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Hybrid Vehicle vs. Electric Car: Nine Pros and Cons to Consider at the Dealership

Hybrid car on a road in the forest

While many people are interested in going fully electric with their next vehicle, there are some barriers to entry that make people pause. The upfront cost, anxiety about range and charging infrastructure, and the simple lack of electric models that fit certain lifestyles or needs are all valid concerns when it comes to EVs. That’s where hybrid vehicles step into the fray, serving as a valuable and practical stepping stone toward a fully electric future. However, as with any automotive decision, there are pros and cons to consider.



So, what exactly is a hybrid vehicle? Well, in the simplest terms, a hybrid car uses a combination of an internal combustion engine (that’s the same kind your traditional car uses) and an electric motor. The car automatically switches between these two power sources based on driving conditions to optimize fuel efficiency. The most common type is a full hybrid, also known as a strong hybrid, where the vehicle can be driven by the electric motor alone for short distances. The Toyota RAV4 Hybrid falls into this category. Mild hybrids that cannot run on electric power alone still exist but are much less common.



One of the primary attractions of hybrid vehicles is their ability to ease drivers into the world of electric mobility. Hybrid vehicles offer the fuel efficiency and environmental benefits of an electric motor, coupled with the reassurance and convenience of a traditional internal combustion engine.

Fuel Efficiency

Arguably, the most significant advantage of hybrid vehicles is their superior fuel efficiency. According to Consumer Reports, most hybrid SUVs can get upwards of 35 miles per gallon, while hybrid sedans can push upwards of 45 miles per gallon!

Hybrids operate by seamlessly switching between an electric motor and a conventional gasoline engine. The vehicle’s onboard computer system manages this process, optimizing for the most efficient use of energy based on driving conditions. When traveling at low speeds or short distances, the electric motor typically handles the job. When more power is needed, for instance, during highway driving, the gasoline engine takes over. This leads to fewer stops at the gas station and a reduced fuel bill, which over time can add up to significant savings.

Reduced Emissions

Reduced carbon emissions are another compelling benefit of hybrid vehicles. Since they burn less fuel than conventional cars, hybrids release fewer pollutants into the environment. This is a notable advantage for those who are environmentally conscious but not yet ready or able to make the leap to a fully electric vehicle.

Government Incentives

Some regions offer tax incentives or other benefits to encourage the purchase of hybrid vehicles. Although these tend to be less generous than those for fully electric cars, they can still make hybrids a more financially attractive option. However, it’s essential to research these incentives, as they vary by location and may be subject to change. Visit Drive Electric Vermont for more information.

Range and Infrastructure

One of the main concerns about fully electric vehicles is range anxiety—the fear of running out of battery power before reaching a charging station. With a hybrid, this concern is largely eliminated. Hybrid vehicles can typically travel as far as conventional cars on a single tank of gas. And when you do need to refuel, you can stop at any gas station. This can provide peace of mind, particularly for those who frequently travel long distances or live in areas with sparse charging infrastructure.


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While the benefits are significant, there are also some drawbacks to consider when contemplating a hybrid vehicle.

Upfront Costs

While hybrids can save you money in fuel costs over the life of the vehicle, they typically come with a higher upfront cost compared to their conventional counterparts. This additional investment may be offset over time through fuel savings and potential tax incentives, but it does require a larger initial outlay.

It’s difficult to compare ownership costs directly, but you can buy the Kia Niro in three versions: a standard hybrid starting at $26,590, a plug-in hybrid starting at $33,840, and an all-electric version, starting at $39,550. While Kia doesn’t offer the Niro in a gas-only version, their parent company, Hyundai Motor Group, offers a similar car called the Kona which has a gas-only version that starts at $21,300.

Limited Electric Range

Hybrids may help alleviate range anxiety, but the trade-off is a significantly reduced electric driving range compared to fully electric vehicles. Many hybrids can only travel a limited distance on electric power alone, after which the gasoline engine kicks in. For those seeking to minimize their carbon footprint or fuel consumption, this limitation might be a significant drawback.

Maintenance Costs

Maintenance for hybrid vehicles can potentially be more expensive than for conventional cars. While the electric components generally require less maintenance, hybrid vehicles also contain all the traditional parts of a combustion engine vehicle. This means they may still require regular oil changes, filter replacements, and other maintenance associated with traditional cars. Additionally, should the hybrid system need repairs outside of warranty, those costs can be high due to the complexity of the technology.

Reduced Performance

While hybrid technology has improved dramatically over the years, some drivers feel that hybrid vehicles still don’t offer the same level of performance as conventional cars. Particularly, hybrids might lack the power and acceleration of their gasoline counterparts. This isn’t true for all hybrids, but it’s something to consider if high performance is important to you.

Resale Uncertainty

Resale values for hybrid vehicles can be a bit uncertain. While some hybrids hold their value well, others may depreciate more quickly due to factors such as the rapidly evolving technology of electric vehicles and fluctuations in fuel prices.



Hybrid vehicles serve as an appealing compromise, a symbol of the transitional period we currently inhabit, straddling the line between familiar internal combustion engines and the promising future of fully electric vehicles They offer a solution to those unable to fully commit to a purely electric vehicle, whether due to financial constraints, concerns about charging infrastructure, or range anxiety. If you’re considering a new vehicle and your circumstances and preferences align, a hybrid vehicle could indeed serve as your bridge toward the future of electric mobility!



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Oliver Ames Headshot

About Oliver Ames

Oliver is VSECU's social media strategist and spends most of his day engaging with members through our Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram profiles. He has a background in science education, non-profit fundraising, business communication, media production, and membership-based organizations. When not at work, Oliver spends much of his time with his wife and son at their home in Montpelier.
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