Gas vs Electric Golf Carts Face-Off: Don’t Assume Electric Is Always Best!

When you’re picking out a new golf cart, one of the big things to think about is whether to go for a gas vs electric golf cart. With recent technological advancements, electric golf carts have come a long way and pack quite a punch. 

But, in the 2024 showdown of gas vs electric golf carts (and the reasons behind it), who emerges as the winner? Both types have their own sets of pros and cons, making it a challenging decision without having a deeper understanding.

Let’s remain even-handed!

Both types have their niches in the golf cart world. However, the ultimate decision lies with you in determining which one suits your needs best.

  • The Difference Between Gas vs Electric Golf Carts
  • Is It Better to Have a Gas vs Electric Golf Cart?
  • Choosing the Right Golf Cart
  • Gas vs Electric Golf Cart Price
  • Which Golf Cart Suits You Best

Let’s tee off!

gas vs electric golf carts featured image

Gas vs Electric Golf Carts: Why Electric Golf Carts Make a Better Choice

Apart from their lower cost and quieter operation, electric golf carts stand out as the superior choice for environmental reasons.

Gas-powered golf carts burn fuel, resulting in the production of carbon monoxide emissions. 

While newer models emit less gas odor than older ones, they can still be odorous when operated in an enclosed space. 

In contrast, electric golf carts generate no emissions. Their rechargeable batteries offer a more environmentally conscious alternative.

Furthermore, electric golf carts can be driven on the road depending on your location if the speed limit is below 30 or 35 mph.

(Keep in mind that taking a golf cart on the road will require features like a windshield, headlights, seatbelts, etc.)

a lady hanging off the back of an extra long electric golf cart

Pros and Cons Comparison of Gas Vs Electric Golf Carts 

Each fuel source comes with its own set of advantages and disadvantages, making it crucial to weigh them all before deciding on either type of vehicle.

Gas Golf Carts – Pros and Cons

Much like standard cars and trucks, gas golf carts are powered by gas. These carts operate using combustion engines, with both four-stroke and two-stroke engines being common. 

In older models, you’ll often find two-stroke engines, while newer ones typically favor four-stroke engines due to their greater efficiency and relatively lower environmental impact.

ProsCons
Strong and powerful engines for hauling heavy loads.Gas golf carts come with ongoing maintenance and the need for fuel refills.
Higher speeds for quick travel on the golf course.Gas carts are less environmentally friendly than electric carts.
Street-legal options for faster travel on paved areas.Gas odor and exhaust can linger on the course.
Custom-built with a wide range of amenities.Potential for fluid leaks if poorly maintained.
Carbon monoxide emissions can pose health risks in enclosed spaces.
Noisier operations can disturb others on the course.
a long line of electric golf carts

Electric Golf Carts – Pros and Cons

Electric golf carts operate with the assistance of a rechargeable battery pack, typically consisting of 5-6 batteries.

The main battery types used in electric carts include lead acid batteries, lithium-ion batteries, and AGM (absorbed glass mat) batteries, with lithium-ion being the preferred choice. 

Regarding the electrical system, 36V, 48V, and 72V are the well-known configurations for electric golf carts. While older versions typically feature 36V systems, the majority of modern electric golf carts are equipped with a 48V system.

ProsCons
Electric golf carts are environmentally friendly as they produce zero emissions.A significant concern can be the battery life, which may require careful consideration when planning your day of golfing.
They operate smoothly and quietly (almost silently) due to their battery-powered design.Finding a charging station may distract from your relaxing golf experience.
There’s no exhaust to see or smell from an electric golf cart.Recharging takes time, rendering the cart unusable during charging.
Reduces pollution and benefits local wildlife and course growth.Can be more challenging to maneuver.
Lower recharging costs compared to gas.Battery power levels can be difficult to gauge.
a young girl playing on a gas golf cart on the beach

How to Choose the Right Golf Cart?

Your decision depends on how you intend to use the golf cart. If you’re planning to get one, keep reading to find some helpful advice on picking between a gas and an electric golf cart.

Gas vs Electric Golf Cart Adaptability

Golf carts have diverse applications in various scenarios. This might prompt a potential buyer to seek a versatile cart that can adjust to a range of tasks and needs. Will you need to use your cart indoors? In that case, an electric cart is necessary. 

Are you planning longer journeys or requiring additional power to transport equipment across a golf course? Then, a gas cart is more suitable for you.

Historically, gas-powered carts held an advantage, but advancements in newer, more robust batteries are altering this landscape.

gas golf cart riding to the beach

Gas Vs Electric Golf Cart Speed

Neither gas nor electric golf carts are designed to match the speed of a standard car. Regardless of your choice, you won’t surpass 25 mph with any golf cart. If you’re looking for the fastest golf cart, it’s likely to be a top-tier electric model reaching around 25 mph.

Most gas golf carts top out at around 20 mph. While it’s possible to enhance the speed of an electric golf cart, doing so can be unsafe and isn’t recommended.

Additionally, even a modified street-legal golf cart must adhere to speed limits on golf courses and residential roads.

golf cart at sunset

Gas Vs Electric Golf Cart Maintenance

Like conventional vehicles, gasoline-powered golf carts demand routine maintenance, service checks, and oil changes. As they age, they may also require repairs or component replacements.

Electric golf carts are considerably lower in maintenance compared to gas counterparts. Typically, an electric golf cart only needs routine cleaning and basic upkeep.

Eventually, you’ll need a new battery for an electric golf cart, but that’s usually not necessary for several years. An electric golf cart battery can last up to a decade with proper care and avoiding overcharging.

Gas Vs Electric Golf Cart Noise Level

One of the notable advantages of electric golf carts is their quiet and low-noise operation. In contrast, gas-powered golf carts tend to be a bit noisier.

However, newer models have improved and are less noisy than their older counterparts. If minimizing noise is a top priority for you, an electric golf cart might be your preferred choice.

golf cart on the range

Gas Vs Electric Golf Cart Cleanliness

Gas golf carts can be messy as they involve refueling with gas and the need to monitor for any potential leaks. Generally, dealing with gas is somewhat messier than handling electric carts.

Gas Vs Electric Golf Cart Price

It may come as a surprise, but electric golf carts can be notably more affordable than gas carts. Even used gas golf carts often command higher prices than brand-new electric ones.

Electric golf carts are cheaper in nearly every aspect.

Their initial purchase price is typically lower, maintenance costs are minimal, and there’s no need for gas refills. Ultimately, the overall cost will be influenced by the specific make, model, and features of the golf cart you opt for.

Explore the Option of Buying a Used Cart

If you’re seeking a dependable golf cart ready for immediate use, purchasing a new one is a logical choice. However, like all brand-new vehicles, their value depreciates rapidly once driven off the lot. 

On the flip side, with some patience and a touch of good fortune, you can come across fantastic deals on pre-owned golf carts. It’s advisable to assume that a used golf cart is being sold in its current condition with no warranty and that the sale is final.

Gas Vs Electric Golf Cart: Golf Cart Resale Values

When purchasing a new golf cart, the initial cost is generally similar for both gas and electric models. However, when it comes to reselling or buying a used cart, you’ll notice a significant difference. 

Gas golf carts tend to retain higher resale values than electric carts, primarily because of the relatively high expense of replacing electric cart batteries. 

These replacement batteries can cost 10-15 percent more than those for electric vehicles, amounting to several hundred dollars.

If you take pleasure in golf as a way to relax and exercise outdoors, having a golf cart can elevate your experience.

electric golf cart whizzing along

Which Option Suits Me Best?

Now that you’ve learned about the pros and cons of gas and electric golf carts, how can you decide which is the right fit for your golfing experience?

If you require a golf cart to cover long distances, a gas golf cart is the way to go. With a gas model, you won’t have to worry about taking breaks to recharge the battery. Gas golf carts are also a good choice if you plan to customize your golf cart with accessories.

Electric golf carts, on the other hand, are an excellent option if you’re budget-conscious, prioritize eco-friendliness and sustainability, or wish to steer clear of the maintenance demands linked to gas golf carts.

Wrap-Up: Gas Vs Electric Golf Carts

While gas-powered golf carts provide greater power than their electric counterparts, their long-term costs outweigh the lower initial investment.

Conversely, electric golf carts demand less maintenance and appeal to environmentally conscious golfers.

The choice between power and energy efficiency ultimately rests with you to evaluate.

Next Up: Soft vs Hard Golf Balls (4 Key Differences + 5 Simple Tips To Help You Choose)

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After graduating from the Professional Golf Management program in Palm Springs, CA, I moved back to Toronto, Canada, turned pro and became a Class 'A' member of the PGA of Canada. I then began working at some of the city's most prominent country clubs. While this was exciting, it wasn't as fulfilling as teaching, and I made the change from a pro shop professional to a teaching professional. Within two years, I was the Lead Teaching Professional at one of Toronto's busiest golf instruction facilities. Since then, I've stepped back from the stress of running a successful golf academy to focus on helping golfers in a different way. Knowledge is key so improving a players golf IQ is crucial when choosing things like the right equipment or how to cure a slice. As a writer I can help a wide range of people while still having a little time to golf myself!

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