illustration of a car with a ruler

A 33-country study tallies up the difference in “fuelling” costs between electric vehicles and internal combustion engines with some encouraging findings if you aren’t filling up at the pump

Editor’s note: This story was corrected to reflect the correct date of the NRCan report, which is 2009, not 2016.

For Canadian EV drivers, $87.12 can go a long way. In fact, it could go more than four times the distance covered by gas-based vehicles.

This statistic was released as part of a new study, EV vs. Petrol Range, from Uswitch, a U.K.-based price comparison service that focuses on energy, personal finance, insurance and communications. The study says, in Canada, a Nissan Leaf Plus (known as the Leaf e+ in Europe) could travel up to 5,511 kilometres on $87.12 (£50) worth of “fuel,” compared to 1,050 kilometres for a gasoline-powered Volkswagen Golf — a difference of 4,462 kilometres.

Natural Resources Canada data from 2009 — the most recent available — said in that year the average Canadian drove 16,249 kms. Based on Uswitch data, that means a Canadian Leaf driver could spend just $256.13 per year on charging, while a Golf driver could spend $1,347.77 in gas. The study does not account for fuel and electricity charge price differences between provinces.

“As the motor industry tries to move away from petrol and diesel, this study shows how economical running an electric car really is,” said Joel Kempson, the Uswitch study’s author, in his findings.

“Electric vehicles are much cheaper to recharge than the cost of filling up your tank, so even though they won’t take you as far as a petrol car, owning an EV could make better sense for your finances — especially for city-centre driving, where you can even escape road tolls in many cases.”

Study quantifies savings

The EV vs. petrol study ranked Canada 10th out of 33 Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development countries surveyed. The study methodology compared two mid-sized hatchbacks: the electric Nissan Leaf e+ and the gasoline-powered Volkswagen Golf. The participating countries in the study were chosen because they all sold the two vehicles used in the study.

This data not only shows how efficient EVs are for travel but adds to the electric mobility industry’s overall efficiency portfolio.

“It will be interesting to see how the adoption of EVs progresses as more drivers wise up to the savings that can be made. It’s not just the fuel costs — electric cars are currently exempt from vehicle tax, and some councils have savings schemes in place,” says Kempson.

“When it comes to insuring an EV, there is a common misconception that it can be a pricey part of ownership. However, as more motorists opt for an EV and repair costs fall, the insurance market will correct itself and we should see prices drop too.”

In Canada, the expense is also offset by EV purchase rebate programs, such as those recently announced in New Brunswick and Newfoundland and Labrador. In total, six provinces and two territories offer jurisdictional rebates in addition to the federal rebate which applies nationally. Some of the provincial and territorial incentives extend to used electric and hybrid-electric purchases.

Other countries listed in Uswitch’s top 10 include Austria, Norway, Sweden and the number one country for savings, Lithuania.

• Uswitch’s detailed findings.

  1. My Honda Clarity Plug-in Hybrid in the summer gives me 100 km all electric range city driving for 98.4 cents Canadian (12 hrs overnight charging @ 8.2 cents per kw/hr.), compared with my former 2011 Hyundai Sonata that was 12l per 100 km in the city. At a gas price of Can $1.35 per litre that’s Can $16.20.
    1/16 the cost. Phenomenal difference.

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