Hybrid vs gas cars

12 minute read Published on Oct 11, 2023 by BrokerLink Communications

Electric Vehicle Charging Plug and Gas Nozzle.

Nowadays, there are many considerations to make when buying a new car. For example, not only do you need to choose a certain make, model, colour, or trim level, but you also need to choose what kind of engine you want your vehicle to have.

That’s right, consumers have more options than ever before, and one of the most important ones is whether to buy a gas vs hybrid vs electric car. Below, we provide a detailed comparison between hybrid cars and gas cars.

Hybrid cars

Let’s begin with a discussion of hybrid cars. Hybrid cars have both a gas engine and an electric motor, and both provide power to the car. There are various types of configurations in terms of how these engines work together. Consumers can choose what type works best for their needs and driving habits. A few of the most common types of hybrid cars are below:

Full hybrids

Full hybrid vehicles work through a combination of a battery-powered motor and a traditional internal combustion engine. The gas engine works to charge the car batteries when the electric motor is not being used.

Meanwhile, the electric motor will run when the car is driving at low speeds, such as in traffic or on busy urban streets. As such, full hybrids are often better suited to those who frequently drive in the city versus at higher speeds on major highways.

Mild hybrids

Mild hybrid vehicles function similarly to full hybrid cars, except that a mild hybrid cannot run solely on an electric motor. This means that the electric motor in a mild hybrid runs simultaneously with the traditional internal combustion engine. While this might sound confusing, the electric motor is still useful as it provides a boost when accelerating, resulting in better gas mileage and lower emissions.

Plug-in hybrids

Plug-in hybrid vehicles (PHEVs) are a step above full and mild hybrids in terms of the utilization of the electric motor. Plug-in hybrids are widely regarded as the closest type of hybrid vehicle to a fully electric vehicle.

This type of hybrid can travel for many kilometres solely on electric power, regardless of what speed the car is travelling at. Where the internal combustion engine comes in is that it is used to charge the electric motor’s battery.

You can learn more about electric car batteries here. However, the electric battery is so large that PHEVs usually require additional charging overnight at home.

Range extender hybrids

One final type of hybrid vehicle is the range extender hybrid. Like the plug-in hybrid, this type of hybrid is almost fully electric. The internal combustion engine that it contains is only used in emergencies.

Range extender hybrids work like this: They run primarily via the electric motor, and if the vehicle runs out of battery, the small gas engine acts as a generator and charges it until it has enough power to continue running via the electric motor.

For more information on how long electric cars can last or how far an electric car can go, check out our blog.

Gas cars

Gas cars, the most common car in the world, function a little differently than hybrid vehicles. Without an electric motor, gas vehicles run solely off of a traditional internal combustion engine.

This type of engine works is as follows: Fuel combusts in a cylinder, pushing a piston within the engine block. The energy created through this process then disseminates to the wheels and turns into movement by the transmission and driveshaft.

Although most vehicles on the road today are gas-powered, there has been a dramatic push toward hybrid and electric vehicles due to the environmentally friendly nature of these cars. If you are interested in reducing your carbon footprint, you may be wondering: Is an electric car worth it? You can learn more about electric and hybrid cars by checking out our blog.

However, if you are still on the fence about swapping out your gas-powered vehicle for a more eco-friendly model, continue reading for a breakdown of the pros and cons of hybrid and gas cars.

The pros and cons of hybrid cars

Before you can decide if a hybrid car is right for you, be sure to read through the pros and cons below:

Pros to hybrid vehicles

More fuel efficient

The first pro of hybrid cars is that they are more fuel efficient than their gas-powered counterparts. Studies show that hybrid cars will result in 1.5 to 2 times the number of miles to the gallon as cars with gas engines. This increased fuel efficiency results in spending less money at the gas pump and more money back in your pocket.

Fewer gas emissions

Second, hybrid cars result in fewer emissions than gas cars. If you are concerned about the environment and are looking for ways to reduce your carbon footprint, switching to a hybrid might be the best option. Since the gas engine on a hybrid is only running a portion of the time, whether this is half the time or only in emergencies as is the case with range extender hybrids, the gas emissions will be significantly reduced.

Greater horsepower

Finally, hybrid cars often come with increased horsepower. The combination of an electric motor and a gas engine can result in greater horsepower than your average gas car. In line with this, most hybrid cars also feature faster accelerations, better handling, and increased responsiveness with the gas pedal.

Cons to hybrid vehicles

Increased maintenance costs

On the flip side, one con of hybrid cars is that they usually come with increased maintenance costs. So while you may be saving money at the gas pump, your overall maintenance costs may be higher. You can learn more about hybrid and electric car maintenance by contacting BrokerLink.

Shorter battery life

Next, electric car batteries tend to have shorter lifespans than car batteries in gas vehicles. Thus, if you buy a hybrid that has an electric motor, it may run out within eight to ten years. Unfortunately, replacing an electric car battery is expensive - far more expensive than a regular car battery. However, depending on your warranty, the manufacturer may cover the replacement.

Fewer service options

One last con of hybrid cars is that there are fewer service options. Since hybrid cars are still far less common than gas cars, fewer auto body shops or car dealerships may service your vehicle. You will need to go to greater lengths to find a licensed mechanic who can service your hybrid car.

The pros and cons of gas cars

Just like with hybrid cars, there are a number of pros and cons that come with driving hybrid vehicles. They are outlined below:

Pros to gas vehicles

More options to choose from

Although the market has started to change, there are still more gas-powered vehicles to choose from. So if you want your pick of any make and model of car on the market, gas may be the way to go. That said, many global automobile manufacturers have made clear their plans to stop producing gas-powered vehicles in the next 10 to 15 years, so the number of available hybrid and electric models on the market is likely to increase exponentially over the next decade.

Lower maintenance costs

Gas cars typically have much lower maintenance costs than hybrid vehicles. This is because many of the parts are less expensive, such as the car batteries. Further, you will have your pick of auto body shops and car dealerships to go to for servicing since everywhere specializes in gas-powered vehicles.

Fewer battery issues

One last perk of gas-powered cars is that they tend to have fewer battery issues. While regular car batteries do need to be replaced from time to time, they generally last longer than hybrid and electric car batteries. They also cost less to replace.

Cons to gas vehicles

Significantly higher gas emissions

Moving on to the cons of gas cars. First, gas cars result in significantly higher emissions than hybrid or electric cars. Gas emissions have proven to be extremely harmful to the environment, which is why so many auto manufacturers are making a permanent move toward hybrid and electric vehicles (more on that below).

Gas is more expensive

A second con of gas vehicles is that buying gas is expensive, and you have to buy far more of it when you have a vehicle that runs solely off of an internal combustion engine versus one that runs on an electric motor or a combination of engines. Research suggests that drivers of traditional gas vehicles pay roughly twice as much for fuel each year than drivers of hybrid cars.

They may become obsolete

The last drawback of gas cars is that they may become obsolete in the coming decades. Although they are still extremely common, they are on their way out. Most major auto manufacturers have started slowing down and phasing out the production of gas cars in favour of hybrid and electric cars.

A third option: electric vehicles

One final option worth discussing is electric vehicles. Hybrid and gas cars aren’t the only two options. Electric vehicles are becoming increasingly popular.

Although the electric car market was once dominated by luxury cars, such as Tesla's, a number of manufacturers worldwide have introduced more affordable options.

In addition, EV infrastructure worldwide has started to improve, making it easier than ever to drive and power your electric car. Electric cars eliminate gas emissions entirely because they do not have an internal combustion engine. Instead, they run solely on an electric motor.

When you lift the hood of an electric car, you will find the electric car battery, the controller, which derives power from the batteries, converts it, and passes it to the motor, and the electric motor, which is what is responsible for moving the vehicle. To learn more about electric vehicles, including how they are charged and the hidden costs of owning an electric car, take a look at our blog.

Insurance car insurance for hybrid and gas vehicles

Whether you decide to buy a hybrid car, an electric car, or a gas car, your insurance needs will likely be the same. Why? Due to the fact that hybrid car insurance, gas car insurance, and electric car insurance are all mandatory in Canada.

Ultimately, it doesn’t matter what type of vehicle you drive, you need insurance in order to do so. To help you understand how Toronto car insurance works, which is another key consideration when buying a hybrid or gas vehicle, we outline some of the main types of auto insurance below. The following four types of coverage are mandatory for all drivers in Ontario:

Please note that driving without car insurance in Canada is illegal. The penalties that can be levied against someone who is caught driving without insurance vary between provinces. In Ontario, drivers can incur a fine of up to $25,000 for a first offence and up to $50,000 for a second or subsequent offence.

On top of this, your vehicle may be impounded, your driver’s licence may be suspended for up to a year, and you will have to pay a 25% surcharge on any fines received. Thus, purchasing car insurance coverage before getting behind the wheel of a gas, hybrid, or electric car is of the utmost importance.

Mandatory auto insurance coverage for hybrid and gas cars

To help you understand how mandatory insurance coverage protects you, the BrokerLink team has briefly described each type of auto insurance that is compulsory in Ontario below:

Third party liability coverage

Third party liability coverage is designed to pay for car accidents that the policyholder causes. In other words, if you get into an accident that you are found liable for, third party liability coverage can help pay for the associated costs.

Such costs may include vehicle repair, medical, and legal fees.

Accident benefits coverage

Accident benefits coverage is another type of mandatory coverage that can pay for medical or rehabilitative attention in the wake of a car accident. No matter who is found to be at fault for the collision, accident benefits coverage can help pay for medical bills not covered by the victim’s healthcare policy, such as prescription medications.

It can even cover funeral fees if someone dies in an accident or lost income if someone is unable to work due to their injury. As with all types of coverage, there are limits to what accident benefits do and do not cover, which is why it’s best to speak with a BrokerLink insurance advisor if you are unsure.

Direct compensation

This mandatory coverage compensates the policyholder if their car is damaged in an accident, so long as they were not at fault for the accident. This type of coverage is referred to as direct compensation because the policyholder deals directly with their insurance provider when recovering compensation.

Uninsured automobile coverage

Lastly, uninsured automobile coverage is also mandatory in Ontario. It is designed to protect you from accidents where the other driver is at fault but where they are uninsured, underinsured, or fled the scene and thus are anonymous. For this reason, uninsured automobile coverage is typically what you would claim in the event of a hit and run. It can cover the cost of vehicle repairs or bodily injury.

Extra protection for your gas or hybrid car

Now that you know what compulsory coverage looks like, let’s dig into extra coverage. There are many types of additional coverage available to policyholders in Canada, whether you drive a hybrid car or a gas car. If you wish to further protect your vehicle, consider adding any of the following coverages to your auto insurance policy:

Collision coverage

Collision car coverage will pay to help repair your car if it is damaged after colliding with another car, animal, or object. Collision coverage usually comes into play for major accidents, such as if your car suffers extreme damage or is totalled.

Comprehensive coverage

Comprehensive car coverage, otherwise known as parked car insurance, will pay to repair or replace your vehicle if it is damaged due to a variety of risks. Insured risks that comprehensive coverage may protect against include fire, wind, theft, vandalism, water, flying, falling objects, and explosions and riots.

Accident forgiveness coverage

One more type of optional car insurance coverage popular among drivers is accident forgiveness. Accident forgiveness is additional coverage that can be added to your car insurance policy as an endorsement, to protect your driving record and to help prevent your insurance premium from increasing if you have an at-fault accident claim. Note: coverage and eligibility varies by province.

Waiver of depreciation

A waiver of depreciation can be added to your hybrid or gas car insurance policy if you want the peace of mind of knowing that your insurer will pay to replace your vehicle if it is totalled in a collision. With a waiver of depreciation, your insurer will issue a payout covering the cost of buying a new car as opposed to only covering the cost of the car less depreciation.

Loss of use coverage

Loss of use coverage is another type of additional coverage that you may wish to add to your insurance policy. It protects you if your car is damaged and needs to be repaired. Specifically, it can pay for you to take alternate modes of transportation, like renting a car, taking public transit, or hiring taxis until your car is as good as new.

Contact BrokerLink for more insight into hybrid vs gas cars

For a more detailed comparison of hybrid versus gas cars or to receive a professional opinion on what insurance you need for your car, contact BrokerLink. BrokerLink is one of the leading insurance brokerages in Canada. We have helped Canadians find quality car insurance coverage for years. Thus, any one of our licensed insurance advisors can explain the benefits of car insurance and offer advice as to which types of coverage are most worthwhile for you and your vehicle, whether you drive a hybrid, electric, or gas car.

As auto insurance experts, we can also help you save money on hybrid car insurance or regular car insurance. For instance, we can suggest buying multiple auto insurance policies at once or bundling your home and auto policies. We can also explain the various car insurance discounts offered by insurance companies, like winter tire discounts, telematics discounts, group discounts, employment-based discounts, and more. Get in touch today to learn more about how you can find affordable, quality car insurance with help from a broker. Now is also a great time to request free hybrid or gas car insurance quotes, which can be done using the online quote tool on BrokerLink’s website. What are you waiting for? Get started today!

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