You may have heard your coworker brag on and on about their new hybrid and how it’s saving the environment (and money). Or perhaps your current gas car may be due for a swap and you're considering getting something to reduce your carbon footprint.

But what is a hybrid car and why won’t people shut up about it? And should you trade your gas car for a hybrid? We break down the hybrid vs gas car debate in this article. Read on to learn more.

Table of Contents

What Is a Hybrid Car?

A hybrid car runs on both gas and electric power. Now, you may be thinking, “if it runs on gas, how is it so different from a gas car?” Well, the answer is simple. Hybrids use less gas because they have an electric battery system and motor that provides some of the power to move the car.

As a result, less gas is required and they produce less carbon emissions than conventional vehicles. This is true for large gas guzzlers like SUVs, but it's also true for smaller sedans.

Why Do Hybrid Cars Need Gas if They Use Electricity?

All hybrids have what’s called a gasoline-based conventional engine, an electric motor, and an electric battery. All three components work together to drive your car forward. Hybrids need gas because the batteries are not strong enough to fully power the vehicle. It only works if it has a gas engine to support it.

The gasoline-based conventional engine uses gasoline during combustion to generate power that charges the electric battery. The electric battery then drives the motor and moves you forward.

The methods of conserving energy with gas engines still apply to hybrids. The faster you go, the quicker the battery will drain, and the more gasoline you’ll need.

Types of Hybrids

There are different types of hybrid cars based on the way they operate. Two of them are range extender hybrids and plug-in hybrids.

With range extenders, they are designed to get you as much mileage as possible. This type uses the gas engine to charge the battery pack so the batteries can take over when less power is required. This type usually has a larger battery pack.

Plug-in hybrids allow you to recharge their batteries by plugging the car directly into an outlet. The batteries can also be recharged on the move using the gasoline engine, similar to range extenders.

What Are the Benefits of Hybrid Cars?

Now, let’s take a look at some of the benefits of owning and driving a hybrid vehicle.

Fuel Economy

The biggest benefit of a hybrid vehicle is that you consume far less gas than a traditional vehicle. This means your fuel costs are lower week-on-week, but you'll still be able to cover the same distance you normally would.

As hybrids consume less gasoline, they produce less carbon dioxide waste, which means they are better for the environment. By emitting less carbon dioxide, hybrid drivers are actively contributing to positive efforts that could save our planet.

Because of these benefits, some governments have offered tax advantages, credit benefits, and other financial incentives to encourage consumers to purchase hybrid cars.

Power Flexibility

Some hybrids allow users to choose between various power modes that can either conserve battery power to extend the range or maximize power to boost performance. 

This power flexibility allows you to conserve energy in some parts of your journey, such as in traffic, and direct it to other aspects of vehicle operations.

Hybrid cars also have a regenerative braking system that recharges the battery every time you apply the brakes. It works via an internal mechanism that captures the energy released while braking and uses it to charge the battery, saving you even more gas.

Financial Benefits

Hybrid cars are sometimes easier to buy than vehicles with gasoline engines just because you can get great payment plans for them. Additionally, they are subject to lower annual tax bills due to rebates and incentives designed to encourage drivers to switch to hybrid cars.

High Resale Value

Reselling the car is another way hybrids can save you money. Hybrid cars are becoming increasingly complex, technologically advanced, visually attractive, and environmentally friendly. These are appealing qualities for potential buyers.

As you know, increased demand always drives up prices. As hybrid cars are initially expensive, lower-priced used models are especially desirable. You could end up selling your hybrid car for more than a gas-powered vehicle considering initial cost and mileage.

What Are Some Drawbacks of Hybrid Cars?

Hybrid cars aren’t exactly perfect. Even though they are great for the environment and sometimes save money in the long run, there are a few drawbacks to using a hybrid car. And more often than not, these disadvantages fall upon the owner to deal with.

Steeply Priced

Hybrid cars are more expensive than gas-powered vehicles, and it’s not difficult to see why. They require large batteries and unique electrical components that aren’t as mainstream as the parts for a gas automobile. This scarcity can drive up the price of the parts.

It’s common to see a hybrid car cost up to $10,000 more than a gasoline car with the same specs.

Higher Maintenance

Remember that hybrid cars have two motors under the hood: one that runs on gasoline and the other that runs on electricity. This makes for an especially complex machine that your average roadside mechanic can't fix.

To repair your hybrid, you need to take it to the manufacturer or an accredited garage. Besides that, the components are also difficult to disassemble, diagnose, replace, and repair. Plus, as mentioned above, replacement parts can be expensive.

Limited Customization

Most hybrid cars have different components compared to gas-powered vehicles. As a result, most of the customization options available for gas-powered cars are not available for hybrids (e.g., suspension, body modifications, wheels, etc.).

Why Are People Turning Away From Gas Cars?

Even though gas-powered cars have been around for a long time, there’s been a shift towards hybrid cars recently. There are numerous reasons for this, but here are the two major ones:

Low Gas Mileage

In 2017, the average miles per gallon (MPG) for new model gas cars was 25. This is a significant improvement from 17 MPG, which was the benchmark in the 1970s.

While this may seem like a reasonable number, consider that you can get 50+ average MPG with hybrid cars. Even the most efficient gas cars cannot come close to reaching that standard. 

High Environmental Impact

The main reason hybrid cars and electric cars came into existence was as part of an effort to reduce impact on the environment. According to the EPA, 29% of all carbon monoxide pollution in the US is from transportation, which includes consumer gas-powered cars.

In an effort to reduce this percentage, consumers are switching to hybrid and electric vehicles, which require less fossil fuels than traditional vehicles.

Are There Benefits to Using Gas Cars?

There are several benefits to buying cars with combustion engines. Here are three of the most popular ones:

More Power

Gas-powered cars produce varying degrees of horsepower, but it is usually higher than hybrid vehicles. Depending on factors like engine size and build, you can get an SUV to climb ridiculously steep inclines (Range Rover actually conducted an experiment on this).

A hybrid car could never dream of making a climb like that simply because it can’t generate enough power. You can do a ton of stuff with your gas-powered vehicle, from exploring off-road areas to pulling a heavily-loaded trailer.

Low Maintenance Costs

Gas-powered cars are easier to maintain compared to hybrids. In fact, regular car owners can diagnose simple problems like a faulty battery connection, spark plug problems, or similar issues. Because gas cars are so easy to work on, maintenance costs tend to be less.

Note that this isn't the case in every instance because complex super and exotic cars require special attention and will cost more to maintain.

More Affordable

While hybrids may save you money over the long term, they are usually more expensive at the time of purchase. Conversely, gas cars are quite affordable mostly because there’s a ton of competition in the market. Numerous manufacturers on almost every continent are vying for customers.

Besides this, the parts are also readily available and quite affordable. If the decision is based on price alone, gas cars would win hands down.

Will Gas Cars Ever Be Completely Replaced?

Even though the benefit of hybrid cars is widely known, experts estimate we're still a long way from complete replacement.

In fact, gas cars consistently outsell hybrid and electric cars mostly because of cost. As we’ve discussed, you need more money upfront to purchase a hybrid car, including used models. Besides the cost of purchase, you also have to consider the cost of ownership.

Another major obstacle on the road to complete replacement is battery life. Most hybrids have a limited range on a full battery. It’s even shorter if you use in-car accessories like air conditioning.

One more factor that is often ignored is how long it will take people to replace their current cars. Many people won’t replace their cars for a while. And when they do, the tendency is strong that they’ll choose second-hand models.

When you consider all these factors, it’s easy to see that hybrid cars still have a long way to go before they completely replace electric vehicles.

Things to Consider Before Buying a Hybrid

Here are a few things you should consider before signing on the dotted line.

Does It Meet Your Needs?

Originally, cars were designed to move people from one place to the other. But that has changed as they serve more functions these days. People use cars to show off success, explore off-road spots, or simply drive the whole family around. It’s important to consider your specific needs before buying a hybrid.

If you want a car that can drive you to work and back, you can easily find hybrids to do that. But if you’re looking to drive off-road, a hybrid may be a terrible choice. These cars tend to have very little power compared to gas vehicles like trucks, jeeps, and SUVs.

Even in high-performance mode, they are still designed to conserve power and operate as efficiently as possible. And because hybrids are expensive, it’s important to get the purchase right the first time around.

Do You Like Aesthetics?

Functionality is not the only thing to consider when shopping for a hybrid. Some individuals swear to never own hybrids like a Prius simply because of the car’s design. According to them, the shape, color, and overall design make the vehicle unattractive.

If you’re shopping for a hybrid, ensure it’s one you’ll be proud to drive. Take time to shop around because there are many makes and models available today. Since the market isn’t as extensive, you may not find the exact replica of the gas-powered vehicle you drive. But that’s not such a bad thing.

What Are Some Great Hybrid Car Brands?

Now, let’s look at some famous hybrid car brands that you might be interested in.

Ford Fusion

Manufactured by Ford, the Fusion hybrid was first released in 2013. Since then, the American manufacturer has upped the ante, increasing the car’s fuel economy, aesthetic appeal, and overall performance. The Ford Fusion hybrid is one of the best hybrid cars on the market today.

Toyota Camry

Toyota is one of the most popular car manufactures in the world, with a market share of up to 12.6%. This hybrid car comes in several types including LE, SE, XLE, and XSE. Each of the three types has a unique upgrade. For example, the XLE and XLE have leather upholstery, while the SE has sharper handling.

Final Word on Hybrid Vs Gas Car

We could debate the hybrid vs gas car subject forever. At the end of the day, it comes down to your specific situation. Generally, hybrid cars are best for individuals who have short commutes and can afford higher maintenance costs.

If you buy a hybrid, consider the specifications and aesthetics before making a financial commitment. Some of them are more attractive than others, and you want to be sure you buy a car you’re proud to drive.

We hope you found this guide useful. If you are interested in other guides and articles like this one, check out our site for more.