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Hybrid vs Plug-in Hybrid EXPLAINED!

Hybrid vs Plug-in Hybrid, which one is better? As an engineer with 15+ years of experience in the automotive industry and several years of entrepreneurship, I’m here to help you with the advice and knowledge needed to make the right decision when it comes to choosing between hybrid vs plug in hybrid vehicles.

Hybrid and plug-in hybrid vehicles offer similar benefits, such as improved fuel economy and reduced emissions. However, there are some key differences between the two types of vehicles.

  • Plug-in hybrids can travel further on electric power alone than a traditional hybrid vehicle, allowing them to be driven for extended periods without using any gasoline. They also tend to have larger batteries that require more frequent charging.
  • Hybrid vehicles rely heavily on gasoline for power, but their batteries recharge automatically while driving.

Hybrid vs Plug-in Hybrid Overview

Here’s a quick overview of hybrid vs plug in hybrid cars and their features:

Hybrid vs Plug-in Hybrid Cars Comparison

FeaturesHybridPlug-In Hybrid
Can charge from an external power sourceNoYes
Battery SizeSmallMedium
Range only on electric motor25-90 miles
Charging fromRegenerative brakingRegenerative braking + external power supply
Fuel efficiencyGoodBetter than standard hybrid for short trips
EmissionsReducedLower than standard hybrid for short trips
MaintenanceA bit more than a gas carSimilar to a standard hybrid, but can be costly if replacing the battery
Hybrid VS Plug-in cars: features comparison table

What is a Hybrid Vehicle?

A hybrid vehicle is a car that combines both an internal combustion engine and an electric motor, allowing the driver to take advantage of both power sources.

The gasoline engine powers the vehicle when needed, while the electric motor helps to reduce emissions and improve fuel efficiency. Depending on the type of hybrid vehicle, drivers can also use regenerative braking for additional power.

Benefits of Hybrid Vehicles

Exploring the pros and cons of hybrid cars is for sure an interesting topic, let’s have a quick look!

1. Lower travel cost per mile

When comparing the pros and cons of hybrid vs gas cars, one of the most insteresting aspects is the cost to travel one mile, an area where electric vehicles are the clear leaders, followed by hybrids.

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

The data in the above table has been extracted from the chart of the Idaho National Lab (INL), and shows that hybrid vehicles can save owners money in fuel costs over time compared to traditional gasoline or diesel vehicles.

2. Fuel Efficiency

Hybrid vehicles are designed to be more fuel efficient than traditional gas-powered cars due to their ability to switch between electricity and gasoline when needed. This means that drivers can save money at the pump by using less gasoline overall.

3. Emissions Reduction

Hybrids emit fewer pollutants than conventional gas-powered cars because they rely more on electric power than gasoline. This makes them better for the environment since they produce fewer greenhouse gases.

However, a recent study from the International Council for Clean Transportation, found that actual real world emissions may be twice as high as declared!

Limitations of Hybrid Vehicles

One limitation of hybrid vehicles is that they require regular maintenance like any other car, such as oil changes and tire rotations.

But the major limitation of any hybrid vehicle is the battery life. This can be a major problem when selling or buying a used hybrid car that is already a few years old. In fact, the life of the battery depends a lot on how the car was used and mantained, and replacing the batery can be extremely costly and even exceed the value of the car!

Plug in hybrids have a larger battery, compared to standard hybrids, so, replacing the battery would cost even more.

What is a Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle (PHEV)?

A plug-in hybrid electric vehicle ( PHEV ) is similar to a standard hybrid but with one key difference: it has an external charging port, allowing it to be plugged into an outlet or charging station. This allows drivers to recharge their batteries without relying solely on regenerative braking, which means they can travel farther distances without having to refuel.

However, plug-in hybrids can’t travel as far on a single charge (without using the gas engine) as other types of electric vehicles.

Benefits of PHEVs

Plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) are the perfect combination of both hybrid and electric cars, offering drivers the convenience of using local electric power alone or the gas engine for longer trips.

1. Longer Driving Range on Electric Power Alone

One key benefit of owning a plug-in hybrid is its longer driving range on electric power alone. This means you don’t need to worry about running out of fuel while traveling long distances as you would with a regular hybrid car.

2. Lower emissions than gas cars

Plug-in hybrids have lower emissions than gas cars, and also of full hybrids in certain scenarios due to their ability to recharge from an external power source.

Limitations of PHEVs

Plug-in hybrids offer many advantages over traditional hybrids, but they also have some limitations.

1. Frequent Charging Requirements

While there are many benefits associated with owning a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle, there are also some drawbacks worth considering. One major limitation is the frequent charging requirements needed in order for your car battery not to run out too quickly. Plugging in your car at least once per week is recommended in order for it maintain its maximum efficiency and performance levels.

2. Cost of buying

The cost of buying a PHEV is typically higher than that of a standard hybrid car.

3. Reliance on fossil fuels

While they produce fewer emissions than gasoline vehicles, PHEVs still rely on fossil fuels for power and may not be as environmentally friendly as fully electric cars.

Which is Better for You: Hybrid or Plug-in Hybrid?

When it comes to choosing between a hybrid or plug-in hybrid vehicle, there are several factors to consider. Plug-in hybrids offer the convenience of both electric and gasoline power, while fully electric vehicles have zero emissions and require less maintenance. Hybrids provide good fuel efficiency but may not be as environmentally friendly as an EV. Ultimately, it depends on your needs and budget.

Hybrid vs. Plug-in Hybrid Fuel Economy

  • Full hybrids typically get around 50 miles per gallon combined, while plug-in hybrids may even use zero fuel and go full electric for the first 25-50 miles.
  • Plug-ins also tend to be more fuel efficient when driven regularly in city traffic or over short distances as they are able to rely more heavily on electric power alone.

Hybrid vs. Plug-in Hybrid Emissions Reduction

Overall, the reduction of emissions depends on your daily use of the vehicle. for example, if your daily commute is below 25 miles, you may be able to do it without using any fuel with a plug in hybrid.

On the other hand, a standard hybrid will almast always use also the gas engine.

Fully electric cars are the most emissions-free option, but they’re also the most expensive and require the least regular maintenance. EVs have a driving range of well over 200 miles and require planning regarding where and when to charge them up.

Hybrid vs Plug-in Hybrid Costs

The cost difference between hybrids and plug-in hybrids varies widely depending on make, model, year, size, etc. Generally speaking though, PHEVs tend to cost more upfront due largely in part due to their larger battery packs necessary for extended driving range capabilities.

However, many states offer tax credits or other incentives that could offset some costs associated with purchasing these types of vehicles.

  • Full hybrid models typically start around $25K while plug-ins usually start around $30K ( prices vary greatly ).
  • Tax credits/rebates offered by various states could bring down your total purchase price significantly depending upon your location – check with your state’s department of motor vehicles for details!

Driving Habits & Needs

The first factor to consider when choosing between a hybrid or a plug-in hybrid is your driving habits. If you typically drive short distances on a daily basis, then a standard hybrid may be the better option for you as it will be more cost-effective in terms of purchasing price. However, if you tend to travel longer distances, then the extra range provided by the plug-in version may be worth considering.

It’s also important to take into account any other needs that might influence your choice. For instance, if you need access to charging infrastructure while traveling long distances, then a plug-in hybrid would provide this capability whereas with a regular hybrid car this would not be possible.

Environmental Impact & Emissions Reduction Goals

Another factor that should be taken into consideration when deciding between hybrids and plug-in hybrids is their respective environmental impacts. Electric vehicles (EVs) are generally considered more environmentally friendly than traditional gasoline or diesel cars due to their zero tailpipe emissions. Read more about the pros and cons of hybrid vs electric vehicles here.

Hybrids have lower emissions than gasoline cars but still produce some exhaust gases due to their combustion engines.

Plug-in hybrids offer further reductions in emissions compared with standard hybrids due to their ability to recharge from an external power source instead of relying solely on regenerative braking for recharging purposes.

Depending on how electricity is generated in the region or country where they are used, EVs can reduce greenhouse gas emissions by up 90% compared with gasoline powered cars.

Available Tax Credits & Incentives for Hybrids & PHEVs

Finally, many governments offer tax credits or other incentives for purchasing electric vehicles. These incentives vary depending on location, so it’s important to research what options are available before making your purchase. Additionally, some states have implemented programs that allow drivers of electric vehicles to access highways during peak hours without having to pay toll fees.


Which type of hybrid vehicle is preferable: plug-in or regular?

The choice between a plug-in hybrid and a full hybrid depends on the individual’s needs. Both vehicles offer good fuel efficiency, but the plug-in hybrid requires an external power source to recharge its larger battery, while the full hybrid can recharge through regenerative braking. The plug-in offers greater electric range than a full hybrid, making it ideal for longer trips. For those who don’t drive long distances often, a full hybrid may be more cost effective due to its lower purchase price.

Which type of hybrid vehicle is preferable: plug-in or regular?

It depends on your needs and preferences. A plug-in hybrid can be plugged into an external power source for a full recharge, while a full hybrid can recharge its electric battery through regenerative braking. Plug-in hybrids have larger batteries that require more charging, but they may also offer greater range and efficiency than full hybrids.

Which type of vehicle is more cost-effective: hybrid or plug-in hybrid?

When it comes to saving money, both hybrid and plug-in hybrid vehicles have their benefits. Hybrid cars rely on regenerative braking to recharge their electric batteries, while plug-in hybrids must be connected to an external power source for a full recharge. Plug-in hybrids typically require less fuel than traditional hybrids, meaning lower fuel costs over time. However, the upfront cost of a plug-in hybrid is usually higher due to its larger battery size.

What is the distinction between a hybrid and plug-in hybrid vehicle?

Hybrid and plug-in hybrid cars both use a combination of gasoline and electric power to operate. The main difference between the two is that a plug-in hybrid needs to be connected to an external power source in order to recharge its larger battery, whereas a full hybrid can charge its battery through regenerative braking. This means that plug-in hybrids are able to drive longer distances on electricity alone than traditional hybrids.


When it comes to hybrid vs plug in hybrid, both offer a great option for reducing your carbon footprint.

Hybrid vehicles are more affordable and have fewer emissions than traditional gas-powered cars.

Plug in hybrids provide the convenience of being able to charge your car at home or on the go, while still providing you with the same efficiency as a traditional hybrid. Ultimately, it is up to you to decide which option best fits your needs and lifestyle.

No matter which type of hybrid vehicle you choose, you can rest assured knowing that you are making an environmentally responsible decision. Both hybrid and plug in hybrids offer excellent fuel economy and reduced emissions compared to their gas-powered counterparts, so whichever option you choose will help reduce your environmental impact. So don’t wait any longer, find out now which type of hybrid is better for you!