What are the Best Fuel Efficient Cars?
Fuel efficiency is something you and your vehicle will love. From your vehicle’s perspective, fuel efficiency is like having a good metabolism. What you put into your car gives it the best level of energy to propel it forward, and that’s good for your vehicle and your wallet.
If you’re shopping for a new vehicle or planning to rent a vehicle for your next trip, you need to know the best fuel efficient cars. With gas prices up from a year ago, you’ll want to make sure your dollars go as far as they can and choose a vehicle that makes the most of the fuel you buy.
What Does Fuel Efficient Mean?
Whether you are driving across the country or driving your daily commute to work, a fuel efficient car can make a difference in your gas mileage. Fuel efficient vehicles use less effort to convert the chemical energy from the fuel burn into the forward movement your car needs to move, also known as kinetic energy.
If you haven’t sat in a physics class in a while, you may not be that familiar with chemical and kinetic energy. So, to break it down, a fuel efficient car will make the best use of the fuel you purchase for it to keep you on the road longer between fill-ups.
Best Fuel Efficient Cars
Here are some of the best fuel efficient cars on the market today. Of course, when you’re shopping for a new personal vehicle or choosing a vehicle from your rental car company, you need to consider your other needs and availability. Still, these can help you narrow down your search if fuel efficiency is important to you.
Fuel efficient cars can be broken down into two basic categories:
- Electric or Hybrid
Let’s look at the top performers from various models in each category.
Electric and Hybrid Vehicles
Electric and electric hybrid vehicles are more fuel efficient because they rely more on electric-drive technologies than the internal combustion of more conventional vehicles.
One incentive for going with an electric or plug-in hybrid is the tax credit you can get for purchasing one. In the United States, you can get up to a $7,500 tax credit for qualifying purchases of electric or plug-in hybrid vehicles. Here are some great options in this category:
Best Performer: Hyundai Ioniq Blue
This plug-in hybrid gives the best mpg on the road right now. The Ioniq is a fuel efficient dream, and it gets about 52 mpg, but the Ioniq Blue gets an impressive 59 mpg. That’s more than double the average gas mileage of modern vehicles.
On top of being the most fuel efficient car in the United States, it offers 136 horsepower. This powerful car comes in a plug-in hybrid that qualifies for the tax credit, and you can get up to $4,543 in tax credit for the plug-in hybrid. The all-electric Ioniq will earn you the full $7,500 tax credit.
It also offers advanced safety and convenience features such as forward-collision avoidance, rear cross-traffic collision warning, blind-spot detection, and lane assist. It also comes with adaptive cruise control, so it’s even more fuel efficient.
No wonder it stands out among its competitors as the most fuel efficient car on the market today, but there are still plenty of other choices out there that offer decent fuel efficiency.
Car: Honda Accord Hybrid
The Honda Accord Hybrid produces plenty of power and handles beautifully on the road. This hybrid gets a combined average of 46 MPG, and you can drive confidently and comfortably.
The cabin is spacious, and the vehicle offers other features like Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. It also comes with new safety features like automatic emergency braking, forward collision warnings, and lane assist.
To boost your fuel economy, it also comes with adaptive cruise control, which helps you maintain a consistent speed more seamlessly and increase your already fuel-efficient performance.
SUV: Toyota RAV4 Prime Hybrid
Finding a fuel-efficient vehicle with the functionality of an SUV can be a tall order, especially when you consider the delay the chip shortage has created. However, if you can find one, this vehicle will give you the full $7,500 tax credit, about 38 mpg on gasoline, and an impressive combined 94 mpg, thanks to the electric capabilities of the vehicle.
In addition to its fuel efficiency, the RAV4 Prime Hybrid has a nice cabin area, plenty of cargo space, and an infotainment system. Like most modern vehicles, it offers enhanced safety features like pedestrian detection. Like the Honda Accord Hybrid, it offers adaptive cruise control to improve your fuel efficiency even more.
4 Cylinder Vehicles
As the demand for fuel efficiency has increased, automotive manufacturers have turned to the four-cylinder engine to meet the demands and make the needed improvements. What would have been passed over a decade ago is now at the top of consumers’ shopping lists and companies looking to buy fleets of vehicles.
So, what can the four-cylinder engine offer you today?
Car: Nissan Versa
It is hard for any vehicle to sound impressive when boasting its fuel efficiency if you use an electric or plug-in hybrid as your benchmark. Still, just as you shouldn’t judge a fish on its ability to fly, it’s fair to give four-cylinder engines a chance to prove their own fuel efficient capabilities.
The Nissan Versa offers 40 mpg on the highway. It also has 15 cubic feet of cargo space, and it has 122 horsepower at 6,300 rpm. You can also choose an Xtronic CVT transmission to improve your fuel efficiency. CVT means continuously variable transmission, so the vehicle adapts effortlessly to shift gears and make the most of your fuel.
SUV: GMC Terrain
This 4-cylinder SUV comes standard with a 1.5L turbocharged engine that sends super-compressed air into the engine to give your internal combustion engine a boost that gets you going. This little SUV offers more space inside than the outside size suggests, and it gets a reasonably impressive 22 mpg for an SUV with a conventional engine.
To make it more fuel efficient, the GMC Terrain offers adaptive cruise control. It provides a more truck-like exterior to give you the look and feel of a bigger, bulkier vehicle without compromising your fuel efficiency.
Whether you’re shopping for yourself or a vehicle to rent for your next road trip, chances are fuel efficiency has crossed your mind. Hopefully, armed with a few examples of the best fuel efficient cars on the road, you can make an informed decision that suits your needs.
Remember, the average fuel efficiency of cars today is about 25 mpg, so if you’re in that range, you’re doing good. Also, make sure you are driving in a way that maximizes your fuel efficient capabilities.
Gasoline and Diesel Fuel Update – US Energy Information Administration | eia.gov
Federal Tax Credits for Electric and Plug-in Hybrid Cars | fueleconomy.gov
Global Chip Shortage Makes It Tough to Buy Certain Cars | consumerreports.org