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Hybrid Cars vs. Gas Cars: Benefits and Drawbacks

BY: Andrew Giorgi
Electric vehicle charging station and a gas pump comparison

When shopping for a new car, the number of options available to you can be both overwhelming and exciting. There are so many different types of powertrains, interiors, and body styles, so finding the right one for you and your driving habits is essential. One of the most important decisions you will make at the dealership, though, is whether you should buy a hybrid or gas vehicle.

Hybrids have become more common and popular in recent years than they ever have been before. Nearly every automaker offers a hybrid car of some kind, and they often make a gas and hybrid version of the same model. Knowing the benefits and drawbacks of a hybrid vs. gas car can help you decide which one is right for you and which one will give you the most value and service over the years.

How Do Hybrid-Electric Cars Work?

Hybrid automobiles work by using both a gas engine and an electric motor to power the car. There are many different kinds of configurations of these two powertrain types and how they work together will change depending on the type of hybrid a vehicle is and how it is designed. By understanding the different types of hybrids and how they work, you can choose the right one for you and your needs.

  • Full – A full hybrid-electric vehicle works by using a battery-powered motor in conjunction with a traditional internal combustion engine. The gas engine will charge batteries when the electric motor is not in use, and the electric motor will engage when operating at low speeds, like in traffic or on city streets. Because of this, hybrids usually get better gas mileage in the city than they do on the highway.
  • Mild – A mild hybrid works in a similar manner to a full hybrid except for the fact that a mild hybrid can not operate on electric power alone. Instead, a mild hybrid uses its electric motor for a boost when accelerating and will run at the same time as the traditional internal combustion engine. This results in better overall gas mileage and fewer emissions.
  • Plug-in – Plug-in hybrid cars are as close to fully electric vehicles as you can get while still utilizing a gas engine. Plug-in hybrids can often go for many miles using just electric power at nearly any speed. While plug-in hybrid automobiles, or PHEVs, have their batteries charged by the internal combustion engine, they won’t be able to fully charge since the battery is much larger, so they need to be charged at night using household power.
  • Range Extender – Range extender hybrids use many of the same components as a traditional hybrid but in very different ways. These hybrids are fully electric vehicles that have a gas engine in place for emergencies. This way, if the vehicle’s battery runs out, the small gas engine can act as a generator and charge it.

How Do Gasoline Cars Work?

Traditional gasoline vehicles work by combusting fuel in a cylinder, which then pushes a piston within the engine block. This energy is then transferred to the wheels and turned into movement by the transmission and driveshaft. Most vehicles that you see out on the road are going to be traditional gas automobiles, although many manufacturers are starting to pull away and focus solely on hybrid engines and electric vehicles for an environment-friendly future. There are several types of internal combustion engines, and it is important to know how they work so you can choose the right one.

  • Gasoline – Most cars or SUVs that are currently on the road use gasoline engines. Gasoline is a mixture of different hydrocarbons like butane and isopentane. It is derived from fossil fuel and refined with different octane levels that make it burn faster or slower depending on your needs.
  • Diesel – Diesel is a distillate fuel oil that burns at incredibly high pressure within the engine. Because of this, it produces a lot of torque and power, making it useful for things like semi trucks and large equipment that needs to do a lot of hauling or other heavy-duty tasks. You will most likely see diesel in pickups and other large vehicles, although some smaller diesel-engine cars use it as well. 
  • Ethanol – Ethanol is derived from corn and other vegetable byproducts and burns at a relatively cool temperature. This is why it tends to be used in motorsports and cars that produce a lot of heat. It also burns very quickly, which means that it doesn’t offer very good gas mileage, making it less practical for traditional passenger vehicles, though some cars are designed to use an ethanol and gasoline mixture.

Hybrid Car Pros and Cons

Pros of driving electric-hybrid automobiles include:

  • Better Fuel Economy – Perhaps the most important advantage of a hybrid car is the increased fuel economy. Even the most economical gas car will only get between 30 and 35 combined miles to the gallon. When you go with a hybrid, you could get upwards of 50 miles to the gallon, which can be a big money saver in the long run.
  • Fewer Emissions – If you are concerned with your carbon footprint, a hybrid vehicle is one way to go. Because the gas engine in a hybrid is only running part of the time, the gas emissions are significantly less. This makes them a much more eco-friendly choice with fewer hydrocarbons and greenhouse gasses being released into the atmosphere.
  • More Horsepower – Generally, the combination of a gas engine and electric motor will produce more overall horsepower for a hybrid vehicle. If a certain model is offered in gas and hybrid variations, the hybrid will almost always offer better power. They will also have quicker acceleration and are more responsive with the gas pedal.

Cons of driving a hybrid car are:

  • Higher Hybrid Maintenance Costs – Although you end up saving quite a bit on fuel with a hybrid, your actual maintenance costs could be higher. Over time, you may find yourself driving more than you would if you had a traditional vehicle since the gas prices are so low. However, it is important to remember that the more miles you put on your vehicle, the more maintenance it will need, which could add up over time.
  • Short Battery Life – Hybrid batteries have a lifespan just like any other type of battery. Most hybrid batteries need to be replaced every eight to ten years. This can be very costly and might not be as sustainable as it should be.
  • Limited Service Options – When you own a hybrid, you need to take it to a hybrid specialist to have it serviced. Should something go wrong with your powertrain, you might find yourself having to spend more to get it fixed with someone who specializes in these types of vehicles.

Gas Car Pros and Cons

Pros of driving gas vehicles:

  • Wider Variety of Vehicles – If you decide to shop for a car with a traditional fuel engine, your options are immediately much more varied than they would be when searching for hybrids. While gas vehicles are most likely going to be phased out eventually, the process will be very slow. As of 2023, gas cars are still the most common type on the market.
  • Low Maintenance Costs – When you need your car serviced, there are all kinds of shops and mechanics that you can choose from. Since all mechanics will know how to work on a traditional gas car, you don’t have to worry about finding a specialist. This can bring your maintenance costs down quite a bit over the years.
  • No Battery Issues – Most gas cars have batteries that need to be replaced now and then. They are fairly inexpensive, though, especially when compared to a hybrid battery. Throughout your ownership of the vehicle, you will spend far less on batteries with a gas car than you will with a hybrid.

Cons of using a gas engine include:

  • Higher Emissions – Internal combustion engines produce large amounts of harmful emissions when they are running. This can have harmful effects on the environment and, when compared to a hybrid’s emissions, may not be worth it in the long run.
  • More Expensive Fuel – With a traditional gas car, you will end up paying nearly twice as much for fuel than what you would pay with a hybrid. While many gas cars are getting higher mileage every year, they simply can’t compare to a fuel-efficient hybrid.
  • Becoming Obsolete –  Even though gas cars are still incredibly common, they are most likely going to be phased out in the coming years. In some states, internal combustion vehicles will not be available in the next decade. This means that getting a typical hybrid may be a much better decision in the long run.

Get the Right Coverage for Your Hybrid or Gas Car

No matter what type of used vehicle you’re looking to own, making sure that it is protected is crucial. Having the help you need if something goes wrong can give you confidence that you are taken care of whenever you are on the road. With a vehicle service contract from Endurance, you can rest easy knowing that you can get your car repaired quickly and easily.

Endurance has a wide variety of auto protection plans that all provide coverage for internal combustion vehicles starting at just $79 per month. Plus, with the Advantage plan, your hybrid will also be covered, and you get the benefit of $3,500 of maintenance coverage annually. No matter what kind of plan you get, whether it is the most affordable Secure Plus plan or the Supreme for Highline plan, which covers high-end luxury vehicles, you get access to perks and benefits that will help keep you safe. These include complimentary 24/7 roadside assistance, towing and lockout services, trip-interruption coverage, and rental car reimbursements. For a small activation fee, new customers also receive access to a FREE year’s worth of Endurance Elite Benefits, including extra perks and savings like key fob replacements, tire repairs or replacements, collision discounts, and even total loss protection.

To find out more about how Endurance can help you or request a free quote, call us at (800) 253- 8203 or shop online today to find an auto protection plan. You can also find more automobile-related resources on the Endurance blog, including articles on topics ranging from extended warranty coverage comparisons to vehicle buying guides, DIY maintenance tips and tricks, and more.

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