The epic gas golf cart vs electric golf cart debate has raged on for a few decades now. As with most heated issues, there are passionate supporters on both sides of the gas vs electric cart discussion.
Who’s right? Who’s wrong? Is there a clear answer?
This unbiased write-up attempts to address this question once and for all.
So which is better, a gas or an electric golf cart?
To answer this question, I need to understand your golf cart goals and your financial situation, so please send me your online banking information (I’m joking, please don’t). For some riders, gas powered golf carts are the best solution. For others, an electric powered golf cart is the right fit.
I am of the opinion that an electric golf cart is the best option for most people, but let’s examine the strengths and weaknesses of each option.
Pros to a Gas Powered Cart
The main advantage to a golf cart with a gas engine is the run time and distance that you get to enjoy.
A gas golf cart typically has a range of about 120 miles, which is pretty impressive. If you plan ahead and bring an extra gas can, this range can be extended even further.
If you need a cart that can pull a heavier load day in and day out, gas is usually the best choice for a utility vehicle. Electric carts have plenty of torque, but a gas cart will hold up better in the long run if you will be pushing the machine to its limits on a regular basis.
Some prefer a gas golf cart for hilly or rough terrain, but that’s because older electric carts had some deficiencies in these areas.
Modern electric carts, on the other hand, hold their own in those areas, so that “pro” is a bit overrated (but worth noting).
Cons to a Gas Powered Cart
For starters, a gas cart is usually a more expensive up front. That means if you’re on a budget, gas golf cars may stretch your bank account further than you’d like.
Noise levels are worth considering, especially if you want a cart for hunting.
Gasoline golf carts are louder and they give off carbon monoxide emissions as a result of their combustion engine. Those finicky deer may be scared off more easily with a gas cart.
Furthermore, a gas engine will require oil changes and other regular maintenance that you’ll need to take care of.
Since fuel costs are currently at an all time high (in the year of our Lord 2022), that seems to be a con to factor into your decision making.
I know the cons list is quite long, but a gas golf cart may actually be your best option depending on how you plan to use the cart.
So Who Should Buy a Gas Powered Golf Cart?
- Those who need to travel long distances
- Those who have limited access to electricity or don’t want to worry about charging daily
- Those looking to spend more upfront
- Those who will be using the cart for heavy lifting (on a regular basis)
- Those who are handy and can tackle regular maintenance items (oil changes, spark plug replacement, etc.)
That’s it on the gas front. Let’s look at the other side of the gas golf cart vs electric golf cart discussion.
Pros to an Electric Golf Cart
One could argue that the pros to an electric golf cart far outweigh the cons.
Cheaper Up-Front (and Often Long-Term) Cost
Generally speaking, an electric golf car will be cheaper than a gas cart. If you like spending less, this is an obvious selling point. However, if you’re buying used, make sure the golf cart batteries are new or almost new…otherwise you may find yourself paying for an expensive replacement set right out of the gate.
If you enjoy the peace and quiet, an electric cart offers a virtually silent driving experience.
Some communities have banned gas carts altogether, in an attempt to keep noise levels down. Owning a neighborhood electric vehicle will save you from unwanted noise and any neighborhood ordinances that may change.
No Fuel Costs
Plus you can kiss that gas smell goodbye (another pro to an electric vehicle).
Unless you enjoy the occasional golf cart repair, you should expect less maintenance projects on an electric golf cart. Make sure you check the distilled water levels weekly (always covering the battery cells). Other than that, you shouldn’t have much to worry about.
More Speed and Performance Upgrades
Believe it or not, most modern electric carts can hit 20+ miles per hour without any upgrades. However, upgrades are available that can push that limit even further.
Generally speaking, it is more difficult to upgrade the speed on a gas golf car than it is on an electric one.
Cons to an Electric Golf Cart
There are three big cons that often come up on the gas golf cart vs electric golf cart discussion.
1. Battery Replacement Costs
Yes, it’s true. Your battery power will fade over time and you’ll be forced to replace the batteries on your cart. The typical cost for a new series of batteries can range from $600 to over $1,000.
That’s a hefty price tag, but you need to remember all of the fuel and maintenance costs you will save over the life of your batteries (which is usually 5-7 years).
The cost of batteries is a definite con, but it may be equal or less than the cost of maintaining a gas golf cart.
2. Limited Range
If you’re looking to play an 18 hole round at your local golf course, an electric car will get the job done.
However, if you have bigger aspirations or more significant needs, an electric cart can only take you so far.
The typical range for an electric golf car is 20-30 miles, depending on the condition of the batteries. That’s only 25% of what most gas carts can do with a full tank.
3. Access To and the Cost Of Electric
Let’s face it, you’ll be using electricity on a regular basis to charge your batteries. That means that you need to have easy access to an outlet and that you’ll be using electric power on the daily.
Those charging costs will add up on your electric bill.
Also, what happens if you lose power? Your cart is worthless if you use up the charge and are unable to recharge it, whereas a gas golf cart is valuable even during power outages.
So who should buy an electric golf cart?
Golfers, and just about everyone else.
I honestly believe that electric carts are the best option for most people, but there are a few cons (listed above) that every potential buyer should consider carefully before making an expensive golf cart purchase.
Is a gas or an electric golf cart better?
For most purposes, I strongly believe an electric golf cart is better than a gas golf cart. They cost less, run cleaner and require less maintenance.
However, there are a few instances where a gas cart may have the advantage. Specifically:
- When electricity is tough to access
- When the cart is going to be used for heavy lifting on a regular basis
- When distance and range are the most important priority (though this can be solved with lithium ion batteries)
I’d encourage you to do your research and then add to the discussion in the comments below.