Pros and Cons: Electric Cars vs. Gas Cars

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Comparing Electric Cars & Gas Cars

Thinking of buying a new car to replace your old family sedan? Or are you looking to save on gas prices by upgrading from a gas guzzler to a more economical and energy-efficient vehicle? No matter your reason for getting a new car, it can be super tough to know which car to choose, especially when bringing electric vs. gas into the mix. Electric cars are modern, eco-friendly, and boast long-term economic benefits. But gas cars are better for driving in rural areas and might be closer to what you’re used to.

To help you choose, we’ve broken down the pros and cons of electric cars vs. gas cars in detail.

How they work: electric vs. gas-powered cars

Electric cars are exactly what they sound like: automobiles powered partially or solely by electricity. In a nutshell, electric cars run on rechargeable batteries. Some EVs combine their batteries with conventional gas tanks.

In contrast, gas-powered cars use internal combustion engines. These engines funnel gas-air mixtures into combustion cylinders, where they explode with the help of a tiny spark. The resulting explosive energy drives pistons downward, creating momentum that the engine turns into motor power.

Both types of vehicles get you from place to place, but they each have distinct advantages and disadvantages.

Hybrid vehicles – the best of both worlds?

These days, you can purchase hybrid electric cars and see some of the benefits of both gas and electric power. There are a few different types of hybrid vehicles:

As you can see, you’ve got a lot of choices if you go electric! Let’s start narrowing down your options by comparing the main factors of both gas and electric vehicles.

Driving range

Lots of car shoppers worry about electric cars’ driving ranges. The last thing you want while on a road trip in a new, fancy electric car is to run out of juice in the middle of nowhere with nary a charging station in sight.

The driving range for electric cars can vary greatly, and it’s usually measured in kilowatt-hours per 100 miles. For example, the 2022 Tesla Model 3 RWD boasts a pretty impressive 25 kWh/100 miles. In contrast, the 2022 Chevrolet Bolt EUV manages 29 kWh/100 miles for a more budget-friendly price.

Average driving range – electric vs. gas

According to the US Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, the average electric vehicle in the United States has a maximum driving range of 234 miles. Meanwhile, the average gas-powered vehicle has a maximum range of 403 miles. So, in general, you’ll be better off taking a cross-country road trip with a gas-powered car than an electric one.

But remember that it depends on the type of electric vehicle you purchase – and whether there are charging stations along your route.

Speaking of charging stations, they’re one of the main concerns of would-be electric drivers. If you choose a plug-in hybrid electric car, you’re tethered to driving routes with charging stations and have to return home to plug in your car and top off the battery frequently. Keep this in mind when deciding whether to go electric or gas. Charging stations are cropping up more and more around the country, but it’ll likely still be a few years before they’re as common as gas stations.

Initial and long-term costs

Of course, you shouldn’t buy any new car without considering how much it’ll cost in the short and long term! Lots of electric vehicle owners claim their cars have lower ongoing costs compared to gas-powered cars… but is that the truth?

Purchase price

The average new electric car costs about $10,000 more than a gas-powered car. That’s because electric cars require advanced parts and manufacturing methods compared to gas cars. But while electric cars might cost more now, remember that they may cost less in the future as they become more common and manufacturing methods are streamlined, especially with affordable loans.

Ongoing costs

Long-term or ongoing costs are where electric vehicles really start to benefit your budget. According to a 2020 study, electric vehicle drivers spend 60% less on fuel costs compared to gas-powered vehicles. A similar study from 2018 shows that average electric car fuel costs are just $485 a year. In contrast, average gas costs are around $1,100 a year.

Don’t forget the cost of pricey trips to the auto repair shop for maintenance! While the right auto repair loan can help you get back on the road ASAP, electric vehicles usually require fewer maintenance appointments and less maintenance overall. That’s because electric vehicles only have one internal moving part: the motor. Gas-powered vehicles have hundreds of different moving parts that might suffer from wear and tear.

Don’t forget tax credits!

While electric cars cost more upfront than gas cars, gas cars don’t come along with any tax credits. In fact, electric vehicles purchased either in or after 2010 may qualify owners for federal tax incentives.

Many states also offer tax credits to benefit their residents. For instance, Colorado offers qualified EV owners a special tax credit of between $2,500 and $10,000 for purchasing, converting, or leasing an electric vehicle.

Mid adult woman plugging in an electric car to charge. Okayama, Japan, 2021.

Electric car pros & cons

So, should you say goodbye to the gas pump and go electric or hybrid? There are both positives and negatives to electric cars.



Gas car pros & cons

Even with the appeal of newfangled electric vehicles, you might decide to stick with the well-known benefits and downsides of gas-powered cars.



Which car is right for you?

When you hit the road, the most important thing is that you have a car that you like. Whether that’s gas or electric, you should consider the pros and cons of both vehicle types to make sure you get the right set of wheels for your needs. Now that you know the differences between gas and electric cars, you’re ready to drive off a dealership lot with a car you’ll love!

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Sources Accessed 6/18/2022 – – Model Year 2021 All-Electric Vehicles Had a Median Driving Range about 60% That of Gasoline Powered Vehicles

NRDC – Electric vs. Gas Cars: Is It Cheaper to Drive an EV?

Consumer Reports – Electric Vehicle Ownership Costs

Forbes – Electric Vehicles Cost Less Than Half as Much to Drive

Idaho National Laboratory – How Do Gasoline & Electric Vehicles Compare?

Plug In America – State Incentives

US Department of Energy – Colorado Laws and Incentives

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