Comment – fuel, fag packet maths and the price of beer

Whilst reflecting on the expense of swapping to an electric car, I thought it would be a useful exercise to do a fuel cost comparison.

Ten years ago, according to the RAC foundation diesel was about £1.38 a litre at the pump, today as I sped past the pumps it was somewhere around £1.54 per litre, so that’s 11.5% uplift over that period, or fuel inflation of c 1.15% per annum, and whilst I appreciate there have been some significant bumps along the road, that seems reasonable. Ok so let’s see about electricity per kWh, in December 2013 the wholesale price (ie what the generators sell it for)  was about 5p per kWh, now thats 8.3p per kWh, so the inflation is more like 166%, or 16% per year. The currently OFGEM price cap means you are paying no more than 27p per kWh.

So whilst the smug Tesla* drivers currently brag about a charge costing just over £20 (at home), once on the road at a public charging point this will probably be nearer £40 (at around 48p per kWh). Given the quoted range of c 250 miles in real world conditions, let’s compare to my humble Skoda Octavia diesel estate, which routinely delivery c 550 miles on a £60 tank. Sirs Tesla required £80 of electricity (unless always charged at home) to get close to my dirty old oil burner.

On the basis of this fag packet maths, I’m still waiting for the diesel Tesla (c’mon Elon..)

I know its a massive oversimplification, but back in the machinery world where we are seeing at least conceptually (and in a few cases on the market) a divergence of fuel and energy options with hydrogen, LNG, methane and electricity, the death of the diesel is a bit over egged.

Oh and who remembers saying when beer hit £1 a pint, they were quitting?

Exactly, mines a gallon of red!

Have a good week.


PS If you want to worry about fuel prices, read this:


*Other electric cars available.

PPS If you want to pick a scrap with me over the numbers the diesel prices are here: and the electricity calculation is here:  so there.