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Let's Answer Your Top Questions About Hybrids

A grey 2023 Honda Accord Sport Hybrid is shown near a coffee shop.

For many of us, new things are scary. We think it's not so much that something is new but rather that it seems unknown or mysterious, and we tend to worry about or fear the unknown. The good news, however, is that the more you know about something, the less worrisome it becomes, which is why we're here to help. Whether you're interested in a Honda Accord Hybrid for sale or simply want to know more about the responsibilities and concerns that come with owning a hybrid, we're going to answer some of the most common questions about these vehicles. This way, you won't have to worry about the unknown anymore and can enjoy the impressive performance and remarkable efficiency a Honda hybrid offers. Let's go!

Question #1: What Is a Hybrid?

Let's start with the basics: a hybrid is a car, truck, or SUV that utilizes both a conventional internal combustion engine (ICE) and a battery-powered electric motor. The motor is part of the vehicle's overall drivetrain and essentially adds more power to the system, taking some of the strain off the standard engine. This means a hybrid can be more efficient since the engine is doing less work or achieves greater performance by adding the power of the motor to an already impressive engine.

Question #2: How Do You Drive a Hybrid?

The good news is that you drive a hybrid just like any other car you've enjoyed throughout your lifetime. It's essentially no different when you're behind the wheel than any conventional vehicle with a basic ICE under the hood. The engineers at Honda have designed their hybrid powertrains to handle everything for you. You might have different drive modes available that you can choose between for standard driving, boosted efficiency, or greater performance, but this depends on the model you're in and what's available. Even if you do have multiple drive modes, choosing one is simple and doesn't change how you drive.

Question #3: Can a Hybrid Run on Gas?

Yes, hybrid cars require gas, just like any other vehicle with an ICE. In fact, if you run out of gas with a hybrid, then you'll be in just as much of a tough spot as with any other car, so you'll want to treat it just like you would a conventional vehicle.

Question #4: What Type of Gas Do Hybrids Use?

A standard hybrid uses the same gas as any other conventional vehicle, though you'll get better performance by choosing the right octane for the particular model you're looking at. The 2024 Honda Accord, for example, runs on regular unleaded, just like most other vehicles these days. But a hybrid model can get an estimated 51 MPG in the city and 44 MPG on the highway, compared to a standard Accord that can get an estimated 29 MPG in the city and 37 MPG on the highway—that's the difference the motor makes.

Question #5: Does Gas Go Bad in a Hybrid?

In theory, gas can go bad in any vehicle since it has a shelf life of three to six months, according to JD Power. This is true for a hybrid if you have it sitting unused for several months with gas in the tank—but it's true for a conventional car, too. As long as you don't do that, then you don't need to worry about gas in your hybrid losing its combustibility.

A blue 2023 Honda Accord Sport Hybrid is shown driving under a bridge.

Question #6: Do Hybrids Save You Money?

The biggest way a hybrid can save you money is with boosted fuel efficiency, letting you go further between stops for gas. Your savings and benefit from this depends a great deal on how you drive; the biggest improvements to gas mileage (as we saw with question #4 above) usually come from city driving, though highway efficiency is still improved. If you do a lot of driving around town, with plenty of stops and starts, then a hybrid can be very advantageous.

Question #7: Will a Hybrid Last Longer Than a Traditional Gas Car?

Yes, with proper maintenance, it's quite possible that a hybrid vehicle can last longer than a traditional gas-only vehicle. Since the battery-powered motor takes some of the strain and work from your engine while you drive, it can improve the longevity of your engine. This is entirely dependent on you taking proper care of your vehicle, however, so you still need to follow Honda's service schedule and drive responsibly.

Question #8: Do Hybrids Need Oil Changes?

Since hybrid vehicles still have gas-powered engines, they require motor oil to keep things moving smoothly and prevent excess heat from building up inside them. The engine oil will degrade and get dirty over time, so you still need to change the oil in your hybrid's engine. Check your owner's manual or give us a call to determine how often to change your oil.

Question #9: Are Hybrids Safer Than EVs?

If you're concerned about news stories reporting EVs bursting into flames due to their battery systems, then this isn't something you should be worried about. Instances of EVs self-immolating have been very rare and mostly affected specific models with certain flawed battery packs. That being said, the small battery in a hybrid is not likely to light on fire, so that you can drive with confidence and peace of mind.

Question #10: Do Hybrids Have Issues in Cold Weather?

In general, hybrid models handle the cold just like conventional ICE vehicles. When it's cold out, you should start your vehicle and let it idle a bit so the engine warms up before you start driving, which is true for hybrids or standard cars. All-electric models can have issues with their battery systems and cold weather, but this isn't a problem for hybrids.

Question #11: When Does a Hybrid Switch From Gas to Battery and Vice Versa?

This depends on a number of factors, including the engineering of a vehicle and how you're driving. Your vehicle is designed to know when to switch between the two systems; it typically uses the battery-powered motor as much as possible but switches to gas if the battery is drained, when you need more power (like going uphill), or if other factors indicate to your car's computer that the engine is needed. At low speeds, when engine power is less needed, it's more efficient for a hybrid to switch back to primarily battery power.

Question #12: Can You Drive a Hybrid Without the Battery?

No, you can't drive your hybrid without either the large car battery or the battery for the hybrid system. Hybrids are designed and engineered to use both systems, so you need to have both for it to run properly. Someone with a lot of automotive engineering experience might be able to rig a system that functions without it, but that's an extreme example.

Question #13: What's the Difference Between a HEV and PHEV?

A hybrid electric vehicle (HEV) refers to any kind of car, truck, or SUV that utilizes a hybrid powertrain. By comparison, a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) is a specific type of HEV that has a battery you can charge using an external source, hence the name. You charge PHEVs by plugging them into a charger, much like an all-electric model, and they offer a limited electric-only range, which is what separates them from other hybrid vehicles.

Question #14: Do You Charge a Hybrid Battery?

The battery for a vehicle's hybrid system is charged automatically while you drive, often using regenerative energy from the braking system. When you apply the brakes, a lot of energy is lost in the form of heat; regenerative braking utilizes some of this energy and uses it to keep the hybrid battery charged. Your vehicle's engine can also help keep the hybrid battery charged as you drive, depending on how it was designed. With a standard hybrid, not a PHEV, you never have to actively charge your vehicle, so you don't have to worry about it.

A red 2023 Honda Accord for sale is shown from the front parked in front of a building.

More Questions? We Have More Answers!

Here at Classic Honda of Midland, the most important thing to us is that all our customers drive away in the perfect vehicle. This means enjoying a hassle-free, transparent car-buying experience in which we answer all your questions to ensure you get everything you're looking for. The auto industry has changed a lot over the last few years, and there are more changes on the horizon; with so many new options available, it can be tricky to keep track of it all and know what you're in for with a new car. Fortunately, we're here with all the answers you need, so please call or stop by today to learn more about the Honda lineup and everything it offers.