Fueling Your Ride: Gas, Electric, or Hybrid? How to Choose the Best Option for Your Journey Ahead


Dan Hosier

Back in August, President Biden signed an Executive Order stating that 50% of all new vehicles sold by American automakers in 2030 will be zero-emission vehicles.

The Executive Order also launched the development of long-term fuel efficiency and emissions standards designed to save consumers money, reduce air pollution, boost levels of public health and tackle the climate crisis.

We are a scant eight years away from 2030. That means the next vehicle you buy — or most likely the one after that — will be a battery electric, plug-in hybrid electric, gas-electric hybrid or fuel cell electric vehicle.

Are you ready to abandon the conventional gas-powered automobile? Are you ready to plug in? Here are some factors to consider when making your decision, and why they all matter.

Current events

Prices for both new and preowned vehicles have skyrocketed. The average price of gasoline is approaching an all-time high, and has exceeded that level in several states. If you were ever motivated to go electric, that time appears to be now. Or, if you were simply intent on squeezing every last mile from your current ride, your timing is also perfect.

Where you live and work

Electric (EV) and plug-in hybrid (PHEV) vehicles are perfect for the everyday commuter. If you plug in at home every night, they will enable eco-friendly short-range electric driving free of anxiety. A round-trip commute of 50 miles or less is the perfect application for an inexpensive and practical electric or hybrid vehicle.

Going the extra mile

If you plan on longer trips, both electric and hybrid models still fit the bill. The range for many of today’s EVs exceed 300 miles, and your vehicle or GPS or phone app will let you display every charging station along your route. PHEVs allow short-range electric driving with the benefit of a gasoline engine to make long trips easy and anxiety-free.

What’s on board

Many EVs and PHEVs are compact by design. A small, light form factor translates into a less expensive and more efficient vehicle. Plus, with the battery being the most costly component, a smaller battery can easily power a compact EV. So, if you plan to transport multiple people or significant cargo on a regular basis, a traditional EV or PHEV may not be the right choice for you.

Your budget

Much like conventional vehicles, prices for EVs or PHEVs greatly vary. Consider, though, that EV buyers will likely save thousands of dollars on fuel and maintenance, and earn a federal tax credit of $7,500 on most (but not all) models. Before you invest $20,000 on a preowned Chevy Volt or $100,000 on a new Tesla Model S, however, decide what you can afford to spend every month on transportation — especially if your EV is a secondary vehicle.

Your mindset

Buying an EV definitely requires a behavioral change, certainly as it relates to driving range. Many potential EV drivers are paralyzed by the fear of a drained battery that leaves them stranded and helpless. But range anxiety can be managed in multiple ways — with a charging station in your garage or driveway, with careful attention to your vehicle’s charging station prompts and alerts, and with the knowledge there are roughly 44,000 public charging stations and 120,000 charging ports in the USA with more popping up virtually every hour.

Truth is, many people still don’t trust the electrification of cars and the technology that drives them. They fear the cost to purchase and repair, the minimal public adoption, the infancy of the charging station infrastructure and, of course, the range anxiety.

But times are changing. The technology is inspiring. And auto manufacturers across the globe are reshaping themselves as climate-friendly stakeholders with a common purpose.

So be excited for the future of electric mobility. Be proud of reducing your carbon footprint. Be thrilled to whiz past gas stations. When you are ready to dip one toe in the electrified water, the vehicle that’s just right for you will be waiting.

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