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Golf carts: gas versus electric

If you're buying a golf cart, we're here to help make the process easier.

Golf cart parked in front of a garage.

Which golf cart is right for me?

If you’re thinking of adding a golf cart to your vehicle collection, you have some decisions to make. One of the big ones is choosing a gas vs electric golf cart, and several factors may affect your choice.

How you'll use a golf cart:

  • Desired range: An electric cart’s range is typically 15 to 25 miles, depending on the type of battery. With a 4 to 6 gallon fuel tank, you’ll average 100 to 180 miles with a gas cart.
  • Business or pleasure? If you’re using a cart for maintenance work, you may need something more powerful. Gas carts tend to have more power, with their ICE motors averaging 10 to 14 horsepower. Electric carts typically have 4 to 6 horsepower motors.
  • Custom built: If you’re planning to modify your golf cart, gas is usually preferred since add-ons can reduce the range of an electric cart.
  • On the golf course: Most golf courses are switching to electric golf carts now because overall costs are lower, mostly because the cost of electricity is less than the cost of gas.
  • Indoors: Electric is the clear choice.
  • Street legal golf carts: Street legal carts may be used on some road, but local laws vary — check with your local municipality. According to Motor and Wheels in order for a golf cart to be street legal it must be able to travel at least 20 miles per hour and have the following equipment:
  • Speedometer;
  • Horn;
  • Lighted license plate;
  • VIN number;
  • DOT-approved tires, seat belts, and windshield wipers;
  • Mirrors, interior and exterior-mounted; and
  • Working headlight, brake and turn signals.

Golf cart maintenance

Electric - If one of your priorities is buying a golf cart that’s easy to maintain, electric is the way to go. Your main maintenance will be checking and maintaining electrolyte levels in the cart’s batteries and keeping the batteries at the appropriate level of charge. Golf cart batteries typically last between 5 to 7 years and may cost between $800 and $2,000 to replace.

Gas - With a gas cart, you’ll need to change the oil regularly and replace spark plugs and oil filters. 

Both carts will require regular maintenance on tires, suspension, steering and brakes. Be sure you have a place to store your golf cart too. If you don’t, you’ll have additional maintenance costs to consider.

Golf cart resale values

If you’re buying new, the initial purchase price is similar for gas and electric golf carts. Once you’re looking to resell though (or if you’re buying used), gas golf carts are worth considerably more than electric carts because of the high cost of replacement batteries in electric carts.

After you’ve made your selection, review these golf cart safety tips and talk with your local State Farm® agent to ensure you have the right coverage for off-road or recreational vehicle insurance, like the coverages offered by State Farm.

The information in this article was obtained from various sources not associated with State Farm® (including State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company and its subsidiaries and affiliates). While we believe it to be reliable and accurate, we do not warrant the accuracy or reliability of the information. State Farm is not responsible for, and does not endorse or approve, either implicitly or explicitly, the content of any third party sites that might be hyperlinked from this page. The information is not intended to replace manuals, instructions or information provided by a manufacturer or the advice of a qualified professional, or to affect coverage under any applicable insurance policy. These suggestions are not a complete list of every loss control measure. State Farm makes no guarantees of results from use of this information.

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