Does a Hybrid car save you fuel?

We look at Hybrid car fuel economy compared to petrol and diesel cars and how technologies like regenerative braking can further improve fuel economy.

How do hybrid cars compare to petrol and diesel cars for economy and emissions?

A hybrid vehicle has the advantage of being able to switch to its electric motor to drive in heavy traffic, built-up areas or at slower speeds, thereby using no fuel at all to power its conventional engine. In fact, to demonstrate the benefits of hybrid fuel economy, Toyota dealers often invite interested customers to take a hybrid for a test drive and then see just how far they can travel using the electric mode only.

Does a hybrid save you fuel?

On average, at least 50% of the journey time for our hybrid test drives is spent purely in electric mode. This means during this time the conventional engine is not needed for power and therefore no fuel has to be used.

Hybrid vs. petrol or diesel comparison

There’s no doubt that in modern driving conditions, we all get caught up in traffic or speed restricted areas, and in these situations a hybrid offers significant savings on fuel costs. It also offers reduced CO2 emissions and results in a smooth, stress-free drive. T-Charges (Toxicity Charges) are also now in effect in London, and may be on the way for other large cities, to penalise vehicles that do not meet emissions requirements. In this case, the hybrids’ greatly reduced emissions will incur no charges like ordinary petrol or diesel cars will.

Of course, as you increase speed or change to motorway driving in your hybrid vehicle, the conventional engine will kick in to give you added power and then start to use fuel as an ordinary car. In comparing hybrid vs. petrol, a Toyota hybrid offers better fuel economy and C02 emissions. In hybrid vs. diesel, the Toyota hybrid creates lower harmful NOx and PM emissions.


Advantages of Hybrid


EU regulations favour hybrid


NOx and PM affect human health and cities are implementing restrictions


A virtually noiseless ride with Toyota Hybrid

What is the difference between hybrid and electric cars?

While a hybrid vehicle has a conventional diesel or petrol engine as well as an electric motor to power itself, a pure electric vehicle only has an electric motor as its source of propulsion.

A hybrid car can also run on its electric motor and has a battery to store electricity but, when at higher speeds, the conventional engine kicks in and automatically recharges its electric battery as it drives. So, in average driving conditions, the hybrid car’s battery is always topped up and ready for use.

What is an electric car?

Battery electric vehicles (BEVs) are purely electric cars. They use electricity, stored in a sophisticated rechargeable battery, to power all onboard electronics and the motor. The battery needs recharging when it runs out so your range is limited to what charge the battery can hold. All our cars that use electric motors are hybrids, there are no Toyota EVs currently available in the range.

How do electric cars work?

The car uses its electric motor until its power runs low then you top it up at a recharging point.

The batteries needed to store their power are big and heavy and take time to recharge but they have become lighter and more efficient at storing electricity in the last ten years, increasing their range and performance.

How do hybrid cars work?

Also known as hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs), hybrids run on their electric motors at low speeds, such as pulling away from home, or in traffic. As your speed increases, the conventional petrol or diesel engine takes over, adding extra performance while recharging the electric battery at the same time.

They also use an advanced regenerative braking system to charge their batteries so, even when decelerating or braking on a steep hill, the driver is reclaiming electricity – thereby adding to the fuel efficiency of the hybrid. Find out more here.

What is a hybrid   Hybrid range

Are EVs better? They are different!


Not suitable for long trips


Up to 8 hours for a full charge


More expensive to buy, with lower resale values

What is a Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle (PHEV)?

There are now vehicles available which bridge the gap between hybrids and pure electric vehicles called Plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEV).

Effectively it is a hybrid vehicle (with a conventional engine plus an electric motor) but in addition to recharging itself as it drives, you can also top up the electric battery at a recharging point. The advantage here is that, if most of your journeys are at low speeds you’re probably going to be using your electric motor much more and saving on fuel costs.


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