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Because You Asked

What’s the Difference Between Hybrid and Electric Cars?

By Recyclebank |

There are many shades of green when it comes to eco-friendly vehicles.

Dear Recyclebank,

What is the difference between hybrid cars and electric cars?

-Elaine M., Little Rock, AR


Dear Elaine,

The short answer to your question is: Hybrids are powered by gasoline engines and electric motors, while electric cars are powered only by electric motors.

Both types utilize batteries. Hybrids are not plugged in to recharge, but electric cars are plugged in at home or at charging stations. Hybrids still require gas fill-ups, but they are more fuel efficient than regular gas-powered cars because they can partially rely on electricity. Electric cars fully rely on electricity sourced from power plants and do not directly emit any carbon emissions at all.

You may have also heard of plug-in hybrids, which have characteristics of hybrids and electric cars. They are powered by both gasoline and electricity, and can be plugged in to recharge. They use less gasoline than regular hybrids, because they can rely on a bigger rechargeable battery.

These are broad descriptions of car types that have a lot of variance when you look at them on a vehicle-by-vehicle basis. Collectively, they signal progress toward reducing greenhouse gas emissions and pollutants that come from burning fossil fuels in our cars.

Have you ever considered buying a hybrid or electric car? Let us know in the comments below!

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  • mary B. 4 years ago
    I am not interested in either.I'll do my part in a million other ways
  • Christine G. 4 years ago
    2 years ago I traded my Toyota Corolla for my dream car, my hybrid Prius C 4 and love it. I know gas prices are down, but we live in uncertain times and do not regret my greener purchase at all. Love to see the 55+ miles per gallon I get. The next car I purchase would be electric, but need to know there will be power stations along the way when travelling.
  • tommy b. 4 years ago
  • Alixier S. 4 years ago
    Due to the higher cost, I did not purchase a hybrid.
  • Ann M. 4 years ago
    I have my second Prius. The government was so big on hybrid cars, even giving a tax credit the year I first bought mine. Now, we have to pay a penalty tax for owning one. At least we do here in NC. What gives???
    • Ruth R. 4 years ago
      Ann M you live in a nanny state someone has to pay for the give-a-ways this time it's you.
    • Ann M. 4 years ago
      Thanks for the challenge! I'd never heard that term "nanny state" before so I looked it up and you are so right!!!
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