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When gas prices soar past $5 per gallon, hybrids become newly appealing to even the most EV-wary. For good reason.

Michael C. Anderson, Editor-in-Chief, Battery Technology

September 5, 2022

13 Slides

Fretting about the cost of fueling your internal combustion engine (ICE) car may sound so very June, 2022—back when the US was seeing costs of more than $5 per gallon at the pump. With the average currently down to about $3.82, those fears may have subsided for now.

But the $5+ highs have been enough to make some owners of traditional gas-powered cars start to look longingly at their neighbors’ Teslas or Bolts.

Unfortunately, the same pocketbook worries that prompt such thoughts are the same worries that have tended to keep such drivers away from the most-talked-about EVs: EVs tend to cost more than the equivalent ICE car.

And for the wary are other common concerns about EV use: “What if I run out of charge?” “What if I’m on a trip and can’t find a charging station?” “Wouldn’t it make more sense to wait a few years for infrastructure?”

This is a significant subset of drivers. They are interested in the advantages of EVs—but not quite ready to give up the security and familiarity of their ICEs. Not EV drivers—just EV-curious.

For these drivers, there’s a middle way in the class of cars that lets one reduce gas-pump costs without giving up the convenience of ubiquitous gas pumps. That solution is the Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicle or PHEV. Whether one is talking about standard hybrids, which have both ICE and electric powered wheels, or extended-range EVs that are all-electric but which integrate a gasoline-powered battery charger, PHEVs are a way for the wary to test the waters of vehicle electrification and lower, if not yet eliminate, gas-pump grievances.

In another two decades, the situation may well look very different, with a charging infrastructure largely in place, EVs proliferating at lower costs, and the last ICE hold-outs losing numbers (and gas pumps).

But not yet. So, with such drivers in mind, what follows are details on the 13 PHEVs ranked by the Environmental Protection Agency as having the lowest fuel costs. 

About the Author(s)

Michael C. Anderson

Editor-in-Chief, Battery Technology, Informa Markets - Engineering

Battery Technology Editor-in-Chief Michael C. Anderson has been covering manufacturing and transportation technology developments for more than a quarter-century, with editor roles at Manufacturing Engineering, Cutting Tool Engineering, Automotive Design & Production, and Smart Manufacturing. Before all of that, he taught English and literature at colleges in Japan and Michigan.

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