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5 Reasons to Choose a Hybrid Over a Diesel

Electrification confers some serious benefits.

By: Andrew Krok
Web2Carz Senior Writer
Published: October 28th, 2014

Diesels, gas-electric hybrids, electric cars … when it comes to saving money at the pump (or at the plug), there are more ways than ever to accomplish this. Of course, with variety comes responsibility — namely, the responsibility to do your due diligence before settling on a new car. More options mean more research, and all of a sudden, it might be hard to figure out whether you need a hybrid or a diesel. Hybrids are the new kids on the block, but they’re certainly coming out swinging.

Naturally, not all of this will apply to everybody. If you don’t care about fancy new technology, gas-electric hybrids might not add any extra appeal. If you can’t do without the whirr of an electric motor, a diesel will be a hard sell. However, if you’re pretty open to a variety of propulsion systems, this might just send you heading for hybrids.

5. Breakthrough Technology

Are you one of those folks perennially standing in line for the next iPhone? Do you love technology almost as much as you love air or shelter? Then hybrids are the obvious choice. Acura is about to release the RLX Sport Hybrid, a gas-electric hybrid that uses the combustion engine to power the rear wheels and electric motors to power the front ones. Can you do that with a diesel? Don’t be stupid; diesels don’t have electric motors, so no, you can’t do it.

Do you want to hook a generator to your car’s wheel that saves you brake-pad life while simultaneously charging your battery? That’s regenerative braking, and hybrids have popularized the hell out of that technology.

4. Better Overall Technology

Hybrids have an astounding amount of technology built into them. There are even affordable gas-electric hybrids that can be used for somewhat sporty driving nowadays. Automakers need a way to showcase all these interesting things, so hybrid vehicles are far more likely to come standard with options like an instrument-cluster screen or navigation. After all, what good is driving a hybrid if the car can’t tell you exactly how good it is to drive a hybrid?

3. Lower Fuel Prices, Greater Availability

In the United States, diesel hasn’t been cheaper than gasoline in a very long time. In some areas, diesel can be more than half a dollar more expensive than regular ol’ gas. That makes it far more difficult to easily recoup the savings brought on by better gas mileage. Furthermore, a good number of gas-electric hybrids only require regular, 87-octane gasoline, widening that price gap even further.

There’s also the matter of availability. Diesel pumps are not sitting in every gas station in the United States; in fact, only half of this country’s stations have the sweet stuff.

2. Excellent City Mileage

While diesels rule the highway, gas-electric hybrids dominate urban landscapes. If you’re stuck in city traffic, each stop will trigger the regenerative braking, helping maintain charge in the battery. So long as the battery is sufficiently charged and you aren’t running every accessory known to man, the internal-combustion engine won’t turn on. Every second not spent idling the engine results in some serious savings, which is why several hybrids are capable of 40 or more mpg in the city.

1. Motor-Free Operation

We hinted at this one earlier. So long as the battery maintains a sufficient charge and the electric motor is capable of providing the needed power, gas-electric hybrids can operate without the gas component whatsoever. If you buy a plug-in hybrid with a larger battery, a low-speed commute might keep the engine from kicking in at all. Every minute spent ignoring gasoline is a huge benefit to your wallet. Some diesel engines may have stop-start technology, but no diesel can get you to work with the engine shut off.