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Differences Between Fuel Types

Choosing the fuel type of your new car was traditionally an easy decision, but changes to regulations, advancements in design, and the growing availability of hybrid and electric vehicles have made the process more complicated. In this article, we’ll go through the most prominent power sources, and help you decide which is the best for you.


Gas-powered cars continue to be the most popular option, holding roughly 50% of the market share. The main appeal of an internal combustion engine running on gasoline is its longevity, reliability, and relatively low fuel consumption.

You will be able to find the widest selection of cars, from the smallest city hatchbacks to V8 trucks and sports cars. As gas-powered engines dominated the market for decades, the number of mechanics grew proportionally, giving you plenty of options in terms of maintenance and repairs.

Despite growing concerns about its availability, gasoline prices have actually decreased significantly in the past five years. Those factoring in the cost of fuel will find that technological advancements have led to powerful four-cylinder engines that can achieve 30-50 MPG.

Fossil fuels are not environmentally friendly, but modern gasoline vehicles offset it with a greener manufacturing process. Eco taxes are very low or non-existent, except on the most powerful of sports cars.


Diesel vehicles are criticized heavily for their emission output, but they still hold roughly 30% of the marketplace. There’s a lot of prejudice revolving around diesel fuel, and how much it pollutes.

The reality is that diesel engines pollute more than gasoline engines in some ways, but less in others. Because diesel burns more efficiently, less of it is necessary to cross the same distance as a gasoline engine. 
The renowned reliability and low running costs were the strongest suits of diesel cars, but with the progressively more rigorous emission regulations, manufacturers were forced to install diesel particle filters and Adblue additives to stay within boundaries.

Despite all that, diesel engines remain the durable option, capable of crossing significantly more miles than any other type. Mechanics and parts are readily available, and aside from Bosch fuel injectors, repairs are relatively cheap.


Even though the hybrid gas-electric vehicles became widely recognized at the beginning of the 21st century with the release of the Toyota Prius, the concept is over 100 years old, with Ferdinand Porsche as one of the main inventors.

Modern hybrids have reached a new level of efficiency and emissions. Parallel improvements to gasoline-powered internal combustion engines, batteries, and ways to accumulate energy have made hybrids a serious contender on the market.

Seemingly, hybrids take the best of both worlds, combining the long-range of gasoline engines, with fuel efficiency that can even surpass the diesels while polluting significantly less. However, two systems mean there are more parts to replace, and there are not as many mechanic shops capable of servicing them.

There are three major hybrid systems:

  • MHEV - Mild hybrid electric vehicles that incorporate an electric starter-generator to slightly improve fuel efficiency and power of either diesel or petrol engine.
  • HEV - Hybrid electric vehicles have the conventional petrol-electric motor that can alternate between power sources and doesn’t require plugging into a power source.
  • PHEV - Plug-in hybrid vehicles are the modern standard, with high-capacity batteries that require recharging, but allow the vehicle to cross greater distances without using petrol.


Electric cars are gaining traction and catching up to hybrid vehicles, taking 7% of the market. The main benefits of buying an electric car are low upkeep, quiet ride, state subsidies, and tax reductions. This is offset by the relatively low range and the high cost of restoring or replacing batteries.

Running costs can range from nothing to being as expensive as running a petrol car. The cost of electricity, free charging, and special rates for home stations can greatly affect the costs of driving an electric car.

While it’s true that electric cars emit next to no emissions, their manufacturing process pollutes considerably more than conventional cars. Whether your city gets its power from renewable sources or fossil fuels is an important factor in total emission output.

Even though they’re not as green as initially assumed, electric cars are still greener than petrol or diesel-powered vehicles. They’re especially useful in cities as they do not emit toxic gases and heat.

What Should You Buy?

Your driving habits and budget largely dictate what type of vehicle is suitable for your needs.

For frequent long-distance travel and a lot of miles on the highway and open road, diesel cars are the best option, thanks to the low fuel consumption and ability to endure more miles than any other type.

Gasoline-powered engines are better if you don’t cross as many miles and use them in a combined setting. MHEV is worth considering with either fuel type, as its added cost is offset by the long-term benefits.

In the hybrid segment, standard HEV models provide a good balance between convenience, emissions, and running costs. Plug-in hybrids are arguably better than electric cars, as they offer the same electric-powered usability in the city and unrestricted range. However, they are the most expensive to manufacture.

If you don’t mind the restricted range and have a readily available charging station, electric vehicles will be your best option. Quiet, green, and usually the cheapest to operate, EVs will serve you well in the urban environment.

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