The True Cost

New analysis from Clean Energy Canada finds that electric vehicles are in fact cheaper, often much cheaper, than their gas counterparts.

Key Takeaways

  • Clean Energy Canada analyzed a number of popular electric car models, comparing their total ownership costs with that of gas equivalents. With just one exception, the electric version of every car analyzed was cheaper, usually significantly so. Tweet this
  • The analysis found that the electric Hyundai Kona, Canada’s second best-selling EV in 2021 (after the Tesla Model 3), is $10,500 cheaper to own than the gas-powered Kona. Tweet this
  • If gas prices were to average $2, as we’ve seen in parts of Canada this past month, the electric Kona is $17,800 cheaper to own than the gas-powered Kona. Tweet this

Executive Summary

If one were to pick two top issues on the minds of Canadians in 2022, climate change and the cost of living would surely be obvious contenders.

Indeed, “climate change” was ranked the most pressing issue facing Canada over the next decade by every age group in the country in a late 2021 public opinion survey. Meanwhile, skyrocketing housing and gas prices are driving inflation fears among Canadians, a majority of whom don’t believe the latter are coming down any time soon.

Enter electric vehicles.

While EVs aren’t the only solution to high gas prices—just as they aren’t the only solution to climate change—in both cases, they’re a big help.

For this report, Clean Energy Canada analyzed a number of popular electric car models, comparing their total ownership costs with that of gas equivalents. Our assumptions were relatively conservative: we assumed eight years of ownership, driving 20,000 kilometers a year.

And with just one exception, the electric version of every car we analyzed was cheaper, usually significantly so.

The Hyundai Kona provides a useful case study: it was Canada’s second best-selling EV in 2021 (after the Tesla Model 3), and it has a modestly priced gas version that makes for an easy comparison.

Yet despite the lower sticker price of the conventional car, the Kona’s EV model is a lot cheaper when all is said and done, with a $49,700 lifetime cost compared to $60,200 for the gas version.

And lest one think stratospheric gas prices are the primary culprit, our calculation uses average gas prices from April 2021 to March 2022 ($1.45 per litre). Calculated with $2-per-litre gas, as we’ve seen in parts of Canada this past month, the fossil-fuel- powered Kona costs $67,500 over eight years. That’s a price difference of roughly $17,800.

Ultimately, the road to clean energy was always the road to affordable energy. And there really is no time like the present to accelerate into that future as fast as possible, even if it means overcoming a few speed bumps.

Note: This report was updated on April 21, 2022. See methodology page for details.