Wondering how much fuel will cost you on a road trip? A big factor is what kind of car you’re driving. A regular gas-powered car runs on an internal combustion engine (ICE) whereas an electric vehicle (EV) relies on a battery pack.
Let’s look at how you can calculate the average cost to fuel an ICE vehicle compared to an EV. Then we’ll dive into some other factors worth considering before you pick your road trip vehicle.
The provincial government does not regulate the price of gasoline. Instead, its price responds to market rates, both international and local. How much you spend on gas for an ICE vehicle will depend on your location and your vehicle’s fuel efficiency. Gas prices range across the country (and even within the same city). As of July 2022, the average gas price in Ontario was 174.4 cents per litre. You may be able to find a cheaper place to fuel up in your area, but on a road trip, your options may be limited.
Fuel efficiency refers to how much fuel a car needs to travel 100 km (L/100 km). The lower the number of litres, the better. You can find your car’s fuel efficiency rating online, but it’ll depreciate over time, so your car may not be as efficient as the rating states. If you track your efficiency for a while, you can get a fairly accurate look at how much a certain journey would cost you.
Once you know your fuel efficiency rating, you can also use a fuel calculator to estimate how much you’ll likely spend on gas for your road trip. If you’re not happy with your car’s fuel efficiency, try adopting certain habits to improve it.
Electricity is a much cheaper fuel source than gas. In Ontario, the sale of electricity is regulated under the Ontario Energy Board Act. The federal government does not regulate the price of either electricity or gas, creating vast price differences among the provinces.
The cheapest (and most convenient) place to charge an EV is at home. If you’re out and need a boost, most public chargers are free to use, meaning your EV could have an incredibly cheap average cost to fuel. In Toronto and Kitchener-Waterloo, for example, 60% of all EV chargers are completely free.
If a public charger does cost something, it likely won’t set you back more than $1 per hour or $2.50 per charge. It can take a lot longer to charge an EV than to fill a gas tank, however, so you’ll need to factor the waiting time into your road trip schedule.
EV drivers are also a lot more likely to experience range anxiety, especially on a long journey like a road trip. Range anxiety can be avoided, though, as long as you understand charging levels and note the charging stations along the way.
Another way to steer clear of range anxiety is to opt for a hybrid (HEV or PHEV) so you can rely on two forms of fuel.
Finding Your Road Trip Vehicle
If you’re planning a road trip, you want a vehicle with a long range on one tank of fuel, especially if you don’t plan to make many stops along your way. For gas-powered vehicles, look for a range of 500 km or more on one tank. For electric vehicles, go for 400 km or above on one charge. EVs are definitely the cheaper option for fuel, but you will have to put in some extra effort to make sure you pass enough charging stations.
Other important things to consider when picking your road trip vehicle are how many seats you need and how much you’ll be packing. To find the right vehicle for your journey, check out this post. You can also browse through a wide selection of car listings in your area on Ontariocars.ca.
For more automotive tips and news, check out our blog.