How Much Can You Save on Gas with EVs, Plug-ins, and Hybrid Vehicles

Hello, is this thing on? This is Meegan, the Web Lackey who fumbles around with Car Talk social media. If you have an EV, Plug-in, or Hybrid, we’ll love to hear about your experience. Here’s something John published in April on the subject: How Much Can You Save on Gas with EVs, Plug-ins, and Hybrid Vehicles - Car Talk


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Not an EV or PHEV or Hybrid owner, just an interested automotive engineer.

Pretty good article overall. John’s comments about engine technology isn’t entirely correct. The same technology used in the IC engines in hybrids and PHEV cars is also used in straight IC vehicles; The exception being the Atkinson combustion cycle. The service parts are essentially the same except for the starter and alternator being part of the energy capture system which does reduce brake wear.

The real key to savings is stop-and-go traffic. If your commute is long and on free-flowing highways, your savings will be much less. The real key to hybrid savings, and John mentions that, is capturing brake energy. On a free flowing highway commute, you just don’t get much brake energy capture. On a soul-crushing, stop-and-go commute on any road, the savings are quite large.


Hi Megan, nice meeting you. I do not yet have an EV or a hybrid, nor did I read John’s article that you linked to, but I will say that if John put it in print, it’s solid information.

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sorry, I can’t even spell EV…


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I just want to point out that not all EVs and hybrid vehicles have 4 wheels and doors.
Where I live in Washington DC there is a growing number of people using electric cargo bikes, often with seats for one or two small children.
I wouldn’t risk that if I had little ones, but they are out there.
Since this is Car Talk I know this is a bit off topic so I won’t dwell on it too long.

For 25 years, until I retired at the end of April I rode electric bikes to work, about 5 miles round trip, weather permitting.
My current bike is a mountain bike I bought on Craig’s list for $60 and a $900 mid-drive motor kit.
I consider it a hybrid: human plus electric.
I has about 50 miles of range with moderate pedaling and can go north of 30 mph, but I rarely go over 18 mph on city streets.
One important criterion for me is that I can carry it up a flight of stairs, so it’s not a heavy utility/cargo/fat tire type.
Cost of charging is 1-2 cents per 10 miles.