Hybrid & Electric Car Leasing Hub

If you're wanting to find out more about leasing an electric car, or have questions around charging, our comprehensive guides have everything you need to know.

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What's the difference between petrol and electric cars?

Let's start with the basics and explore the main electric car vs petrol differences. It’s all about the power source and the type of engine used to propel the wheels. Here’s a closer look:

Electric cars

Battery electric vehicles (BEVs) run solely on electricity stored in a battery pack. This stored energy is used to power the electric motor, which turns the wheels and propels the car.

EVs need to be plugged into a power source to recharge the battery. Learn more about how the technology works in our electric car guide.

Petrol cars

Petrol cars are powered by an internal combustion engine (ICE). Liquid fuel is pumped into the tank, where it’s combusted and used to propel the vehicle.

Pros and cons of electric cars

Now you know the difference between electric cars and petrol, let's explore the pros and cons of each type of vehicle. Here are the top petrol and electric car benefits, as well as the considerations of both:

Pros of electric cars

  • Zero emissions - EVs produce zero tailpipe emissions, a pro that helps minimise air pollution and reduce your carbon footprint
  • Lower running costs - EVs run on electricity, which is significantly cheaper than fossil fuels
  • Quiet operation - electric motors are whisper-quiet
  • Instant torque - EVs deliver instant torque to the engine, which supercharges acceleration and responsiveness
  • Government incentives - the UK government offers incentives like grants and tax benefits to EV drivers

Cons of electric cars

  • Limited range - most BEVs have a limited range compared to petrol cars
  • Charging infrastructure - although continually expanding in the UK, charging infrastructure isn’t as widespread as petrol stations in some areas
  • Higher upfront costs - EVs usually have higher initial purchase prices than their petrol counterparts
  • Charging time - charging an EV takes longer than filling up a petrol tank

Pros and cons of petrol cars

Familiar and reliable, petrol-powered cars remain a popular choice in the UK. Here’s why:

Pros of petrol cars

  • Widespread infrastructure - petrol stations are plentiful, ensuring easy access to fuel across the UK
  • Longer range - petrol cars typically offer longer driving ranges range than electric cars
  • Lower initial cost - petrol cars often have lower RRPs, compared to electric cars
  • Quick refuelling - filling up a petrol tank takes just minutes

Cons of petrol cars

  • Emissions - petrol cars emit pollutants like carbon dioxide (CO2) and nitrogen oxides (NOx), which contribute to air pollution and climate change
  • Higher running costs - fuel and maintenance costs for petrol cars tend to be higher over time
  • Noise pollution - internal combustion engines can be noisy, especially in urban areas
  • Reliant on fossil fuels - petrol cars rely on fossil fuels, which are subject to price fluctuations

Cost of electric cars vs petrol

Cost is one of the biggest factors to consider when shopping for a new car. Here’s a closer look at how EVs compare to petrol cars:

Initial cost

How much are electric cars compared to their petrol counterparts?

In general, you should expect to pay slightly more for EVs due to higher R&D costs and limited production. That said, the price gap is continually narrowing as technology advances and more affordable EVs hit the market.

Fuel cost

Electricity is cheaper than petrol or diesel, which makes BEVs cheaper to run. Charging at home can be even more cost-effective. Find out more in our electric car charging guide.

Insurance cost

Insurance premiums for electric cars are often similar to or slightly higher than petrol cars.

Servicing & MOTs cost

EVs generally have fewer moving parts than petrol cars, reducing the need for maintenance and potentially lowering servicing costs.

Congestion charges

Many UK cities, including London, offer exemptions or discounts on congestion charges for EV drivers.

Road tax

Electric cars currently don’t pay road tax. Find out more in our guide to electric car road tax.

Parking cost

Some cities offer free or discounted parking for EV owners.

Benefit in Kind

EVs can offer generous tax benefits for company car drivers, with lower Benefit in Kind (BIK) tax rates compared to petrol or diesel models.

Are electric cars cheaper to run than petrol?

In most cases, electric cars are cheaper to run than petrol cars. The savings on fuel make EVs an attractive choice, especially for daily commuters.

Electric car emissions vs petrol

Electric cars have a clear advantage when it comes to emissions. Here's a comparison of electric vs petrol cars:

Electric cars:

  • Zero tailpipe emissions
  • Lower lifecycle emissions, especially when charged with renewable energy
  • Reduce air pollution in urban areas

Petrol cars:

  • Emit of CO2, NOx and particulate matter (PM)
  • Contribute to climate change and air pollution
  • Greater environmental impact over the lifecycle of the vehicle

When factoring in the manufacturing process, EVs can have a higher carbon footprint than petrol cars. This is due to the energy consumed when mining for raw materials and manufacturing batteries. However, this carbon debt is typically offset by ultra-low emissions throughout the lifespan of the vehicle.

Are electric cars better for the environment?

Yes! EVs are better for the environment compared to petrol cars. Zero tailpipe emissions reduce air pollution and help combat climate change, with the benefits elevated when batteries are charged using renewable energy.

Range of electric cars vs petrol

Electric cars with the longest range, such as the Mercedes EQS, offer impressive performance of more than 450 miles on a single charge. In comparison, best-selling petrol models like the Ford Focus, VW Golf and Audi A3 can cover more than 1,000 miles on a single tank.

Charging vs filling up

There’s no getting around it, charging an electric car takes longer than filling up a petrol tank. That said, fast-charge technology is reimagining how long it takes to top up batteries. For example, the Hyundai IONIQ 6 Long Range 2WD can be charged from 10% to 80% in just over 15 minutes!

Electric car maintenance vs petrol

Electric cars typically require less maintenance than petrol cars. Here's a breakdown of why:

Repairs & general maintenance -

Electric cars have fewer moving parts, which slashes repair and maintenance costs over time.


Routine servicing for EVs is generally less frequent and less expensive compared to petrol cars.


Electric cars are exempt from the MOT test for the first three years, a benefit that reduces the total cost of ownership.

Should I switch to an EV?

Thinking about making the switch to an all-electric car? Whether you’re looking for a zippy urban commuter or a family-friendly SUV with enough range for weekend road trips, you’ll find EVs to fit every lifestyle.

If you’re concerned about the upfront costs of purchasing, EV leasing can be a great solution. Auto finance agreements offer the opportunity to experience the benefits of EV driving without a long-term commitment.

Electric vs petrol cars FAQs

Ultimately, the petrol vs electric cars debate depends on your personal preferences, driving habits, budget and environmental concerns. EVs are becoming increasingly accessible and affordable, making them a great alternative to traditional petrol vehicles.

Leasing opens up even more opportunities for motorists and offers a chance to secure the keys to the latest EVs, without stretching your budget or making a long-term commitment to a particular make or model. Get in touch with Leasing Options today to find out more.

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