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Record high fuel costs result in 37% surge in interest for electric cars in the UK

There has been a 37 per cent surge in interest for electric vehicles in the past week, following record high petrol prices, new data shows.

Overall EV searches are also up 150 per cent when compared to the same week last year, says Carwow, a car comparison price site, while configured searches, where buyers consider a specific make and model of EV, are up 51 per cent.

It is likely the hike in interest is in response to the record high fuel prices the UK has been experiencing this week.

The average price of a liter of petrol in the UK is currently sitting at 159.57p whilst diesel has reached 167.37p, according to RAC.

This means a tank for a 55-litre family car would cost £88.58 for a petrol car and £93.54 for a diesel vehicle.

A liter of petrol has also hit 198.9p in parts of the country, meaning some people are now paying almost £100 for a 50-liter tank of fuel.

That is £22.98 more than the average motorist and £42 more than those paying the lowest prices in the UK at 114.9p.

Simon Williams, RAC fuel spokesman, said: “Diesel has now topped the landmark average price of £1.70 a litre. It rose nearly 3p a liter on Thursday which means it has gone up by 13p in a week.

“Petrol is now above £1.61 for the first time ever having increased by 8p a liter in a week.

“Drivers will be wondering whether these record rises are ever going to stop.

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“While prices may well continue to go up in the coming days, oil and wholesale fuel prices dropped for the second day in a row yesterday which should hopefully be slow, or even halt, the cycle of escalating pump prices in the next week or so as Retailers buy new stock at lower prices.

“There is, however, a concern they will be reluctant to lower their prices for fear of catching a cold if wholesale costs were to jump back up again.”

As oil prices continue to increase, the cost of fuel is predicted to follow suit, with data indicating UK motorists are responding to this by looking at alternatives.

Hugo Griffiths, features editor at Carwow, added: “A year ago, it cost around £60 to fill a 50-litre tank – today, it is more than £75, with drivers of large SUVs, and other cars with high-capacity fuel tanks paying upwards of £129 to fill their cars in areas with the highest prices.

“Our data suggests this has had a direct impact on interest in electric vehicles, as motorists look to mitigate the impact rising petrol prices have on their household budgets.

“Two in three motorists tell us costs are a key consideration for them as they decide whether to go electric.”

Official data shows that one in six new car registrations in the UK in 2021 was an EV or plug-in hybrid vehicle, up from one in ten the previous year.

This is thanks to a combination of factors including an increased choice of EV models in showrooms, lower purchase prices, increased battery ranges, and a rise in the number of charging points across the UK.

Mr Griffiths adds: “The rising cost of filling-up, favorable tax regimes for electric cars and the fact cities are starting to put more restrictions on petrol and diesel cars have created a perfect storm whereby motorists who had planned to get an EV at some point in the future are looking at doing it sooner rather than later, while those who had perhaps not thought about an electric car at all are now seriously considering switching.”

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