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Are Hybrid Cars More Efficient Than Petrol Cars?

Posted on 17th October 2022
Are Hybrid Cars More Efficient Than Petrol Cars?

With more and more people looking to get the most efficiency out of their vehicles and see a reduction in their carbon footprint, both electric and hybrid cars are seeing a rise in popularity. When it comes to car shopping, though, how do you know which type to pick?

Both have their pros and cons and there are a variety of articles available that show what each type of vehicle does better or worse than the other.

Today, we are looking at efficiency and whether you get more out of a hybrid vehicle than any other type.

A study carried out by experts at Emissions Analytics found that hybrids are as much as 14 times better than battery electric vehicles at reducing real-world CO2 emissions. Figures showed that the reduction in CO2 emissions for both mild hybrids and full hybrids – but not plug-ins (PHEVs) – can be as much as 23% on EU models and as high as 30% on US vehicles.

Before we delve into this further, you may have some questions about hybrid vehicles themselves. Let’s take a look.

What is a hybrid vehicle?

A hybrid vehicle is somewhat different to your traditional car as it combines two forms of propulsion. An electric motor works with an internal combustion engine (ICE). This gives the driver more flexibility and could allow for much better fuel efficiency than what you would find on a regular petrol-powered vehicle. If shopping for a hybrid vehicle, you will notice there are different types. A PHEV is a plug-in that can allow its battery pack to be recharged. Typically they have larger electric batteries than the HEVs and can run off them longer. The HEV is the standard hybrid that recharges through braking.

How are hybrid vehicles more efficient than petrol?

Back in 1899, the first hybrid vehicle made its mark on the world with the launch of the System Lohner-Porsche Mixte. Over 300 were made and there could have been many more, but Henry Ford had other plans.

The market began to evolve through the 60s it wasn’t until the launch of the Toyota Prius in 1997 that a global impact was starting to be recognised. The tech and the benefits of hybrid vehicles have developed somewhat since then, and now we are really seeing how much more they can improve driving efficiency.

Regenerative braking

Braking is known not to be the greatest asset to fuel consumption, especially if you brake hard. However, with a hybrid car, braking can be an asset. Where in an internal combustion engine the kinetic energy is lost as heat energy, in a hybrid car, this same energy is transferred back into the battery. This gives you more journey time before needing a top-up.

Engine efficiency

With two engine types within the vehicle, you have the benefits of both, therefore preserving each from excessive wear. Many (if not all) hybrid models use both engines alongside each other. If you are driving slowly or starting the vehicle, the electric motor will be doing the work. Once you are up to speed, often a predetermined one, the ICE will take over. The general rule is that the electric motor is more efficient at lower speeds and the ICE at higher speeds.

Less weight

With two engines, you may think that the vehicle’s weight is, if anything, increased. Interestingly, it isn’t. With power being spread across both the electric motor and the ICE, the ICE can be smaller than normal resulting in less weight. Electric motors are, by their nature smaller and lighter than standard engines too. With a much less total weight of the vehicle, less energy is needed to power it, making for a more efficient car.

Engine use

If the vehicle is stationary but running, the ICE will shut itself off, meaning a reduction in fuel wastage. Instead, the car reverts to the electric motor. This allows for a smooth start, a reduction in emissions and saving on your fuel expenses as none will be wasted.

What are the disadvantages of hybrid cars?

As with anything, the pros may swing your decision, but the cons are always worth assessing and with hybrid cars, there are a few to consider.

Cost to buy

Hybrid cars tend to be more expensive than a vehicle that relies on an ICE alone, but with green incentives set up by governments, the fuel efficiency and insurance costs, you may find that you can recoup some of that initial extra expense.

Less powerful

With efficiency being the aim, the use of the electric motor and the reduced size ICE means that overall performance is often compromised. This can see horsepower reduced and mean that the car has a more sluggish top speed and acceleration.

Expensive repairs

You are likely to have less to pay for general maintenance on a hybrid vehicle, but when things do go wrong, the costs can be high. A lot of technology goes into developing these cars and as a result, only specific engineers can deal with them. The intricacies of the components mean that a quick and cheap fix is not always possible.

Not perfect for long journeys

If you regularly need to travel far (say on the motorway or dual carriageway) and will be driving at higher speeds, the benefit of the hybrid fuel efficiency is lost. In fact, the level of pollution is the same as in an ICE car. With the need to fill up more regularly a distinct possibility as well, there is every chance you will be spending more cash.

Not optimal in cold weather

When the weather gets colder, the battery on a hybrid vehicle doesn’t reach its optimum temperature very quickly. This puts more reliance on the ICE and as a result, sees more fuel being used. With hybrids switching to the ICE when certain speeds are reached, there is every chance that on some journeys in winter, your electric motor won’t even get used.


If you can’t make up your mind, speak to the team at Euphoria Finance. With over 50,000 vehicles available you can pick a hybrid, fully electric or petrol vehicle easily.

We thrive on securing cheap car finance no matter your situation, and because we assess each application on a case-by-case basis, we welcome all applications. Poor credit car finance and first car finance are our specialities and whether it is a new or used car you are after, we can help. Get a free quote today and see just how easy it is to get the car of your dreams.


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