written by
Elien Verheye

Is charging cheaper than fueling?

Electric vehicles 4 min read , October 12, 2023

At Mbrella, we get asked more often than not whether driving electric is cheaper than driving a fuel car. The electric vehicles market is booming like never before and new models with longer driving ranges are raining down. Within Europe, an estimated 10% of all cars are currently electric. But, besides questions about range, many questions also arise about the cost involved in charging an electric car.

A major barrier to buying an electric car today is the purchase price. Although that price is on a downward trend. Electric cars are getting cheaper and that makes the operational costs involved play an important role in the consideration.

A major advantage of electric cars is that operating costs are relatively low. Charging costs, taxes and maintenance costs are remarkably cheaper than for regular fuel cars. Electric cars also require less maintenance and have the wind in their sails thanks to a strong tax advantage.

But, is charging cheaper than fueling?

Refuel or recharge?

Although electric cars are still more expensive to buy, they are generally cheaper to use. Especially in the long run. But how exactly? There are a few things to consider when charging your electric car.

Important to compare are electricity and fuel prices. Generally speaking, electricity has a much more stable price and you can better estimate the annual cost. In contrast, the price of crude oil is highly subject to political fluctuations. Moreover, electricity is generally cheaper per kilometre than diesel or petrol.

Last but not least: a lot depends on your driving style, of course. Calm and defensive driving has a positive impact on your driving range. So, it’s best to avoid fast driving and hard acceleration.

How much does it cost to charge a car?

The cost of electricity is thus a lot more predictable and generally just a little lower. And there's more: an electric car mainly saves you money by charging smartly.

Charging an electric car at home

Installing a charging station at home can quickly cost between 1,500 and 3,000 euros depending on the brand and the installer. Yet it pays off.

In fact, charging at home is usually cheaper than filling up at a petrol station, especially if you take advantage of lower electricity rates during off-peak hours. At home, you just pay the electricity price you are used to.

With your own charging station, you don't have to depend on public charging stations. You can charge your electric car at home, which is quite convenient. Because, this way you always have access to a charging option, regardless of the time of day or the crowds at public charging stations. Totally stress-free, and you save time.

Charging at a public charge point

Charging at a public charge point is almost always more expensive than at home. You often need a charging card and in most cases you also pay a transaction fee per kWh for using the charging station.

In addition, there are big price differences between public charging stations. Depending on the region, the location of the charging station and the date of installation, the price varies.

On average, you pay between 0.28 and 0.82 euros per kWh at a public charging station. Fast charging on a motorway is a lot more expensive at 0.70 to 1.05 euros per kWh. With these prices, charging can cost you more than refueling.

Finally, there are also a number of free charging points in Belgium. Oh yes, completely free. You will find these mainly in car parks of shopping centres, hotels and restaurants.

Charging cheaply

The cheapest way to charge is to make the best use of cheaper night tariffs and solar energy. It will save you quite a bit of money when charging your electric car.

A low-maintenance vehicle

Finally, an electric car has lower maintenance costs than a traditional fuel car. An electric car has a lot fewer moving parts, less oil and filters to change.

Thus, owning an electric vehicle pays for itself after a few years. Of course, how much you save depends on your driving habits and the number of kilometres you drive on average. In the end, you end up a lot cheaper per kilometre driven.

Tax benefit of electric cars

Those who invest in an electric car also get a boost from the government. A number of local governments, cities and towns offer allowances if you buy or lease an electric car as an individual.

You will also benefit from a reduced tax on entry into service and a reduced road tax. If your car is 100% electric, you will be completely exempt from both taxes in the Flemish Region. For those living in the Walloon or Brussels Capital Region, the tax is reduced to the minimum.

Moreover, the Flemish government came up with even more good news in its September statement. From January 2024, individuals in Flanders will be entitled to a premium when buying a new or second-hand electric car with a maximum price of 40,000 euros including VAT. In 2024, you can count on a premium of 5,000 euros for a new car and 3,000 euros for a used car.

Finally, do you own a company or are you self-employed? Until the end of 2026, the purchase of an electric car is 100% tax deductible.

Is charging cheaper than fuel? Mbrella answers with a resounding yes.

electric cars