Comparing Gas and Electric UTVs: Which is Right For You?

Utility Terrain Vehicles (UTVs) have experienced a surge in popularity in recent years, finding applications in both recreational and utility settings. At the end of 2022, the UTV market was valued at $6 billion and is projected to grow to exceed $10 billion by the end of 2032.

If you plan to get a utility vehicle now, the first decision you’ll have to make is whether to buy one that is gas-powered or one powered by electricity. But the big question is how do you tell which is right for you?

Generally, the choice of which to pick will largely depend on a few factors, including your budget, ease of maintenance, what you need the machine for, etc. However, there’s a great chance of getting it wrong when choosing between the two variants.

In this article, I will discuss the pros and cons of gas and electric utility terrain vehicles, review the factors to consider before choosing which to buy and suggest which would serve best for different purposes.

Gas-Powered UTVs

For decades, gas-powered UTVs have been a staple in the off-road and utility vehicle market. These robust machines are typically equipped with internal combustion engines that run on gasoline and other fossil fuels.

Gasoline utility vehicles are known for their ruggedness and high performance and are available in various sizes and configurations. They cater to various applications, including farming, construction, hunting, recreational riding, etc.

Ideally, these UTVS use an internal combustion engine which generates power through a series of controlled explosions within the cylinders, thereby driving the wheels and propelling the vehicle forward.

Pros of Gas-Powered UTVs

Power and Performance

Gas-powered UTVs offer superior power and torque compared to their electric counterparts. This makes them ideal for demanding tasks, such as hauling heavy loads, traversing rough terrains, and climbing steep hills.

Range and Refueling:

Apart from their power and performance, gas-powered UTVs also have an extended coverage range before the need to refuel. This means you can ride them for long without needing to refill your tank too frequently.

Easy to Power

Gasoline is widely available almost everywhere in the world. Furthermore, it tends to be more affordable than electricity in many locations. You will likely find gas-powered UTVs economically attractive if you are a heavy user.

Cons of Gas-Powered UTVs

Environmental Impact

The nature of Gas-powered UTVs contribute to air and noise pollution.

Maintenance and Service

Internal combustion engines require regular maintenance, including oil changes, filter replacements, and spark plug checks. These maintenance tasks can be time-consuming and add to the operating costs.

Electric UTVs

With a growing emphasis on eco-consciousness and sustainability, electric UTVs have emerged as a promising alternative to their gas-powered counterparts. These electric-powered off-road vehicles offer unique features that cater to environmentally conscious consumers and those seeking quieter, low-maintenance rides.

Electric UTVs feature electric motors powered by rechargeable batteries which drives the wheels, providing a smooth and quiet ride. Overall, electric UTVs have become more capable, offering increased power and improved range.

Pros of Electric UTVs

Environmental Benefits

One of the most significant advantages of electric UTVs is their eco-friendliness. They produce zero tailpipe emissions, which helps to reduce greenhouse gases and air pollution.

Quiet and Smooth Operation

Electric UTVs operate quietly, minimizing noise pollution and offering a peaceful off-road experience. This feature is appealing to many riders as it benefits wildlife and preserves the tranquility of natural habitats.

Low Maintenance

Electric UTVs have fewer moving parts than gas-powered ones, which automatically reduces their maintenance requirements. There are no oil changes or complex engine components to worry about.

Cons of Electric UTVs

Limited Range and Charging Time

One major issue with electric UTVs is their range limitation. Electric UTV batteries can only carry them for a short span before running down. Regardless of the battery capacity, their owners have to recharge them repeatedly throughout their entire lifespan.

Frequent Charging may be Inconvenient

Additionally, charging the batteries takes time, which can be inconvenient during long trips without easy access to charging stations.

Upfront Cost and Incentives

Electric UTVs often come with a higher upfront cost than their gas-powered counterparts due to the expensive battery technology. Thus, before investing in one, you must consider potential incentives, tax credits, or reduced operational costs that may offset the initial investment over time.

Performance Considerations

The performance output of electric vehicles is another factor most manufacturers will not tell you about, but you need to consider it. While electric UTVs offer many benefits, some models may not match the sheer power and torque of gas-powered UTVs, especially in heavy-duty applications.

Comparing Gas and Electric UTVs

Gas and Electric-powered UTVs: Which is Right for You?

Before choosing whether to buy a gas or electric-powered machine, here are a few considerations you should evaluate:

Performance Comparison

When choosing between gas and electric UTVs, understanding their performance capabilities is crucial to ensure the vehicle aligns with your intended use and requirements. Some of the performance parameters you’ll need to consider between the two UTV variants include;

Power and Torque

Gas-powered UTVs are renowned for their robust power output and high torque. Their internal combustion engines deliver instant power, which provides quick acceleration and excellent hill-climbing abilities.

Conversely, electric UTVs offer instant torque from the moment you press the accelerator, resulting in quick and smooth acceleration. While electric motors may not match the sheer power of gas engines, they still provide ample performance for recreational and light-duty utility tasks.

Acceleration and Speed

Gas-powered UTVs are often known for their high top speeds, which translates to thrilling rides and faster travel on open trails. Their powerful engines can achieve impressive acceleration rates. On the other hand, electric UTVs are characterized by slightly slower acceleration due to their weight and the design of electric motors.

Terrain and Off-Road Capabilities

Overall, gas-powered UTVs excel in rough terrains, steep hills, and challenging off-road conditions. Due to their high power and torque, they are best used for heavy-duty applications or in environments where a reliable and strong machine is needed.

On the other hand, electric UTVs might have limitations in extreme terrains and carrying heavy loads.

Range and Charging Considerations

Another crucial concern in evaluating gas and electric UTVs is their range and charging capabilities. A good understanding of their comparative advantages and limitations will help you determine which is better suited for your specific needs and usage patterns.

Gas-Powered UTVs

Gas-powered UTVs boast a distinct advantage in terms of range. They can cover more mileage without worrying about refueling or power shortage. This makes them ideal for extended off-road adventures, remote work sites, and other situations.

Range Limitations of Electric UTVs

Electric UTVs have for the longest time faced challenges related to their range. The capacity of electric UTV batteries determines how far they can travel on a single charge. Even though technology has helped to improve battery capacities in electric cars, their gas-powered siblings seems to be a better option with respect to range limitations.

For recreational use, many modern electric UTVs have a range sufficient for a day’s ride. However, careful planning and consideration of charging options are essential for extended expeditions or heavy-duty work.

Charging electric UTVs requires access to electricity, and the availability of charging infrastructure is a critical consideration. Charging options include standard household outlets, dedicated charging stations, or specialized fast-charging solutions. Before investing in a electric utility vehicle, you will need to consider the availability of charging stations along your intended routes or at your work sites.

Environmental Impact and Sustainability

In an era where environmental consciousness is increasingly paramount, you may also want to evaluate the potential environmental impacts of your UTV choice.

Carbon Emissions of Gas-Powered UTVs

Gas-powered UTVs rely on internal combustion engines that burn fossil fuels, leading to the emission of greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide (CO2) and other pollutants. These emissions contribute to climate change and air pollution, impacting human health and the environment.

Over the years, off-road gas-powered vehicles have been scrutinized for their role in disturbing fragile ecosystems and potentially harming wildlife. So, if you are an environmental sustainability enthusiast, you may want to consider investing in an electric UTVs instead.

Environmental Benefits of Electric UTVs

Electric UTVs produce zero emissions while in operation. Since they don’t burn fossil fuels, they help reduce greenhouse gas emissions. On the other hand, with fewer moving parts and no need for oil changes, their quieter operation significantly benefits wildlife and outdoor enthusiasts seeking peaceful natural experiences less.

Cost Analysis

Gas-powered UTVs generally have a lower upfront cost compared to electric UTVs. This price advantage is partly due to the type of technology employed and the lower cost of internal combustion engines. For budget-conscious buyers or those who prioritize initial affordability, gas UTVs may seem like an attractive option.

Total Cost of Ownership for Each Type

However, while gas UTVs may have a lower upfront cost, it’s essential to consider the total cost of ownership (TCO) over the vehicle’s lifespan. TCO includes the purchase price and ongoing expenses such as fuel or electricity costs, maintenance, and potential incentives or tax credits.

Although electric UTVs are more expensive to purchase, they require very little maintenance. So, do the maths and see which fits in best to your long-term financial plan.

If you have a slim long-term budget, an electric vehicle will be best. Electric UTVs offer potential cost-saving benefits in the long run. And since they don’t rely on gasoline, their operating costs are lower.

Maintenance and Service

Maintaining your UTV is essential to ensure optimal performance and longevity.

Due to their internal combustion engines, Gas-powered UTVs have a more extensive maintenance regimen. Regular maintenance tasks for gas UTVs include oil changes, air filter replacements, spark plug inspections, and fuel system checks.

Additionally, engine maintenance, such as adjusting valves and timing, is necessary to keep the UTV running smoothly. These maintenance tasks might require specialized knowledge or the assistance of a professional mechanic.

Electric UTVs require no serious maintenance like the gas-powered ones. However, you will need to monitor the battery’s health and electrical components to ensure optimal performance. Luckily, most electric UTVs have self-diagnostic capabilities, simplifying maintenance and alerting the owner of potential issues.

Noise and Vibration

The impact of noise and vibration on the overall riding experience is an essential consideration when choosing between gas and electric UTVs.

Gas-powered UTVs are well-known for their distinctive engine noise, which arises from the combustion process within the engine cylinders. The noise they produce can be quite loud, especially during acceleration or when running at higher RPMs.

Electric UTVs have a significant advantage in terms of noise levels. The absence of an internal combustion engine results in a much quieter ride. Electric motors operate smoothly and quietly, reducing noise pollution during off-road excursions.

When to Choose Gas UTVs?

Here are some scenarios where gas UTVs might be the better choice:

1. Power and Heavy-Duty Applications: If you require a UTV for heavy-duty tasks such as hauling loads or navigating challenging terrains, gas UTVs’ robust power and torque make them well-suited for such demanding applications.

2. Extended Range and Remote Areas: For adventurers who embark on long-distance journeys or frequently venture into remote regions with limited access to charging stations, gas-powered UTVs offer the advantage of extended range and quick refueling options.

3. Budget-Conscious Buyers: Gas UTVs generally have a lower upfront cost than electric models. If you’re on a tight budget or looking for an economical option upfront, gas UTVs might be more affordable.

When to Choose Electric UTVs?

Electric UTVs appeal to different users who prioritize eco-friendliness, low maintenance, and a quieter riding experience. Here are some scenarios where electric UTVs excel:

1. Environmental Consciousness: If reducing your carbon footprint and contributing to a cleaner environment are priorities, then an electric UTV is the most ideal choice.

2. Quiet and Peaceful Rides: For riders who enjoy a serene and immersive off-road experience, electric UTVs’ silent operation eliminates engine noise and vibration, enhancing the enjoyment of nature.

3. Urban and Noise-Sensitive Areas: Electric UTVs are well-suited for urban and noise-sensitive regions where loud engine noise might be restricted. Their quiet operation allows riders to explore these areas without causing disturbances.


Choosing between gas and electric UTVs involves weighing various factors to align the vehicle with your needs and preferences. Ultimately, your decision should be based on the type of terrain you’ll be navigating, your intended usage, budget, and environmental impact.

Also Read: 5 Common Hisun Sector 550 Problems and Their Fixes

As technology advances, gas and electric UTVs are likely to improve in various aspects, offering even more compelling choices for off-road enthusiasts in the future. Whichever type you choose, remember to ride responsibly, respect the environment, and prioritize safety in all your off-road adventures.

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