Should I Buy an Electric Golf Cart or a Gas Golf Cart?

Posted by Performance Golf Carts on Apr 26th 2021

Gas Golf Carts Vs. Electric Golf Carts

Which One is Right For Me?

Here at Performance Golf Carts, a common question we receive from our customers when deciding to buy a new or used golf cart is, "should I buy a gas golf cart or an electric golf cart?"  Both are great options but there are a few things you should consider before making that final decision.  In this article, we will discuss a few key differences of each golf cart.  Armed with this information, you will be able to make an informed decision and determine which style golf cart with best suit your individual needs.

Things to Consider:

Driving Distance

How far are you planning to drive your golf cart?  A standard electric golf cart with good quality, fully charged batteries can achieve distance of 20 miles or more (depending on battery condition and capacity).  Some newer electric golf carts can achieve 40-50 miles per charge. Electric golf carts will also require recharging of the batteries once the maximum distance has been reached.  This process can take 6-10 hours to fully recharge, depending on how far the batteries have been discharged.

The gas golf cart however, will carry you much further on a tank of fuel, with some newer gas golf carts getting as much as 45 miles per gallon with a 6 gallon fuel tank and reaching over 250 miles per tank of fuel.  Also, you can always carry extra fuel for your gas golf cart to refill on the go.  The only limit to your distance will be the amount of fuel you can carry!

As you can see, when it comes to long uninterrupted driving distance, the edge goes to the gas golf cart.  Unless you have a great need to travel very long distances per day, an electric golf cart does suit the needs for most individuals and families.

Maintenance and Maintenance Cost

All of that driving distance we talked about above doesn't come without a price.  Fuel cost can be a large expense over time, along with the additional maintenance costs that come with a gas golf cart.  Regular maintenance such as oil changes, tune ups and belts are essential to keep a gas golf cart operating at peak performance.

Electric golf carts require very minimal maintenance compared to a gas golf cart.  The batteries are the main component in keeping your electric golf cart running properly along with very basic overall maintenance.  The electric golf cart may not have as much routine maintenance or fuel cost expense but the batteries will (at some point) need to be replaced.  While replacing the batteries can be a big expense (usually $600-$900), it should only need to be done once every 4 to 6 years with proper maintenance averaging less than $200-$250 per year in maintenance and battery cost.  Keeping the water level topped up, inspecting the battery cables for corrosion and properly charging the batteries after every use are some of the most important maintenance items you can do to prolong the life of your batteries.

When it comes to ease of maintenance and lower maintenance cost, the edge goes to the electric golf cart.

Rules Regarding Gas Golf Carts and Noise

Gas golf carts run on an internal combustion motor.  As a result, they are generally much louder than their electric counterparts.  Depending on where you plan to drive your new golf cart, you may want to verify that gas powered golf carts are allowed.  Many campgrounds and resorts will not allow the use of gas golf carts because of the noise and emissions they produce.  While some strides have been made by golf cart manufacturers to lower the noise and emission levels of their newer gas golf carts, they are still louder than an electric golf cart.

Overall Performance

Speaking strictly about stock, factory equipped golf carts, gas golf carts will typically be more powerful overall.  Aftermarket performance parts are readily available.  However, as we mentioned above, there will be recurring expenses such as fuel and regular, routine maintenance involved with owning the more powerful gas golf cart.

Electric carts, however, are quickly closing the gap on performance. With more efficient AC motors being produced for use in O.E. and aftermarket applications, electric golf carts can reach performance levels that are quite impressive.  Another unique aspect to owning an electric cart with higher performance electrical components and batteries is that your routine maintenance is actually reduced!  The higher end AGM and Lithium batteries require ZERO maintenance and do not produce any gassing as they charge.  The result?  No corrosion of the cables and battery terminals.  This means even less maintenance for you to keep up with.

A new electric golf cart with an AC motor is capable of speeds to 25 mph+ while most new gas golf carts will go between 20-25 mph.

Used electric golf carts with a 48 volt DC motor and used gas golf carts are very similar, with speeds of around 19-20 mph for both.

Let's Wrap This Up

As you can see, many of the difference we listed above can come down to personal preference and cost.  If you are looking for a workhorse that will take you as far as you want to go, have good performance in stock configuration and don't mind the extra noise and maintenance, a gas golf cart might be worth looking into.

If you want minimal maintenance, quiet operation with zero emissions, the option to add higher performance parts without adding additional maintenance (and in some cases reducing maintenance) and a lower initial cost, then an electric golf cart will be a better choice for you.

If you have any questions regarding the differences we have discussed or if you have a question that we did not cover, please feel free to give us a call!  Our knowledgeable staff at Performance Golf Carts will be happy to assist you in any way possible so you can ride happy!