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A quarter of UK drivers believe electric cars are more expensive to run – but they’re wrong

A quarter of UK drivers believe electric cars are more expensive to run – but they’re wrong
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Although electric cars have grown in popularity in the last couple of years, there’s still a fair bit of confusion and a number of misconceptions about these cars. A new study has found that a quarter of UK drivers mistakenly believe that electric cars are more expensive to run than their fuel-powered counterparts.

In this article, we’ll look at the costs of running an electric car and how it can save you money in the long term.

What are UK drivers’ opinions on electric cars?

In November 2020, the UK government announced that it will ban the sale of new petrol- and diesel-powered cars by 2030 – a full decade earlier than planned.

Following this announcement, car retailer Robins & Day conducted a study to establish public opinion on electric cars and their associated costs.

The study found that:

  • 50% of UK drivers plan to switch to an electric vehicle by buying or leasing no later than 2025.
  • 15% of drivers will wait it out until 2030.
  • 66% of respondents feel that price is the biggest barrier to making the switch to an electric car.
  • 76% of drivers believe it is more expensive to buy an electric car than a fuel-powered vehicle.

But perhaps the most interesting finding from the study was that a quarter of drivers (26%) think that electric vehicles are more expensive to run.

That is incorrect. In fact, quite the opposite is true.

How much does it cost to run an electric car?

OK, so even with the government’s plug-in grant of £3,000, electric cars are a bit more expensive to buy than fuel-powered vehicles. However, it’s a whole different story when it comes to the costs of running an electric car.

Robins & Day examined the potential savings that the average UK driver could make by switching from a fuel-powered vehicle to an electric one.

They found that swapping a diesel-fuelled car for an electric model with a similar spec could save drivers £5,200.90 in running costs alone over the next ten years. 

Similarly, switching from a petrol-fuelled car to an electric one could save drivers £4,393.20 in running costs in a decade.

Why is it less expensive to run an electric car?

First, charging an electric car costs less than filling a car up with petrol or diesel. Research actually suggests that you could save £800 to £900 every year on fuel costs by opting for an electric car.

Additionally, electric vehicles are exempt from road tax, which could save drivers up to £2,175 a year.

Also, since they have fewer moving parts, servicing and maintaining electric cars is both easier and more cost-effective. estimates that the maintenance costs of an electric car are about 23% lower than their fossil-fuelled counterparts.

What about insurance?

While most running costs of an electric vehicle are lower than those of a fuel-powered equivalent, insuring an electric car can be more expensive.

This is because the electric car market is still new. Insurers don’t have sufficient historical data to work with regarding the costs of repairs.

However as these cars become more commonplace and as more data on the cost of repairs emerge, premiums are likely to come down.

That’s not to say you can’t get a good insurance deal for an electric vehicle right now. It’s never too early to start shopping around and comparing quotes using comparison sites like MoneySupermarket or GoCompare. This can help you find a suitable deal for your needs.


Contrary to the opinion of a good number of UK drivers, it’s actually much cheaper to run an electric car than a fuel-powered car in the long run.

Switching to an electric car means potential savings of thousands of pounds. And let’s not forget the benefit for the planet. 

But as with any other major purchase, don’t forget to do your research. Make sure it’s the right move for you before parting with your hard-earned cash.

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