Hybrid Fuel Efficiency vs. Standard Gasoline and Diesel Engines

October 31, 2012

When it comes to hybrid fuel efficiency, it really does not compare with the other engine types on the market. The two main competitors would be the gasoline engine and also the diesel engine. Each has their own advantages and disadvantages, but the hybrid engine seems to be the better of the three.

Hybrid

Hybrids are the newest round of cars that have hit the market. They have been out for nearly a decade, and only keep growing in popularity. This is mostly due to the rising global warming and pollution issues, something that hybrid makers claim to combat. Another reason why people are in awe with these vehicles are the hybrid fuel efficiency numbers that are possible. Hybrid MPG ratings are well beyond that of the best gas and diesel engines. An example hybrid miles per gallon number is 51, which happens to be the fuel economy for the Toyota Prius for highway mileage. The hybrid engine is the key to why they are so fuel efficient. A hybrid engine is comprised of two motors, one being a gasoline engine, and the other an electric motor. This does cause a loss in power since the electricity cannot produce that much horsepower. However, since it does have the gasoline component, the hybrid can still hold its own on the road. Hybrids also tend to be lightweight, small cars with nice aerodynamic designs. All of these features go into why they can be so fuel efficient. 

Gasoline

Gasoline engines are the most popular engines on the road, if not just because they are the most numerous out there. Gasoline is actually the least fuel efficient out of the three engines listed. Gasoline does not hold as much energy as diesel does, which will be explained a little bit later. Most gasoline cars are normally about half as efficient as hybrids. You can see some gasoline cars get about 30 miles per gallon, but on average, many of the cars are in the 20 to 30 miles per gallon range. That is still pretty good, but nowhere near as good as a hybrid.

Diesel

Diesel engines can somewhat compete with a hybrid engine. Some of the top diesel models can eclipse the 40 miles per gallon rating. The problem is that in the United States, diesel engines do not pass all the emissions tests (some do, most don't), and this means there are less on the road. Diesel is more fuel efficient than gasoline due to its chemical composition. Diesel holds more energy per gallon, and this equates to a very large difference in fuel economy. Diesel engines are about 33 percent more fuel efficient than gasoline, so many of them can range from 30 to 40 miles per gallon. Even some of the luxury diesel SUVs get 25 miles per gallon, whereas gasoline SUVs may be under 20. 

Hybrid fuel efficiency is no match for the gasoline or diesel engine. Car manufacturers are trying to make their petrol based cars more efficient, but ultimately, it can't compete with the 45+ miles per gallon that many hybrids can offer.

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