Skip to Content

Comparing Gas v. Electric Golf Carts

Power - by Joe Weber - updated on 5/14/2024

Two people riding in a golf cart

If you are golf cart shopping, this question is at the top of your list of decision-making questions. It's probably one of the most heated debates between golfers and community residents worldwide: Which is better, gas or electric?

What Are Gas Golf Carts?

A gas golf cart is a versatile machine that thrives on the open greens. Unlike its electric counterpart, which relies on batteries, a gas golf cart runs on good old-fashioned, readily available gasoline.

These handy vehicles are ideal for covering longer distances, making them perfect for commuting around town or tackling yard, farm, or construction site tasks. Whether you're shuttling between holes or running to the grocery store, the gas golf cart is your trusty companion, ready to tackle anything with its reliable power.

What Are Electric Golf Carts?

An electric golf cart is more than just a convenient partner on the fairways; it's a silent mode of transportation that is popular in many residential communities and commercial campuses all over the world.

These compact vehicles run on electricity, powered by batteries (up to 8 of them) that drive an electric motor to spin the wheels. Unlike their gas-powered counterparts, electric golf carts emit no exhaust fumes and create a peaceful ambiance for their users and people in the area.

Common Misconceptions

Both styles of golf carts are great and we'd like to clear up a few misconceptions that are floating around on the internet.

  1. Electric golf carts don't get as much mileage as gas carts do.
  2. Electric carts are dangerous going downhill because they can't regulate their speed like a gas engine.
  3. Electric carts can't handle hilly terrains.
  4. Electric carts don't accelerate as fast as gas carts.
  5. Gas golf carts are more powerful than electric carts.
  6. Gas carts are more durable than electric carts.
  7. Gas golf carts are cheaper.

The truth is, none of these statements are true!

Comparison of Gas and Electric Golf Carts

  Gas Golf Carts Electric Golf Carts
Power and Speed Some gas carts offer more power and torque, making them suitable for hilly terrain and rough conditions. Batteries provide instant power and torque. They have sufficient range for a day of play.
Environmental Impact Emits exhaust fumes and contributes to air pollution. Environmentally friendly with zero exhaust emissions.
Maintenance Requires more maintenance (oil changes, spark plugs, etc.). Low maintenance (battery checks and occasional cleaning).
Fuel Source Runs on gasoline. Battery-operated (36V or 48V).
Charging N/A (refuel with gas). Simple plug-in charging; ready to go after a few hours. (Best overnight)
Cost Initial costs may be lower, but fuel and maintenance expenses add up. Reasonably priced; used electric carts often offer great value. Little maintenance costs.
Noise Level Louder due to engine noise. Very quiet operation.
Indoor Use Not suitable for indoor locations. Clean and quiet, can be used indoors.

How Long Do Electric Golf Cart Batteries Last?

There are two versions of this question that we need to answer.

How long will electric golf carts last before they need to be recharged?

A fully charged electric golf cart should last between 25 - 40 miles. There is plenty of charge to get several rounds of golf or cruising around the neighborhood all day.

Make sure you plug the cart every night so it's fresh and ready to go in the morning.

How long will electric golf cart batteries last before they need to be replaced?

On average electric golf cart batteries will have a lifespan of between 4 -6 years. Naturally, this will vary depending on how you use it, maintain it and charge it.

You can read all about golf cart batteries in our recent post "Understanding Golf Cart Battery Basics".

Always keep in mind that if your electric golf cart needs a battery, you should always replace all of the batteries at the same time.

The Bottom Line

Both golf carts have pros and cons but they are both excellent choices. The important thing is to choose the golf cart that will work best for your specific needs.

Which version is best for you?

The choice is yours but it's essential to weigh the pros and cons of gas versus electric golf carts before you decide which to use.

Gas-powered carts offer the advantage of quick refueling, making them ideal for use in communities where longer travel is common and a quick fillup is necessary. They tend to have more power and can be more reliable in areas where charging options are limited.

Electric golf carts are quieter, more environmentally friendly, and typically have lower operating costs due to fewer moving parts and the lack of fuel expenses. They are perfect for shorter, flatter courses and those who need to operate them indoors.

Ultimately, the right choice depends on your specific use case but both options will provide great reliability for years.

How Can I Tell If a Golf Cart Battery Is Bad?

Whether you have a gas-powered golf cart or an electric one, one thing that is a guarantee is that you will at some point have to replace your battery or batteries.

What are the signs of a bad golf cart battery?

The nice thing about batteries is that they will tell you when they are reaching the end of their life cycle if you pay attention. Some common signs that your battery may be reaching the failing point are:

  • Batteries take longer to charge fully.
  • The cart struggles to start.
  • Your golf cart doesn't last as long as it should.
  • Your golf cart doesn't accelerate as quickly as it did.
  • One of the batteries is leaking or features noticeable bulges on the casing - if you notice this, you must replace the battery immediately.

What can you do to stay on top of things? Easy, test your batteries often. It doesn't take a lot of tools or time and it's a great way to discover potential problems before they become major problems.

If you don't have a multimeter or just don't have the time or know-how, bring your batteries to your nearest Batteries Plus and we'd be happy to test them for you! While you're here, we'll also walk you through several great golf cart battery replacement options if you do end up needing a new battery or batteries.

Need a new golf cart battery?

Shop Golf Cart Batteries