Poll: Six in ten Canadians believe an electric vehicle will ultimately cost them less than a gas car

Clean Energy Canada | December 15, 2022

Most Canadians believe that an electric vehicle will end up costing them less, despite a higher upfront cost, than a gas vehicle. Almost six in ten Canadians believe that an electric vehicle will end up being cheaper for them over a gas vehicle, while 41% think gas will end up being cheaper.

At the same time, 72% of Canadians believe that it is certain, very likely, or likely that a majority of consumer vehicles sold around the world will be electric. 28% think it is unlikely to happen.

A majority in every region of the country and across the political spectrum believe that it is likely that most vehicles sold around the world will be electric vehicles.

bar graph illustrating that 59% of Canadians believe that an electric vehicle will end up cheaper than a gas car
bar graph with regional, age, climate change concern, and current vote breakdown of % of (1) Canadians who believed an EV would end up cheaper or (2) much cheaper, verses: (3) a gas vehicle would end up cheaper or (4) much cheaper

When asked whether they are more likely to purchase an electric or gas vehicle, 29% say they are likely or certain to choose an electric vehicle, while another 29% say they are inclined to buy electric. In contrast, 17% say they are inclined to buy a gas or diesel vehicle, while 25% say they are very likely or certain to buy a gas vehicle for their next car.

Younger Canadians (those under 45) and those in B.C., Ontario, and Quebec are more likely to say they will purchase an electric vehicle than those in other regions/provinces or in older age groups. 72% of Liberal supporters, 64% of NDP supporters, and 74% of Green Party supporters are inclined to buy an EV, while 42% of Conservative Party supporters say they will.

bar graph illustrating that 72% of canadians think that electric vehicles will become the majority of consumer vehicles (verses 28% who think it is unlikely)
bar graph with regional, age, climate concern, and current vote breakdown of above findings

Canadian consumers who say they are very likely or certain to buy gas or diesel has held consistent over time (ranging from 23% to 25%), while those certain or very likely to buy an EV are up slightly from January 2022, but still down from 2021.

bar graph indicating that 58% of canadians are inclined to buy electric for their next car, while 42% are inclined to buy gas or diesel
line graph illustrating slight changes in consumer attitudes towards likelihood of buying electric for their next car between nov 2020 and dec 2022

Upshot

According to David Coletto, Chief Executive Officer of Abacus Data: “While interest in electric vehicles hasn’t increased substantially, most Canadians continue to believe that EVs will be the majority of consumer vehicles sold around the world and most are inclined to purchase one as their next vehicle because consumers believe they will save them money in the long run, even if the upfront cost remains higher than a gas vehicle.”

According to Trevor Melanson, Communications Director of Clean Energy Canada: “It’s encouraging to see that a majority of Canadians understand the benefits of switching to electric, even though most haven’t done so yet. Research conducted by Clean Energy Canada has shown that driving an EV—while generally pricier upfront—will ultimately cost thousands of dollars less than driving an equivalent gas car over eight years of ownership.”

Methodology

The survey was conducted with 1,500 Canadian adults from November 25 to December 1, 2022. A random sample of panelists were invited to complete the survey from a set of partner panels based on the Lucid exchange platform. These partners are typically double opt-in survey panels, blended to manage out potential skews in the data from a single source.

The margin of error for a comparable probability-based random sample of the same size is +/- 2.5%,
19 times out of 20. 

The data were weighted according to census data to ensure that the sample matched Canada’s population according to age, gender, educational attainment, and region. Totals may not add up to 100 due to rounding.

This survey was paid for by Clean Energy Canada.

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