Plug-in Hybrid MPG: What Would Yours Be?

What is the real MPG of a Plug-In Electric Vehicle? It's not as straightforward as in electric cars or gas engines. We've discovered that benefits of driving PHEVs depend on one factor.


It turns out that due to a vast difference in effectiveness between electric and combustion engines, the real MPG of your plug-in hybrid varies greatly depending on your car usage patterns.

All you need to do is calculate how many miles per month you’ll be able to drive on the battery.

All of us at Omni Calculator are nuts about numbers, so we built a tool that lets you see what PHEV MPG would you get with your own driving habits.

Sandra and Pete

Let’s use an example. Sandra and Pete both live in San Francisco.

Sandra works in the Bay Area. She's a commuter and drives 25 miles on working days to and from work, stopping to get some groceries.

Pete commutes by bike but he spends every weekend in Big Sur, so he drives 200 miles eight times a month. He’s a long-distance driver.

They both wanted a PHEV, but they didn’t know which one. Which vehicle is tailored to their needs? That's what Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicle Calculator is all about.


Sandra wanted a car that has an electric range of more than 25 miles. With such vehicles, she uses her car only on electricity on most days.

That is a massive boost to her car's MPG. She knew that with the right choice, she might drive a car with a real MPG of over 100.

Toyota Prius Prime is able to reach 135 MPG with Sandra's journeys. Not so long ago it felt like a fantasy. That means she will only spend $20 a month to charge her car.

She also visits a gas station only once a few months when she decides to take a longer trip outside the city. Sandra can also charge her car at her workplace which might take her spending on a PHEV to single digits.

Are you a commuter? You can find the best PHEV for you by using our Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle Calculator.

Long-distance driver

Pete's daily 200 miles is three times as much as the Chevrolet Volt's range on battery. But does battery range matter in this case?

There’s a different rule for long-distance drivers. When in doubt, look at the gas engine MPG. That's what Pete did. Battery range matters little for those who drive more than 120 miles a day.

Even for long-distance drivers, PHEVs can be fuel-efficient. Manufacturers usually install smaller gas engines in their hybrids than in other models.

Pete's 200-mile journey costs him only 5 gallons of gas, half of what an average car consumes. Monthly, he spends only 74 dollars on using his car.

A matter of time

You can find the best PHEV for you by using Omni Calculator’s Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle Calculator. Check what hybrid you should buy to be most fuel-efficient if you're a heavy driver or a commuter.

Plug-in hybrids are an emerging market. It’s not hard to imagine that in two year’s time PHEVs can have an electric range of 70 miles, making much more people interested in buying them.

The rapid progress of PHEVs is mainly connected to better battery life with each passing year and lower costs of producing them.

Thus, PHEVs will gradually become a better proposal for both commuters and heavy drivers.