How Much Does It Cost To Run A Car – Electric, Petrol & Diesel

How much does it cost to run a car? To work this out, you’ll have to consider both ongoing running costs and certain standing charges.

In this post we’ll breakdown some of the main expenses associated with driving, to help you determine just how much it might cost you to run a car.

Fuel Cost Comparison for Electric, Petrol & Diesel Cars

A few things can affect the amount you pay for fuel:

  • The price of fuel. This can vary significantly depending on global events. Different petrol stations may also charge different rates depending on where you live.
  • The type of fuel. Diesel costs more per litre than petrol, whereas you can often charge an electric car for free at some charging points.
  • The type of car you drive. Some cars are more fuel efficient than others.
  • The way you drive. Certain driving habits can help you conserve fuel. How often you drive will also affect the amount you pay for fuel. Someone who uses their car every day will cover more miles and naturally use more fuel than someone who only uses their car from time to time, for example.

Working Out Your Fuel Cost Per Mile

To work out your cost per mile, first choose a period of time, such as a week or a month. Multiply the amount of fuel you use (litres) in this period by the price of fuel (in pence). Then divide this figure by the number of miles you drove during this period.

This calculation will give you a figure for your average cost per mile, based on how often you drive in a week or a month.

You can then calculate your average annual running cost by multiplying your cost per mile by your average annual mileage. Multiply the resulting figure by 100 to convert it from pence to pounds.

Head here to read our full guide to calculating the price of fuel for individual journeys.

What’s Cheaper a Run, a Petrol, Diesel, or Electric?

Diesel is invariably more expensive than petrol. Diesel cars usually offer better mileage than petrol cars, but they cost more up front. So while diesel drivers may not have to top up their cars so often, you’ll have to drive a lot of miles before the savings you make on fuel compensate for the amount you pay for your car. Plus, there are many other running costs associated with diesel cars.

Meanwhile, you can charge an electric car for less. But like diesel cars, electric cars generally cost more upfront. Plus, there are numerous practical issues associated with running an electric car.

Take a look at our infographic weighing up the pros and cons of petrol, diesel, hybrid and electric cars.

How To Reduce The Amount You Pay For Fuel

A few things can help you save money on fuel:

  • Driving a more fuel efficient car.
  • Shopping around for the cheapest fuel prices near you.
  • Changing certain driving habits.

We explain each of these ideas in more detail in our complete guide to saving money on fuel.

Maintenance and Servicing Costs

If your car was registered three or more years ago, you have a legal requirement to get an MOT every year.

This is a test to determine that your car’s still safe for UK roads. The amount you pay for your MOT will depend on where you go to get it – different garages charge different amounts. Though if the test uncovers any issues with your car, you may have to pay to fix them before you pass your test.

Regular servicing can help you fix any issues with your car long before they become problems. A full service can cost around £150, but in the long-term this can help you make huge savings on repairs.

Read our full guide to car servicing.

Road Tax Cost

What most people think of as “road tax” is actually vehicle excise duty. This is a running cost for your car, and the amount you pay will depend on your car’s CO2 emissions.

Some drivers are exempt from paying road tax. If you drive an ultra-efficient low emission car, for example, you might not have to pay anything – and if you do, you won’t have to pay very much. Electric cars, for example, are emission free so won’t cost you anything.

You can read our full guide to road tax.

Car Insurance Costs

Finally, you have a legal requirement to insure your car.

The amount you pay for car insurance will depend on a number of things:

  • Your age, and your driving history. Young drivers pay more for car insurance than older drivers. Also, if you have any convictions on your driving record, it can increase the cost of your insurance.
  • The car you drive. Small, safe and efficient cars generally cost less to insure than flashy, high performance cars. You can read our guide to the cheapest cars to insure.
  • The type of insurance you get. There are three types of insurance – third party, third party with fire and theft, and comprehensive. A third party policy will cost less than a comprehensive policy, but a comprehensive policy offers much greater cover.
  • The insurer you choose. Different insurers offer different prices. At Go Girl, for example, we specialise in driving down the price of car insurance for careful drivers.

There are a few things you can do to bring down the cost of your insurance. Head here to read our full guide to getting cheaper car insurance.

We Can Help You Reduce Your Car Running Costs

We offer competitive cover for drivers of all ages with a range of extras, including misfuelling cover and optional RAC breakdown cover.

As soon as your policy starts you’ll start building your no claims discount. You’ll also have the chance to protect it after just one claim-free year.

If you want cheaper car insurance, give us a call. Get a quote for car insurance and buy online in minutes.


Get your instant online quote today!


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