for electric cars, but this will most likely go up too. Currently, this sits at 7.5p per kWh between 12.30am and 4.30am. EDF had a similar rate, but pulled it earlier this year. This rate has the potential to keep your fuel costs at 1p per mile.

Public charging points offer four different speeds: slow, fast, rapid and ultra-rapid. Each of them come with their own price, and with the 20% VAT premium attached, will cost you considerably more than home charging.

Petrol does cost more at the moment, but with energy prices going up, the gap is getting smaller. Public charging will be more expensive than a standard petrol car if prices rise much further, which will put more people off going green with an electric vehicle.