Benefits of Electric Vehicles, Hybrids, and Plug-in Hybrid Vehicles

Clean Vehicles

Benefits Of Electric Vehicles Hybrids And Plug In Hybrid Vehicles

One of the best things a person can do to reduce their carbon footprint is to use an electric vehicle (EV) instead of a vehicle with a fossil fuel-based internal combustion engine (ICE). EVs are quickly becoming more popular in terms of new vehicle sales throughout the world.

Between 100%-EVs and PHEVs, the total amount of electric vehicles sold globally is 18% of new vehicle sales as of August 2023.

The next best option to an EV for low-emission driving is a hybrid. Electric vehicles, hybrids, and plug-in hybrids all help to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs) from one of the biggest causes of climate change on the planet - ICE automobiles. 

Cellulosic EthanolStandard hybrid vehicles have modified internal combustion engines made to use biofuel (ethanol or biodiesel), or (most frequently) a biofuel-gasoline blend. [For more on biofuel, see this article].

Plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) have internal combustion engines but also have electric motors. Blended (or parallel) PHEVs run on both petrol-fueled engines in addition to electric motors most of the time. Extended-range PHEVs can run on their electric motors only (switching from the motor to the engine as necessary).

Hybrids still use combustion for power; fuel is still used (the fuel for a hybrid might be 100%-biofuel, or often it's a gasoline-biofuel blend - for a full list of fuels for hybrid vehicles, see below). Fully electric vehicles (100%-EVs) run on electric motors entirely.

Vehicles in the United States typically consume about 9 million barrels of gasoline per day (a rough estimate of all vehicles' gas use in the U.S. per day). The U.S. transportation sector accounts for about 29% of the GHGs produced by the U.S. domestically; with about 60% of those GHG emissions just coming from passenger vehicles.

Increased adoption and use of hybrid vehicles and EVs will decrease gasoline use, increase efficiency (both the cost- and fuel-efficiency) of vehicles on the road, reduce transportation-related GHGs, and improve air quality; thus improving overall public health, and even the financial well-being, of drivers in general.

Benefits of EVs and Hybrids


100%-EVs are the more environmentally friendly choice (as they produce zero emissions), however, hybrid vehicles have increased gas mileage compared to standard vehicles while also lowering carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs). 100%-EVs produce zero tailpipe pollution.

The benefits of hybrid cars include a variety of short-term and long-term financial savings as well, even above and beyond savings on gas due to the increased fuel efficiency of hybrids. For example, the purchase of hybrid vehicles, PHEVs, and EVs often includes manufacturer and retailer incentives and rebates, in addition to state and federal tax incentives (especially for plug-in hybrids and electric vehicles).

EVs and hybrids offer long-term savings such as lower maintenance costs, in addition to increased fuel efficiency, and decreased cost to run the vehicle. EVs and hybrids are also much better for the environment than conventional ICE vehicles, generating much less pollution. EVs also offer a vastly better driving experience than ICE vehicles and reduce noise pollution.

EVs have a much lower total cost of ownership than ICE vehicles (i.e. energy savings, maintenance savings, savings on other costs and fees).

EVs and some hybrid vehicles offer features with advantages over standard cars. Typical features include regenerative braking, electric motor drive/ assist,  and automatic start/ shutoff

Regenerative braking refers to energy produced from braking and coasting that’s normally wasted, which is instead stored in a battery until needed by the motor. During electric motor drive/ assist, the electric motor kicks into gear, providing additional torque for such things as hill-climbing, passing, or quickly accelerating.

Plug-in Hybrid Vehicles


PHEVs have high-capacity batteries and charge by plugging into the grid (unless charged with renewable energy at home), storing enough electricity to significantly reduce gas use. PHEVs typically use anywhere from 30% to 60% less gas than a vehicle with only an internal combustion engine. As a result, PHEVs create much fewer GHGs.

There are two basic types of PHEVs: extended-range electric vehicles and blended plug-in hybrids.

Blended (or parallel) PHEVs work by still having both the gas engine and the electric motor connected to the wheels, both propelling the vehicle most of the time.

Whereas a blended PHEV simply combines an electric motor and a gas engine, extended-range PHEVs work by having only the electric motor turn the wheels; and can run on electricity only until the gasoline engine is needed to generate electricity to recharge the battery that powers the electric motor (or the gas engine can be eliminated from use entirely, on short rides).

100%-EV and EV Range


Electric vehicles drop the gas engine entirely, running on electric motors only, becoming zero-emission vehicles. Both EVs and PHEVs produce zero tailpipe pollution when running on electricity; however many PHEVs will switch to a gasoline engine when the range of the vehicle (capacity of the vehicle's battery) is reached. The 100%-EV has no gas engine at all, only an electric motor.

The higher the capacity of the battery in the EV, the higher the range (and also the initial cost) of the vehicle.

Although EVs emit no tailpipe pollutants, it remains important that the source of the energy from the grid that charges the vehicle’s battery is green (i.e. renewable energy). The cleaner the energy sources that provide the electricity to charge the EV (the energy sources on the municipal electricity grid, unless the EV is charged with renewable energy at home), the cleaner the EV drives.

Benefits Of Electric Vehicles Hybrids And Plug In Hybrid Vehicles
2 long-range EVs - Tesla's Models S and X

"EV range" based on a full charge for an electric vehicle refers to the distance an EV can travel on a fully charged battery.

Most EVs on a full charge will last at least a few days before needing another charge, for standard driving (standard driving is about 20-90 miles/ day).

Tesla's Models X, 3, and S are three of the longest-range EVs in the U.S. at 295, 310, and 335 miles, respectively (as of 2019). In the United States, Tesla also represents the most popular new car sales in the luxury sedan category.

***Update - as of 2022 - the median range for EVs is about 250 miles. Tesla still holds some top spots for EV range, but there are other long-range vehicles on the market (such as models built by Ford, BMW, and others, including a long-range GMC Hummer); and Tesla's Models X, 3, and S have all increased in range.

Top-range electric vehicles (in the US as of 2022):

  • 10. 2022 Rivian R1S: 316 Miles
  • 9. 2022 Ford F-150 Lightning: 320 Miles
  • 8. 2022 BMW iX: 324 Miles
  • 7. 2022 GMC Hummer EV: 329 Miles
  • 6. 2022 Tesla Model Y: 330 Miles
  • 5. 2022 Tesla Model X: 348 Miles
  • 4. 2022 Mercedes EQS: 350 Miles
  • 3. 2022 Tesla Model 3: 358 Miles
  • 2. 2022 Tesla Model S: 405 Miles
  • 1. 2022 Lucid Air: 520 Miles

[stats from  -]

Hybrid cars take numerous different forms and then compete in the mass auto-sales market against standard gas and diesel vehicles. EVs and PHEVs are the more popular new car sales in the EU, and throughout Europe, than just standard hybrids in Europe, or standard fuel-efficient diesel cars, which used to be the most popular type of automobile for new car sales in Europe.

The EU is set to ban sales of new ICE cars starting in 2035. In addition, cities worldwide are starting to phase out ICE vehicles from new sales and city roads. Hybrid, PHEV, and EV sales have increased, and are expected to continue to increase steadily in the US, EU, and throughout the rest of the world.

Low-Emission Zones


Expanding London's Ultra-Low Emission Zone Boosted Tfl's Income by Almost £100m - BloombergOwning an electric vehicle helps car owners when faced with vehicle low emission zone (LEZ) levy systems such as London's congestion charge (C-charge) and ultra low-emission zone (ULEZ).

Zero-emission vehicles - mainly electric vehicles (also included are hydrogen fuel cell vehicles) - are often exempted from fees in LEZ around the world.

Following London's lead, there are already mandated and implemented charges for polluting fossil fuel-based vehicles, and low-emission vehicle zones, in France, Norway; and in other countries throughout the world.

Even New York City is in the process of mandating levies on vehicles with high polluting tailpipe emissions to create an ultra low-emission zone in the city. 

All cities that create a LEZ will derive the same set of benefits from implementing LEZ, as Manhattan is in the process of doing, in order to make roads greener and cleaner. The new NYC ULEZ is modeled after the initiative in London.

NorwayGermany, the UK, France, and Denmark, are great examples of countries where EVs, and PHEVs, are taking off.

Also, please click here for information about the congestion charge in Oslo, Norway, and the attempts to eliminate fossil-fuel vehicles from the streets of Oslo.

Please see Green City Times' article on Crit'Air in France. Crit'Air is a program that is designed to encourage greater use of low or zero-emission vehicles in France by mandating that vehicles in Crit'Air zones throughout France have fuel-efficiency-related color-coded stickers on their windshields. Crit'Air stickers identify the fuel efficiency (or lack thereof) of vehicles; and are priced higher for more polluting vehicles, according to a vehicle's tailpipe emissions test results.

Please see: London (and the congestion charge in London)

Please also see: Sustainable Transportation