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Hybrid Vs Electric Car: Are You Really Saving Money?

11 min read

Between 2022 and 2023, electric car sales rose by 60 percent in the US, and this exponential growth shows no signs of slowing down. The primary difference between hybrid and electric cars comes down to how the car is powered. A hybrid is powered by a gas-powered engine and an electric motor, with separate batteries for each. An electric vehicle uses only a battery and an electric motor to run.

If you’re in the market for a new car and considering a hybrid or electric vehicle, you may wonder which one is best for you. Below, we break down information to help you make your decision.

Does It Cost More to Purchase an Electric or Hybrid Car?

The cost of a new vehicle can depend on many factors, including brand, model type, and the upgraded features you like. But to give you a rough idea of the average new monthly payment, here's what the cost could look like.

Average Car Payment by Fuel Type

Vehicle Type Average Monthly Payment
Vehicle Type Diesel Average Monthly Payment $800
Vehicle Type Flex Fuel Average Monthly Payment $713
Vehicle Type Electric Average Monthly Payment $774
Vehicle Type Gas/Electric Hybrid Average Monthly Payment $607
Vehicle Type Gasoline Average Monthly Payment $629

Source: Experian State of the Automotive Finance Market Report, Q4 2021

What’s an Electric Car?

Before we discuss hybrids vs. electric cars, let’s clarify what differentiates them. All-electric vehicles, also called EVs, do not contain a traditional internal combustion engine that runs on fuel. Instead, they have an electric motor that runs on stored energy. This stored energy comes from when the EV is plugged into its charging equipment. In other words, EVs run on electricity rather than gas.

The most common and popular EV models include Tesla, the Chevrolet Bolt EV, and the Ford Mustang Mach-E. While other car makers are increasingly developing other models, Tesla remains the most popular EV currently on the market.

Pros and Cons of Electric Cars


Since electric vehicles don’t operate on gasoline, they don’t have tailpipe emissions — one of their biggest appeals for many people who make the switch. However, it's important to note that the electricity used to charge an electric vehicle may come from a power plant fueled by coal, oil, or natural gas.

These days, that means you can save a lot of money on gas, and with gas prices in some areas over $6 per gallon, that’s certainly something to consider. What may come as a surprise is that EVs have a reputation for performing differently than traditional vehicles. They’re reported to be quieter, can shift seamlessly, can accelerate at a faster rate, and provide a comfortable ride.


One of the most obvious benefits of owning a hybrid is that they’re cheaper than an EV. Also, hybrids aren’t limited in how far they can travel by needing to find charging stations along the route. You can expect most hybrids to go several hundred miles before refueling.

Another problem for EV owners is that recharge points are not always as frequent as needed, so trip length is limited unless drivers can be sure of finding charging stations at regular intervals along their route. While it hasn’t happened frequently, a vehicle could get stranded due to running out of electricity and not having a charging station nearby. Consider how you’ll be using your vehicle. Will it be primarily to commute? Are there charging stations along your route or where you work?

What’s a Hybrid Car?

A hybrid car gets its power from an electric motor and an internal combustion engine. The biggest difference between an electric car and a hybrid car is that the hybrid’s battery can’t be plugged in to charge it up. Instead, the battery gets its power from the internal combustion engine when it’s in use. It also derives power from regenerative braking. As you use the car’s brakes, the electric generator will use that to charge the car's battery.

There are two main types of hybrid cars. A parallel hybrid has two independent power systems, while a series hybrid uses only the gasoline engine to turn a generator. The generator then powers either the electric motor or charges the electric battery.

The most common and popular types of hybrid cars include the Toyota Camry Hybrid, Honda Accord Hybrid, Toyota Prius, and Hyundai Elantra Hybrid.

Pros and Cons of Hybrid Cars


Owning a hybrid can give you some of the benefits of an electric vehicle without the costly price tag. Hybrid vehicles can offer lower emissions than traditional gas-fueled cars and have a reputation for higher fuel efficiency, so you can get more miles per gallon. Hybrids aren’t limited in how far they can travel by needing to find charging stations along the route. You can expect most hybrids to go several hundred miles before refueling.


Hybrid cars allow you to switch between two energy sources, which can lower emissions while running on electric, but when you run out of electric energy it will turn to gas. While hybrids are more available and less expensive to buy, you’ll still need to plan to consider fuel and maintenance costs.

Ownership and Maintenance Costs

The initial purchase price is not the only factor to consider in a hybrid vs. electric car comparison. Ownership and maintenance expenses also come into play. These include:


Expect to pay higher insurance premiums for electric cars. That’s primarily because electric vehicles cost more than gas-powered ones. You may also need to pay for extras such as EV charger coverage. Because electric vehicles are high-tech, when they’re damaged in a crash the repair costs will be higher.

Hybrids also cost more to insure than a gas-powered vehicle, and potentially as much as or more than an electric vehicle. As with electric vehicles, hybrids come with a higher-than-average price tag and will cost more to repair. An added factor is that many drivers who choose hybrids do so because they drive long distances regularly. This can raise insurance costs.

Battery Replacement

Batteries are the most expensive component of an electric car. The good news is that many batteries may last between 10 and 20 years.

How long your electric car’s battery lasts depends on a few factors, including the model and manufacturer. Nissan and Tesla offer battery warranties of either 8 years or 100,000 miles.

The battery lifespan also depends on how you treat your electric car. For instance, the majority of EV owners charge their vehicles at home. This certainly makes sense from a convenience perspective, but using a rapid commercial charger charges the battery much faster. The downside of more rapid charging relates to more rapid battery degradation. The slower method of recharging at home means your battery may last longer.

In general, hybrid cars usually require battery replacement every 150,000 miles, which for many drivers is about every 15 years.


Electric vehicles are at a disadvantage compared to hybrids when it comes to depreciation. Their five-year depreciation rate is nearly 50 percent. Only very high-end, luxury gas-powered vehicles have a higher depreciation rate, and these cars were very expensive to purchase. Still, the depreciation rate for electric vehicles has dropped by 18 percent since 2019 and may continue to improve.

The five-year depreciation rate for hybrids is 37.4 percent. That’s better than the average 38 percent depreciation rate for all types of vehicles. In fact, only pickup trucks have a lower depreciation rate than hybrid cars.


All vehicles require maintenance, but electric vehicles need far less maintenance than their gas-fueled counterparts. According to AAA, electric vehicles maintained as per the manufacturer’s recommendations cost $949 annually. That is $330 less than a gas-powered car.

Of course, electric vehicles do not need oil changes or air filter replacements. However, hybrid cars will require regular oil changes and air filter replacements for their gasoline engine.


According to the Kelley Blue Book, as of 2024 electric cars with the longest range can travel about 400 miles before recharging. However, the Lucid Air electric car boasts an estimated range of 520 miles. Many other popular models, both high-end and moderately priced, average around the 300 to 350-mile range before needing recharged.

The longest-range plug-in hybrids can go considerably further, as per Car and Driver. Several of these vehicles topped 500 miles on average, with the Mercedes Benz S580e averaging 688 miles. Only a few all-electric cars could top the range of the typical hybrid. If range is a big consideration, the hybrid comes out ahead.

A major difference between hybrid and electric vehicles is that drivers of the former do not experience “range anxiety.” In other words, they don’t worry about getting stuck somewhere without a way to recharge their car.

Performance Metrics

Electric vehicles have instant torque. That means they can accelerate very quickly from a stop. Because they’re also quieter and smoother than gas vehicles, the overall driving experience is enhanced.

Hybrid cars benefit from their versatility when it comes to performance. At low speeds, the electric motor powers the vehicle. Out on the highway at faster or cruising speeds, the gasoline engine takes over. Some hybrid cars have an EV switch, so drivers can ensure the car will drive on electricity only for short distances.

All-wheel drive (AWD) provides better traction for vehicles in inclement weather. Some electric models now offer AWD, making them a safer choice in rain, snow, and ice. However, AWD is still more common in hybrid cars and is often offered as standard or optional equipment. That’s an important consideration if you live in an area subject to frequent winter storms.

Due to the added weight of AWD, fuel economy may suffer somewhat in a hybrid. However, it may prove worth it for the peace of mind AWD can bring while driving in bad weather.

Changing Your Driving Habits

Whether you decide to purchase a hybrid or electric car, there is more we can all do to lower our negative impacts on the environment. On the topic of driving, it’s important to note that how you drive can also be helpful. You can replace some of your car trips by using public transportation, carpooling, or even riding a bicycle. You can also try reducing the number of times you run out for errands — coming up with the most efficient route to minimize fuel consumption. When you need to drive, try only to apply steady pressure as a heavy foot will result in higher fuel consumption.

Hybrid, electric, or not — the less you drive, the better it is for the environment.

Hybrid vs Electric Car Models: Which One Is Right for You?

There are some pretty significant differences between hybrid and electric car models. Despite that, determining which type of vehicle is right for you is a personal choice. Now that you know all about hybrid and electric cars' pros and cons, you can make an informed decision about what kind of car you want to purchase next time you are in the market.

Once you decide to buy your new car, it’s important to get it insured before you drive off the dealer’s lot. The last thing you need is for your brand-new investment to end up totaled or damaged in a crash. Wawanesa offers great rates for good drivers. If you’re not already a Wawanesa member, get a free online quote in just minutes, or call and speak with one of our helpful agents.

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