Electric vehicles bring savings for drivers, especially amid high gas prices: study

A new report reveals electric vehicles come with big savings, especially with the current cost of fuel.

Clean Energy Canada, a research group at the Centre for Dialogue at Simon Fraser University, released its report The True Cost earlier this week.

It compared six popular electric car models with the ownership costs of gas-powered equivalents. It estimated the comparative costs over eight years for someone who drives 20,000 kilometres per year and pays $1.35 per litre for fuel.

“What we found is that in every comparison we made, the electric car comes out cheaper than the gas alternative,” said Mark Zacharias, a special advisor with the group.

Now that gas is sitting close to $2 a litre, Zacharias estimates savings would jump as high as $24,000.

The two models where the savings aren’t as great are with premium models, such as a Tesla, and electric trucks like the 2022 Ford F-150 Lightning XLT.

But the report say the guidelines for the analysis are conservative and if a driver has the vehicle for more than eight years, drives more than 20,000 kilometres a year and gas costs more than it did in 2021, which it already does, then the savings will still be greater.

“Year on year, we’re seeing more and more interest in electric vehicles across all parts of Canada. And again, recent gas prices have not done nothing but just spurred that interest,” Zacharias said.

The cost of gas has also prompted drivers to change their habits, according to a recent surveyrates.ca.

“We ask people, ‘Has this affected the amount you drive?’ And 54 per cent of respondents said, ‘Yes, we are driving less because of high gas prices.’ Another 15 per cent said, ‘Not yet, but they expect that they’ll be driving less because of high gas prices,’” explained spokesperson John Shmuel.

The survey also found more Canadians are inclined to buy an electric or hybrid vehicle next time they purchase a new car, 18 per cent and 20 per cent respectively.

The federal government is also pushing for more people to go electric.

On Tuesday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced a plan to have 20 per cent of light-vehicle sales be zero emissions by 2026, 60 per cent by 2030, and 100 per cent by 2035.

To reach the goal, the feds will be investing millions in charging stations and infrastructure, and boosting the incentive program for buyers.

Dan McTeague with Canadians for Affordable Energy said Trudeau’s sale mandate is a logistical nightmare.

“You also have to improve the transmission lines and, of course, dig up and improve what is used in most cities, where you have transformers, those would all have to be upgraded. Not to mention the upgrades to individual homes, condominiums, existing structures and infrastructure,” McTeague said.

However, Zacharias said B.C. is in a good position to welcome more electric vehicles on roads with more than 3,000 public charging stations and more coming online each month.

But the difficulty is there aren’t enough electric vehicles to buy.

“The wait time can be six to 18 months,” he explained, adding that could begin to change soon.

“What we’re seeing is that, as these sales mandates get put in place, we’re seeing manufacturers start to step up to the plate and increasing the size of their facilities and producing more vehicles.”

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