Electric cars cost MORE than petrol for long journeys admits RAC

Georgina Cutler

By Georgina Cutler

Published: 10/01/2023

- 10:09

Updated: 14/02/2023

- 10:23

The cost of charging an electric car has soared by almost 60 percent making vehicles more expensive to run than petrol motors

Topping up an electric car for a long-haul journey is now nearly £10 more expensive than filling a car with petrol, new data reveals.

The cost of charging up an electric car on the road has risen by 58 percent since May, according to the RAC.

Another key reason behind the increased cost, in addition to sky high energy prices, is that VAT is charged at 20 percent on public networks, in comparison to five percent for domestic energy use.

Charging an electric car at home is still a lot cheaper than buying fuel at the pumps, however many drivers are unable to install a charger at home due to not having off-street parking.

A Tesla supercharger point and electric vehicle recharging point sign in London. Picture date: Monday March 7, 2022.
Charging an electric car has risen to 58 per cent on the road
John Walton

New petrol and diesel cars are due to be banned from Britain’s road within years in line with Government plans to reach net zero by 2050.

But critics say the high tax on public electric vehicle charge could threaten the Government’s ambitions.

The RAC said it costs an average of 70.32p per kilowatt hour to rapid-charge a car, up 58 percent from May (44.55p) and 11 per cent from September (63.29p).

Experts say aside from rising electricity costs, the increase could also be down to the infrastructure needed to safely deliver large amounts of electricity.

As a result, to cover 484 miles on a public network, charging costs would be £92.69, which is more expensive than filling a 55-litre petrol car to go the same distance at £83.03.

And using ultra rapid charging increases the cost to £98.59 which is £15.51 more than filling a petrol car and £2.91 more than diesel.

According to campaign group FairCharge, around 16 percent of electric car drivers do not have private parking spaces.

EMBARGOED TO 0001 TUESDAY JANUARY 10 File photo dated 08/03/22 of an electric vehicle being charged. Electric vehicle drivers are being charged more to top up their batteries on long journeys than people behind the wheel of petrol cars pay for fuel, according to new analysis. Issue date: Tuesday January 10, 2023.
A total of 16 percent of electric car drivers can't charge their motor from home
John Walton

It is expected that this will eventually apply to four in 10 drivers as more motorists opt for electric vehicles as the ban on petrol and diesel sales in 2030 looms.

Simon Williams, of the RAC, said: “Our concern is that the extremely high energy prices… have the effect of putting people off using public EV chargers of all speeds altogether.

“Cutting the level of VAT on electricity sold at public chargers to 5pc to match what people pay at home would be one way of keeping prices under control and would show the Government remains committed to doing everything it can to get more drivers to go electric.”

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