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Gas, Diesel or Hybrid: What’s the Right Choice for You?

Are you shopping for a new car? You have many choices. There are options to consider besides the make and model. For instance, you can choose between gas, diesel, hybrid and electric vehicles. With elevated gas prices and the threat of gas shortages looming, drivers are more conscious of fuel economy than ever before. The auto industry has responded by offering consumers a variety of energy-efficient vehicles. So you must ask yourself, which type of vehicle provides the most savings on fuel costs?

Electric Vehicles

Say goodbye to the standard engine. Electric vehicles use one or more electric motors for power — plug in, charge it and go! While there are advantages to this simpler design, there are gripes, too. Probably the biggest complaint about EVs is how many miles you can go on a single charge. That said, their ranges have improved in recent years. If you plan on using an electric vehicle for short commutes, a fully-charged 2018 Nissan Leaf® can go up to 150 miles. When you have a much longer trek, a Hyundai Kona Electric can go up 258 miles on a single charge before it needs a re-charge. And, if it’s luxury you’re after, check out the 2019 Audi e-tron 5-seater SUV; it’s got plenty of room and dual-motor all-wheel-drive handling.

With average fuel costs much lower than conventional gas vehicles, you’ll be able to save money while saving the environment. After all, electric cars don’t burn fuel and produce zero emissions. Plus, when you purchase an electric vehicle, you might be eligible for tax credits and other incentives. With so much talk about electric cars, it may be sooner than you think before EVs are mainstream.

Hybrid Cars

Hybrids are available in three subcategories: full, mild and plug-in. All three types use internal combustion engines and at least one battery-powered electric motor. One of the main differences is in how they replenish and save energy in the battery. All three types can achieve high fuel-efficiency ratings, but one is more fuel efficient — full hybrids.

Here’s a breakdown on the modes of hybrid vehicles. When a hybrid is in series mode, the electric motor propels the car, and the gas engine serves as a power generator for the motor. Parallel mode means the electric motor and gas engine are both moving the vehicle along. An all-electric mode is as it seems, as it only uses the electric part of the powertrain. Full hybrids, like a Toyota Prius, automatically switch between series, parallel and all-electric modes. A car such as a Honda Jazz is considered a “mild hybrid” — it will always operate in parallel mode, so it’s not as fuel-efficient as a full hybrid. Finally, we have the plug-in hybrid. There are compact models that we all know, such as the Chevy Volt. However, if you think you have to sacrifice luxury for fuel-saving technology, think again. You can purchase a Mercedes-Benz C350e and enjoy a plug-in hybrid luxury sedan. Hybrids may not accelerate as quickly as gas-powered cars, but they’re a worthy investment that will save you money in the long run.

Diesel Cars

Diesel cars have a mixed reputation. After all, people associate diesel cars with a loud rumble and stinky, black exhaust. Thanks to technological advancements in fuel additives and engine technology, you no longer have to worry about that with the newer models. However, diesel cars still use expensive heavy-duty parts. They also weigh more than gas-powered cars. The parts on conventional gas vehicles are lighter than diesel vehicles, making a gas-powered automobile more affordable.

Another thing to consider is the cost of diesel versus regular gasoline. Buying diesel at the pump is usually more expensive. However, cars with diesel engines can run further on a gallon of fuel than their gasoline-powered counterparts, which means that you can expect greater fuel efficiency. Plus, unlike a gas engine, you’ll never need to replace spark plugs or have to do any costly ignition tune-ups. Gasoline-powered cars may have the greater horsepower, but diesel cars generate more torque, which is why many commercial trucks are diesel-powered. So, if you need something for heavy hauling and with high towing capacity, consider something like a Dodge Ram 1500 truck. The verdict: when you factor in the cost at the pump and the extra mileage you get from diesel engines, you’ll find that the final price of gas and diesel powertrains even up.

Conventional Gas Vehicles

Conventional gas vehicles have come a long way. You can still buy those fuel guzzling, gas-powered cars on the lot. However, you can also discover automobiles that align with your eco-friendly ethos. Almost every car maker features a model made from lightweight materials with above-average miles per gallon. Plus, gas-powered cars create more horsepower than diesel, hybrid and electric cars, which is why they remain the best choice if you’re looking for something sportier.

With the right planning, a trip to a car dealership can be a rewarding experience. All the vehicle types we mentioned have strengths and weaknesses. Go ahead and test drive the four types of cars mentioned above. Ultimately, the best choice is what makes you happy, whether you want a car that saves on fuel costs, is better for the environment, or you need one that can tow a trailer. 

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