Plug-In Hybrid:

2013-1990 US transport emissions EPA-2Plug-In Hybrids (PHEVs) are the CFL of the EV world. It’s a transition or bridge technology to tide us over until we feel comfortable with EVs. These cars contain a battery large enough to run for several miles on all electric power but still house gasoline-based backup power in the form of a generator stuck under the hood. So, if you absolutely need a car that will travel over 300 miles before fueling up and need a car that will refuel in the amount of time it traditionally takes to fill your gas tank, this is the car of choice. In the U.S., transportation accounts for 26% of green house gas emissions. According to the EPA, 60% of greenhouse gas emissions are emitted by light duty vehicles. Just like pure EVs, all plug-in hybrids are not created equal. Far and away the best plug-in hybrid is Chevrolet’s Volt.1

Chevy Volt 02

The 2017 Volt sells nationwide in the U.S., received battery upgrades to extend the all-electric range to 53 miles, and even got a color-option upgrade to the blue shown above. With 98% of all single-trip journeys under 50 miles in length, the Volt is nearly as friendly to the environment as a fully electric vehicle. If everyone were to decrease their gas/diesel usage by 53 miles per day, carbon emissions would plummet. Those 53 miles also qualify the car for full EV rebates and tax credits in most jurisdictions, including the full $7,500 federal tax credit.

If you want to check out the Federal incentive amount for a specific plug-in hybrid electric, the Department of Energy has a list that allows for searching PHEV or pure EV as well as a breakdown by manufacturer. You’ll notice that very few have batteries big enough to qualify for the full tax credit if they aren’t pure EVs. If you are paying a premium for electric range, you probably want that premium to give you most of the benefits of a pure electric vehicle.

The Next Step

Want to learn how to switch to clean energy even if you live in an apartment? This article shares an ideal way for anyone to access clean energy. If you are inspired to learn about other ways you can increase your clean energy usage, check out the how-to pages: Easy, Intermediate, and Total Commitment.

At ButItJustMightWork, we strive to make your life more fun, more convenient and more affordable with clean energy.


  1. Definitions for hybrid, plug-in hybrid and full electric vehicles can be found on the car menu page