Do Hybrid Cars Use Gas? (and How MUCH) [2023]

Hybrid cars are the perfect combination of fuel efficiency and power. They are definitely the talk of the town when it comes to eco-friendliness and earth-loving. But wait, do hybrid cars use gas? This is a question that has puzzled many drivers and car enthusiasts alike. Here’s the quick answer:

Yes, hybrid cars use gas. Hybrid vehicles combine an internal combustion engine with an electric motor and battery, meaning that some of the power comes from fuel. While plug-in hybrids are able to run on all electricity alone, they must be refueled with gasoline once that runs out. This is why most owners of a hybrid car will want to make sure they keep their tank filled for when needed.

However, how much gas will a hybrid car use compared to a gasoline car? And when do hybrids use gas? Keep reading to find out!

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When do hybrid cars use gas?

Hybrid cars use gas in conjunction with an electric motor in a few different scenarios:

  • At higher speeds – Once hybrids reach around 35-40 mph, they typically switch to using the gas engine as the main propulsion source. This is because gas engines are efficient at sustained higher speeds.
  • For acceleration – The electric motor provides good initial acceleration, but most hybrids will kick in the gas engine for faster acceleration or climbing hills. This provides an extra boost of power when needed.
  • When the battery is low – If the battery charge gets low, the gas engine will turn on to run the generator and recharge the battery. This extends the hybrid’s range.
  • In cold temperatures – Hybrid batteries can lose power in very cold weather. So hybrids will rely more on the gas engine in cold temperatures to reduce battery drain.
  • For the air conditioning – The air conditioner compressor is usually run off the gas engine rather than the electric motor to reduce electrical load.

So hybrids use electric and gas power together strategically – electric for efficiency and gas for performance when needed. The computer switches seamlessly between them to optimize fuel economy and operation.

Finally, the way hybrids use gas depends on their type. So, a plug-in hybrid will for example use gas in different circumstances compared to a mild hybrid car. Let’s have a look at the differences!

Different Types of Hybrid Cars

Before going more in detail about how much gas hybrid cars use, it’s important to know that hybrid vehicles are not all the same. This can affect gas consumption as well.

So, hybrids have a number of pros and cons depending on the type of systems they use, for example, the consumption of a standard hybrid will be different from a plug-in hybrid.

Here are the different types of hybrid cars currently available!

Hybrid Electric Vehicles (HEVs)

Hybrid electric vehicles, or HEVs, are the most common type of hybrids. An HEV is powered by a gas engine and an electric motor, usually connected to a battery.

The energy generated from the combustion engine is used to power both the wheels and the electric motor to charge the battery. This means that when you accelerate, both fuel and electricity are used for added power, which increases efficiency.

The advantages of driving an HEV include improved fuel economy, lower emissions, and quiet operation due to its all-electric mode. The initial cost can be higher than other cars, however, HEVs provide greater savings in the long run due to their increased efficiency compared with non-hybrid cars.

Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles (PHEVs)

Plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) are similar to regular hybrid vehicles; they use both gasoline and electricity. However, PHEVs offer more flexibility than traditional hybrids because they can recharge their batteries via an outlet or wall socket and travel for extended distances on full electric power.

The main advantages of PHEVs are even better fuel economy since they rely heavily on electricity as opposed to gasoline when operating in their all-electric mode.

They also feature low emissions and require less maintenance than regular hybrids since their internal combustion engines don’t need to run as much. The higher cost associated with buying a PHEV is offset by savings in the long run due to increased efficiency.

Those types of vehicles are becoming more and more popular, and a lot of drivers are looking for the best plug-in hybrid SUV. If you are one of them, then I wrote a dedicated article about it!

Mild Hybrid Electric Vehicles (MHEVs)

Mild hybrid electric vehicles (MHEVs) are a variation on traditional hybrid vehicles. Unlike PHEVs or HEVs that have an internal combustion engine powering an electric motor and battery combination, MHEVs have only an internal combustion engine with a small integrated motor/generator system. These systems use regenerative braking technology from the electric motor/generator to capture and store additional energy that would otherwise be lost as heat during standard brake operations.

MHEVs offer many of the same advantages as traditional hybrids such as improved fuel economy over non-hybrids and lower emissions than conventional gasoline engines. Additionally, MHEVs tend to have smaller batteries than standard hybrids so they require less maintenance over time compared with other types of hybrids.

However, the size of the benefits of MHEVs is much lower compared to a full hybrid car. You can read a detailed comparison of mild hybrid vs full hybrid vehicles here!

How much gas do hybrid cars use?

A major advantage of hybrid vehicles is fuel economy, they generally consume fewer gallons of gasoline per mile than standard gasoline-powered cars do.

Hybrids typically get better mileage due to their reliance on both electrical power and gasoline power simultaneously during acceleration as well as regenerative braking technology.

Here’s a handy cost-per-mile comparison table (source: INL) between fully electric, hybrid, and gas cars:

Travel Cost Per Mile – Gas vs Hybrid vs Electric Cars

Gas PriceGas CarHybrid CarElectric CarElectricity Price
2$ / gal0.09$ / mile0.04$ / mile0.01$ / mile0.02$ / kWh
2.5$ / gal0.14$ / mile0.06$ / mile0.03$ / mile0.09$ / kWh
3$ / gal0.17$ / mile0.07$ / mile0.05$ / mile0.16$ / kWh
3.5$ / gal0.20$ / mile0.08$ / mile0.07$ / mile0.23$ / kWh
Cost per mile based on gas and electricity prices – Gas vs Hybrid vs Electric Cars

As you can see from the above table, hybrid cars can save a lot of money compared to traditional gas cars! Note that electric cars don’t have engines and don’t use any gas, you need to consider the cost of the electricity.

Plug-in hybrids operating solely on electricity also benefit from reduced weight due to lighter components like electric motors which help increase fuel economy for both city driving and highway cruising.

So, are hybrid vehicles worth it? It really depends on your driving style and expected yearly mileage.

How far can a hybrid car go without gas?

The electric-only range for hybrid cars varies quite a bit depending on the specific hybrid model. Here are some more details:

  • Full hybrids – These can go 1-25 miles on electric-only before the gas engine kicks in.
  • Plug-in hybrids – These have larger batteries so they can go 10-140 miles in electric mode if fully charged. More recent models can go up to 140 miles using only the electric motor.
  • Range-extended electric vehicles – These go 40-300 miles on a charge since they have large batteries. The engine acts as a generator to extend the range.

What fuel do hybrid cars use?

Hybrid cars use a combination of gasoline (petrol) and electricity as fuel sources. The gasoline engine provides power and recharges the batteries, while the electric motor uses stored battery power for extra efficiency and acceleration. By blending electric and gas propulsion, hybrids achieve better fuel economy than traditional gas-only vehicles.


Hybrid cars save lots of fuel when compared to non-hybrids, with as much as third fewer emissions, coming from their capacity to make use of wasted energy.

So hybrid cars are not only saving you money but can also help us to improve sustainability and save the planet.

Hybrid Cars technology overview

Here’s a quick overview of the tech used by hybrid cars:

  • Engine: Most automakers still use gasoline engines for hybrids but increasingly diesel options are becoming available too.
  • Electric Motor + Generator: This combination provides superior torque at lower speeds allowing for faster off-the-line performance while avoiding laggy acceleration when starting up from rest.
  • Battery: Provides energy storage for powering the electric motor & storing reclaimed energy from braking & deceleration so it can be reused later thus improving performance & efficiency.
  • Modern hybrid automatic transmissions have been upgraded to give you a smoother and more efficient ride. Advanced algorithms adjust the gear shifting points based on your driving style, road gradient and car load, optimizing the performance of your car.

By the way, did you know that electric cars also have a much simpler transmission compared to hybrids? This helps to get their operating cost super low, even compared to hybrid cars!

Operation of the Internal Combustion Engine

Hybrid cars have an internal combustion engine (ICE) that combines the power of petrol and electricity. This setup maximizes fuel efficiency, allowing you to get more out of each gallon and reducing emissions.

The engine works by sucking in air and compressing it so that it ignites any spark plug with a fuel-air mixture. This combustible mix is then released into cylinders, where an electric spark provides further ignition and releases energy which turns the wheels.

The Role of Batteries in Hybrid Cars

Hybrid cars utilize a combination of both battery and gas power to generate motion. This allows for improved fuel efficiency, since the car can switch between different modes as needed.

The battery stores energy from regenerative braking or from charging from an external source, and releases its stored energy when the vehicle demands additional power. In addition, the combination of gas and battery power works together to reduce emissions.

Role of Regenerative Braking

Regenerative braking plays a key role in hybrid cars, as it enables them to slow down and recover some of the kinetic energy that is otherwise lost due to friction braking. This recovered energy can then be stored in the battery for later use when accelerating the vehicle again. By utilizing this method of braking, hybrid cars are able to save fuel with each slow-down.

During regenerative braking, the electric motor is used to convert some of the kinetic energy into electrical energy which is subsequently stored in the car’s battery. This stored electricity can then be used whenever needed and helps to reduce the amount of gasoline consumed by the engine when accelerating.

Engine Performance

The combination of an internal combustion engine and an electric motor offers improved engine performance compared with conventional vehicles that only have a single power source.

In hybrid cars, much of the power generated comes from both sources instead of just one, resulting in a boost in overall performance rating.

Moreover, thanks to this dual-power system, car owners don’t need to opt for bigger gas engines like other conventional cars. Instead, the climate conscious driver can select a smaller engine that still provides enough power for their needs without compromising on efficiency or performance.

The cost of owning an hybrid car

The cost of owning a hybrid car may be higher than that of its conventional counterparts at first glance. However, long-term benefits should also be taken into account before ruling out these fuel-saving vehicles.

Savings come primarily from improvements in fuel efficiency and reduced emissions, both directly impacting your wallet.

The cost of car insurance is also an important factor to consider. If you’re trying to save money, one way to do it is by shopping around for insurance online. One interesting option to save money is the Drive Safe and Save by state Farm, you can read my review here.


How long is the maximum distance a hybrid vehicle can travel without needing to refuel?

Hybrids can be driven in electric-only mode for 10-50+ miles before needing to refuel with gasoline. In hybrid mode, some models can travel up to 300+ miles without the need for a gas station. So, depending on the particular hybrid model, drivers could potentially go far distances without relying on traditional fuels.

Can hybrid cars operate without gasoline?

Hybrid cars are able to run on either electric power or gasoline. The choice is up to the driver; a hybrid car can be driven solely on electric energy, or it can use both electric and gas depending on the needs of the driver. While electric-only mode may be limited between 10-50+ miles, some hybrids are capable of traveling 300+ miles in hybrid mode using a combination of electric and fuel.


Hybrid cars are often embraced as a great way to save on fuel costs and reduce emissions, but it is important to remember that these vehicles still need to use gas in some capacity.

While they can run solely on electric power, they require gas to re-fuel once the battery has been depleted. So when it comes down to it, the answer to the question “do hybrid cars use gas?” is yes.

This makes hybrids a great option for those who want to enjoy the benefits of zero-emission driving without sacrificing convenience. With this cost-effective and environment-friendly choice, you can go green and still take those long journeys with confidence.

So if you’re looking for an efficient and economical car, do consider hybrid cars, because do hybrid cars use gas? The answer is yes.

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