Electric vs Petrol Cars


With pressure mounting all the time to reduce our carbon footprint, and the constant rise of petrol and diesel costs, there are more and more reasons to trade in your gas guzzler or petrol burner for an Electric or Electric Hybrid car, For some though, there’s nothing that can compare to the raucous throttle of an unadulterated petrol car. Below, we take a look at some of the pros and cons of running both types of vehicles, with the hope of discovering which one, on balance, is best to have in the driveway. For the purposes of this article, we are going to categorize electric hybrid vehicles, which operate under the power of both an electric motor and a conventional petrol motor, as an electric vehicle.

The first thing to consider is of course the cost of owning the vehicle. The bottom line here is that electric vehicles cost more to buy. It is new technology, they are not being manufactured at quite the same volume, and they often combine both an electric motor as well as a standard petrol driven motor, meaning that there is simply more work going into their production. A great example in the difference in price is the Honda Jazz price list. Currently, the base Jazz costs from £11,605, whereas the hybrid version of the same car will set you back a significant £16,330 before additions. Consider as well that the fully electric Nissan Note will cost you close to £30,000 even after government driven incentives.

Clearly then, if you are only considering the initial outlay involved if you are buying a new car, then you would choose a normal petrol or diesel driven vehicle every time, but as we all know, the initial expenditure only tells a part of the story.

At the moment, it is costing more and more money to be able to travel freely in the United Kingdom. Despite the implications on the world for a higher consumption of fuel, public transport is only getting more expensive, which means many people feel that driving is their only choice. The cost of petrol and diesel is rising so rapidly that it is having a significant impact on people’s finances on a daily, weekly, and even yearly basis. Because of this, it means you have to look at the comparative costs of driving an electric hybrid vehicle against running a normal car.

Today’s average prices as being £1.42 and £1.47 for unleaded and diesel fuel. Of course, if you drive a hybrid car then you will still have to spend money on unleaded fuel, but because the car shifts to the electric engine once it gets up to speed, the amount of money spent on fuel is significantly lower with a hybrid vehicle. Because hybrid electric engines charge themselves whilst the car is in motion, you don’t have any electric costs to consider. The Toyota Prius has a combined fuel consumption figure of 72.4 mpg, which is incredible when you compare it to the average fuel consumption of a normal petrol vehicle. It has to be said though, that some family petrol cars also return reasonable returns on their miles to the gallon, and it is not all that out of the ordinary these days for a petrol driven family motor to return a combined cycle of upwards of 40 miles per gallon. Bearing both of these figures in mind, it doesn’t take a genius to work out that you are going to have to an awful lot of miles, over a large amount of years, before you even start to make the money back on your investment of buying an electric hybrid car.

Of course, the decision doesn’t always come down to price. Sure, there has to be something there as a financial incentive. Clearly, although it might take you a long time, it is possible to recoup some of the money it takes to actually purchase a hybrid car through the good value offered in terms of fuel consumption. Perhaps more importantly though, buying a hybrid vehicle such as a Prius, or perhaps going the whole hog and stumping up the cash for the Nissan Leaf Pure electric vehicle allows you to make a car purchase not just on the condition, style, affordability and quality of the vehicle itself, but also on the assumption that buying the vehicle is going to in some small way help the earth which we inhabit. The purchase of an Electric or Hybrid Electric car can be a moral one, and many people would argue that even having to stump up a little more cash in the long term should not be of detriment to the driver with a moral conscience.

So which is better? Beauty as ever is in the eye of the beholder! It’s perhaps price versus environmental impact at the moment, but the more electric and electric hybrid cars being manufactured, the closer we will be to a point at which there is even a debate to be had.