Skip to main content

Which Type of Car Engine? Gasoline, Diesel, Hybrid, or Electric

A lady charging her electric vehicle ahead of her travels.

Types of Cars Engines

Let’s dive into the world of car engines and figure out what makes them tick! Have you ever wondered why some cars sound different or why some go super fast while others focus on saving fuel? Well, it all boils down to the type of engine they have under the hood. We break down the different types of car engines – gasoline, diesel, hybrid, and electric – revealing how each one brings its own unique character to the driving experience. Buckle up as we explore the engines that power our rides and learn how each type plays a role in shaping the way we drive and impacting the world around us. Get ready for a journey through the gears and discover the ins and outs of these fascinating machines!

There are more options when buying a car today than ever before. One of the biggest choices to make is which kind of engine you want. Manufacturers are constantly coming up with various types of car engines to meet the demands of modern cars. Here we explain the differences between them and their pros and cons.

The Impact of the Engine Type on Performance 

When it comes to cars, the type of engine you choose is very important because it affects the performance of the car. There are different types of engines, such as gasoline, diesel, hybrid and electric, and each has its own special qualities. Gasoline engines are good because they are easy to find, they are not too expensive and they make the car go fast. Diesel engines are good because they save fuel, are powerful and last a long time, which is useful if you drive a lot or need to tow things.

Hybrid engines use both regular fuel and electricity, so they are better for the environment and use less gas. Electric motors are great because they make the car go fast right away, run smoothly and produce no pollution. Choosing the right engine depends on what you want from your car, so it’s important to think about what matters most to you when you drive.

Fuel Efficiency 

In the world of cars, the type of engine you pick can really make a difference in how your ride performs, and fuel efficiency is a big part of that. Let’s break it down in a way that’s easy to understand. Gasoline engines, they say, are cool because you can find gas stations everywhere, they don’t cost too much, and they make your car zip around with energy. But, they point out that gas engines might not be the champs when it comes to saving fuel. On the other hand, diesel engines are like the marathon runners of engines – they go a long way on one tank and have some muscle for heavy lifting. Hybrids, according to the blog, are like superheroes. 

They team up with regular fuel and electricity, which makes them extra fuel-efficient and friendly to the planet. Electric engines are the real eco-warriors; they don’t use any gas at all, making them super green. So, if you’re looking to save on gas money and do your part for the environment, the type of engine you choose really matters. 

Environmental Footprint 

The kind of engine you pick for your car can make a big difference for the environment. Regular engines that use gasoline might be easy to find and not too expensive, but they also create pollution when they burn fuel. Diesel engines, even though they are tough and last a long time, can add to air pollution with their higher emissions. One cool thing about hybrid engines – they’re like environmental superheroes. These engines use both regular fuel and electricity, and that makes them better for the environment because they produce fewer emissions. But the real heroes are electric engines. These engines don’t make any emissions at all, which is awesome for keeping the air clean. So, if you want to be kind to the planet, think about how your choice of engine can help make our future greener and more sustainable.

Don’t forget to check with your insurance agent before you buy an auto. Some makes and models can influence how much you’ll spend on car insurance.


Gasoline engines use internal combustion, which means air enters the engine and combines with fuel and, long-story-short, makes the car engine run. These engines run on gasoline, which is a fuel made from crude oil and other petroleum liquids.

Benefits of a gas vehicle are price and convenience. Gas cars have been in production for decades, so new and used options are abundant. They are also convenient because gasoline is currently the most common type of fuel for vehicles and is relatively inexpensive and easy to access.

Some of the disadvantages of gas cars are that they are not fuel-efficient. The best mileage for a gas car is still in the 30 mpg range. Gasoline also contributes to air pollution. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, the vapors given off when gasoline evaporates and the substances produced when gasoline is burned (carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, particulate matter, and unburned hydrocarbons) contribute to air pollution. Burning gasoline also produces carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas.


Diesel engines work similarly to gasoline engines, as they both use internal combustion. However, the type of ignition varies for gas and diesel engines. The other main difference is fuel.

Diesel fuel is the common term for the petroleum distillate fuel oil sold for use in motor vehicles that use the compression ignition engine. Diesel fuel is thicker than gasoline, so it evaporates slower. Diesel fuel has more energy density, which means the advantages are that it packs more energy in every gallon than gas fuel, making it more economical overall.

One of the main benefits of a diesel vehicle is that while diesel fuel typically costs more than gasoline, most diesel engines require less of it to accomplish the same amount of work as a gasoline engine. Diesel engines also have fewer components than gas engines, which means your car has fewer potential parts that could malfunction.

Disadvantages of diesel cars include less convenience and noise. Not every gas station will offer diesel, so drivers sometimes have to go searching for fuel. Diesel engines, particularly older models, are often louder than gas engines and can emit dark exhaust.

How Does a Diesel Work?

Much like the gas-powered one, this also works on an internal combustion engine (ICE). Unlike the ICE, the diesel uses a compression rather than a spark system. What this means is that there are no spark plugs in a diesel. Instead, it uses glow plugs. The glow plugs heat the combustion chamber, which turns the diesel fuel into a volatile mist. The ensuing explosion provides high pressure power in a more efficient way, with up to 300 more psi than a gasoline engine.


Hybrid vehicles (or hybrid electric vehicles/HEVs) are powered by an internal combustion engine and an electric motor, which uses energy stored in batteries. These vehicles are fueled with gasoline to operate the internal combustion engine, and the battery is charged through regenerative braking, not by plugging in.

Hybrids can be either mild hybrids or full hybrids. Mild (or micro hybrids) systems cannot power the vehicle using electricity alone but generally cost less than full hybrids. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, full hybrids have larger batteries and more powerful electric motors, which can power the vehicle for short distances and at low speeds. These vehicles cost more than mild hybrids but provide better fuel economy benefits.

Another kind of hybrid is plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs), which use batteries to power an electric motor and another fuel, such as gasoline or diesel, to power an internal combustion engine or another propulsion source. Basically, these are electric cars that have a gas engine as a backup.

Benefits of a hybrid include good gas mileage and reduced carbon footprint. Smaller sedan hybrids have fuel economies in the 50 and 60 mpg range, while larger SUVs and trucks along with sportier models in the 40 mpg range. Another appealing quality of hybrid cars is they are generally newer and quieter cars but are more affordable than electric cars.

Disadvantages of hybrids are their price and versatility. Hybrid models are rarely designed as sports cars or large trucks for hauling heavy material. They can also be pricier than their gasoline or diesel counterparts.


All-electric vehicles (EVs) use a battery pack to store the electrical energy that powers the motor. EV batteries are charged by plugging the vehicle into an electric power source.

The main benefit of an electric car is its lack of carbon emissions. Power plants are still needed for electricity production that may contribute to air pollution since they use external combustion engines. However, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency categorizes all-electric vehicles as zero-emission vehicles because they produce no direct exhaust or tailpipe emissions. They are also newer vehicles, usually offer high-tech features, and are very quiet (maybe even too quiet).

Disadvantages of electric vehicles are found in their cost and convenience. EVs are typically more expensive than similar conventional and hybrid vehicles, although some costs can be recovered through fuel savings, a federal tax credit, or state incentives.

As for convenience, electric cars tend to have a shorter range (per charge) than comparable conventional vehicles have (per tank of gas). Drivers of electric cars need access to charging stations, also known as EVSE (electric vehicle supply equipment), which are not as accessible as gas stations yet. Most EVs won’t suffice when high speeds are required.

Choosing the Right Car Engine Type for You with Freeway Insurance!

Whether you run your car with gasoline, diesel, electricity, or a hybrid of options, you’ll need insurance to stay protected. Freeway Insurance can find insurance you can afford, even if you have tickets. Get a free car insurance quote online, call us at (800) 777-5620 or stop in one of our offices.

Ready to Get a Quick Quote?