The Best Green Car: Plug-in Hybrid Vs. Fully Electric

Plug-in Hybrid Car

People who want to go green usually start from something big, like the preferred mean of commute. Still, this is not as easy as you may believe it to be. Right off the bat, you get to make a choice between a plug-in hybrid or fully electric car, which is a difficult question for someone who doesn’t have a clue about this topic. Also, the question of “which one is better” is not an easy one to answer, seeing as how a lot of factors tend to be quite situational. With that in mind and without further ado, here are several topics you’ll have to cover in order to get an answer to this question.

What’s the difference?

The first thing you need to understand, in order to see this situation for what it is, is the fact that there’s a huge difference between plug-in hybrids and fully electric cars. Electric cars have a battery which they use in order to run the vehicle, whereas plug-in hybrids have two different powertrains. There’s the electric motor that is used as a primary source and runs your car for about 30 to 40 miles but after it’s depleted, your vehicle starts using gas, like a regular car.

In other words, in theory, you could use a hybrid like a real, fully electric car. This is especially true if we’re talking about the urban commute. However, with a long distance voyage, it’s much easier to find a gas station than a public charging station. Nonetheless, keep in mind that this is still a developing industry, which means that the public charging station grid might become more formidable in the future. Tesla supercharger station is probably one of the best examples of how this works.

A plug-in hybrid is more cost-effective

The next thing you need to understand is the fact that goodwill isn’t all it takes for one to go green. Sometimes, you’ll have serious restrictions in terms of your budget and it’s a fact that going for a hybrid is a lot cheaper. Sure, it would be the greenest of all solutions if you could just walk or cycle but this is not how things usually work. So, this is just one of the context-based efficiencies that you have to deal with. If going green is the goal and price is not an issue, then a fully electric car is the optimal solution. If you’re running a household on a tight budget but still want to be a part of the solution, a plug-in hybrid is a choice for you.

The range

Previously, while discussing cost-effectiveness, we’ve mentioned the electric-run range of hybrids. On average, this amounts to 10 miles to 53 miles. This is what you can achieve with no tailpipe emissions. Given the fact that an average American travels fewer than 25 miles a day on average per day. This means that most of the day, you would be able to get by with zero tailpipe emissions, which would completely erase the difference between a fully electric car and a hybrid. Of course, there’s much more to it than this simple equation and you might want to read a bit more on this topic before making up your mind. Platforms like Drivr Zone are a great start for those interested in doing some independent research on this topic.

Namely, this switch to gas is something that you would use on rare occasion (not even once every week). In other words, your itinerary plans and your intention to go emission-free is incredibly important. The biggest problem with this is not of technical but psychological nature. Namely, high-end fully electric cars can go 200 miles without having to be recharged. Any less than that makes people nervous, even though they seldom travel more without refilling their tank.

Lower carbon footprint

The biggest advantage of a fully electric car lies in the fact that it has a lower carbon footprint than its hybrid counterpart. However, there’s one myth that you need to debunk as soon as possible. Namely, even though a fully electric car is greener than a hybrid, it’s definitely not 100 percent green. Think about it, the power plant that produced the electricity to run your car is probably doing so by burning fossil fuel. Even with that in mind, the carbon footprint is substantially lower but, once again, it isn’t as big as you believe it to be. The biggest difference lies in the fact that you contribute to the pollution indirectly (via the power industry) instead of being a direct contributor to the increase of CO2 in the atmosphere (due to tailpipe emissions). Keep in mind that this is a big psychological factor for you to focus on.

The future

Speaking of electric cars, it’s more than clear that this is the future. Namely, Tesla is still the biggest name in the industry but 2019 is expected to be huge when it comes to electric cars developed by other businesses, as well. Renowned car manufacturers like Jaguar, Audi, BMW, and Mercedes-Benz all have their own electric vehicles in store this year and this might impact the market (especially luxury car market) in more ways than you can imagine. At the moment, vehicles that are regarded as high-end fully electric cars are  Ford Focus Electric, the Nissan Leaf and the Tesla Model S. Each of them is an outstanding car, regardless of its power source.


Another problem when it comes to this issue is one of charging. Namely, if you don’t believe that your vehicle will hold until the next charging station, you’re in a rush and the station that you’re currently at is already at its full charging capacity, you might be in a bit of a problem. Keep in mind that this is not such a common situation but just this hypothetical possibility might be good enough reason to push some people towards plug-in hybrids instead of fully electric cars. Also, charging your car with gas is a much quicker process (even when compared to Tesla supercharger).


As you can see, here, we’ve mostly talked about averages and what’s customary. You may drive below or over the 25 miles’ average on a daily basis, have a custom of going on road trips or use the vehicle just of the urban commute. Nonetheless, before you choose, you need to get familiar with these several factors in order to make a rational decision based on facts.

Clay Miller
the authorClay Miller
I am the creator/writer of and I'm an advocate for oceans, beaches, state parks. I enjoy all things outdoors (e.g. running, golf, gardening, hiking, etc.) I am a graduate of the University of Kentucky (Go Wildcats!!). I'm also a huge fan of the Pittsburgh Steelers. I was born and raised in the beautiful state of Kentucky.

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