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EV’s Much Cheaper to Run than Their Gas Equivalents, Clean Energy Canada Report Finds

When lifetime ownership costs are factored in, electric vehicles (EVs) are often significantly cheaper than their fossil counterparts, according to a new report by Clean Energy Canada.

While the 2022 Chevrolet Bolt EV costs $16,750 more to buy than its fossil equivalent, the Toyota Corolla, the lifetime ownership costs (including depreciation, maintenance and repairs, taxes, and insurance, as well as fuel) of the Corolla will exceed the Bolt’s by 54%, the report finds.

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The Bolt, which retails at $38,198, will accrue ownership costs of $51,848, but the $21,450 Corolla will ultimately cost its owner $71,162—at an average 2021 gas price of $1.35 per litre.

Across the board, all the EVs that Clean Energy Canada studied proved far less costly to own and run than their gas-fired kin.

And CEC’s assumptions were “relatively conservative,” assuming eight years of ownership, driving 20,000 kilometres a year.

“If you own your car for longer than eight years, if you drive it more than 20,000 kilometres annually, or if gas prices typically remain above 2021 levels, the savings from going electric are greater still,” writes CEC.

Higher gas prices alone make EVs the better deal. At the $2 per litre price that “we’ve seen in parts of Canada this past month,” the report states, the ownership costs of the fossil Corolla increase to $80,050.

Lower lifetime costs aren’t the entire picture, however. EV rebates play a major role in making them more widely available. Since the electric Ford F-150 Lightning is not eligible for rebates, and because of its high upfront costs, it is only $2,700 cheaper than its gas counterpart.

Should its rebate eligibility change, “which we could see happen federally in the forthcoming budget,” the Lightning would end up $12,000 cheaper, CEC writes.

Noting that “not everyone has equal access to good credit,” CEC urges that more be done to make EVs more affordable. Case in point: British Columbia’s recent budget decision to exempt the sale of used EVs from the provincial sales tax.