Pros and Cons of Electric vs Gas Powered Cars

You may have heard a lot about electric vehicles (EVs) and wonder if they are a good alternative to gas cars. Perhaps you may be shopping for a car and are trying to decide what to buy.

You are not alone in your interest. In a recent Pew Research survey, 39% of people said they are thinking of buying an electric vehicle. Thanks to better and less expensive technology, electric vehicles have been growing in popularity. There are more than 1.8 million registered EVs in the United States — up three times since 2016.

Learn more about these vehicles and the pros and cons of owning an electric versus gas-powered car.

How Are Electric and Gas Vehicles Different?

Gas and electric vehicles are powered differently. Gas-powered cars use an internal combustion engine, whereas electric vehicles derive their power from a battery. You may be surprised to learn that electrical vehicles were developed in the 1800s as an alternative to the horse and buggy. EVs declined in popularity with the rise of the gas-powered car. Soaring gas prices and environmental concerns have spurred the latest interest in EVs.

There are three main types of electric vehicles.

  • Battery-powered vehicles rely only on electricity. These vehicles do not have tailpipes that release exhaust, so they are more economically friendly.

  • The plug-in type derives electricity from power stations, but they also use gas.

  • The hybrid types of electric vehicles mostly use gas, but they have components powered by electricity.

These vehicles are different in price, reliability, environmental impact, and time to refuel, so it's important to research and think about what's most important to you.

Pros and Cons of Electric Vehicles

EVs have notable advantages, which is why more people are buying them. These cars are favored in terms of energy efficiency, and they are more environmentally friendly. Further, they are quieter to drive, which may make your time on the road more pleasant.

While there are pros to buying an EV, there are significant drawbacks to consider. One major disadvantage is these vehicles need to be recharged more often than a gas car. Also, charging a car takes a lot more time than adding gas to one. Battery-powered cars take up to 12 hours to charge to drive 50 miles. Most drivers deal power their cars overnight. Hybrid EVs, which use both electricity and gas, have better fuel economy and can drive large distances.

As for price, an EV is more expensive to buy than a gas car. However, EVs require fewer repairs and are less expensive to maintain. To offset the price, there are also financial incentives to buying them, depending on where you live. The Alternative Fuels Data Center maintains information on such incentives on the federal and state level.

Pros and Cons of Gas-Powered Vehicles

Gas-powered cars are more established, so there are many more options to find the model you want. Currently, there aren't larger EVs on the market, such as sport-utility vehicles or minivans. 

Also, gas stations aren't hard to find, and there are fewer EV charging stations. Gas cars are superior for convenient travel across long distances.

Cost is both a pro and con for gas-powered vehicles. While gas cars are often less expensive, there will probably be more trips to the mechanic. Such repair costs add up. Further, gas-powered cars are that they are more expensive to maintain and fuel costs can be burdensome, especially during periods of high oil prices. In contrast, hybrid EVs, which use gas and electricity, have better fuel economy.

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