The most fuel-efficient hybrid and electric cars

Apr 17, 2012 By E/The Environmental Magazine, Emagazine.com

Which are the most fuel-efficient hybrid and/or all-electric cars available to consumers today?

Given increased environmental awareness, high and a continually slumping economy, it's no wonder that more are all the rage these days. The best deal going may be Honda's , the 42 (MPG) Insight ($18,350). Meanwhile, the newest version of Toyota's flagship hybrid, the Prius ($23,015), garners an impressive 50 MPG. Other solid choices include Toyota's 41-MPG Camry hybrid ($25,900), Ford's 39-MPG Fusion hybrid ($28,700), Lexus' 42-MPG CT 200h ($29,120) and Lincoln's 39-MPG MKZ Hybrid ($34,755).

For even greater efficiency and lower sticker prices, consider going electric, where you can charge your vehicle at ordinary electric outlets at home or work. Mitsubishi's new MiEV ($29,125) electric is the most fuel efficient car available to U.S. consumers in the 2012 model year, achieving 112 "MPG-equivalent" (the U.S. Environment Protection Agency's rating for that swaps in electricity for gas in its calculations) and a 62 mile range per full charge - not bad considering four adults can fit fairly comfortably inside. Another option is Smart's FourTwo Electric ($28,752), a two-seater with an 87 MPG-equivalent. And Nissan's all-electric Leaf ($35,200) achieves 99 MPG efficiency for a range up to 100 miles.

So-called "plug-in" hybrids also allow drivers to charge their vehicles' electric batteries via common power outlets, but also can use gasoline as needed for a longer range. Though pricey at $39,145, the may save you money in the long run because it gets a whopping 94 MPG-equivalent in its preferred all-electric mode. An onboard gas generator produces more electricity as the vehicle is driven, extending the car's range with a full tank of gas to some 375 miles. Toyota released a plug-in version of its ($32,760) this year, as well. It gets 87 MPG in electric mode (but this will only get you 15 miles without gas assistance) and a respectable 49 MPG in regular hybrid mode.

Another factor to consider when deciding which of these new uber-efficient vehicles may be right for you is the availability of additional incentives. Buyers of a new Volt, MiEV, FourTwo Electric or Leaf, for example, can cash in on a federal tax credit of $7,500 - and some states may offer additional incentives - bringing the overall cost of these cars down to within the range of similarly sized traditional car models. The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) posts all of the relevant federal tax incentives online at its Fuel Efficient Vehicle Tax Information Center website. For state-by-state incentives, check out the Database of State Incentives for Renewable Energy (DSIRE), a free online resources maintained by the North Carolina Solar Center and the Interstate Renewable Energy Council (IREC).

Of course, consumers don't have to go hybrid or electric to enjoy improved fuel efficiency these days. Scion's iQ ($15,265) and Honda's CR-Z ($19,545) each get 37 MPG out of sporty little gas-powered internal combustion engines. Kia, Toyota, Chevrolet, Hyundia and Nissan also make smaller traditional cars that get a respectable 33-34 for sticker prices under $15,000.

Explore further: Computer to simulate harbor porpoises

More information: DOE's Fuel Efficient Vehicle Tax Information Center, www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/taxcenter.shtml; DSIRE, www.dsireusa.org; Edmunds' "Decoding Electric Car MPG," www.edmunds.com/fuel-economy/d… lectric-car-mpg.html.

5 /5 (5 votes)
add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Consumer Reports: Best, worst new cars for fuel economy

Jun 14, 2011

Although the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) assigns a fuel economy rating to all new vehicles, Consumer Reports magazine conducts its own independent testing. The magazine recently concluded testing on 2011 models ...

Ford's electric plans

Jul 18, 2011

When I think electric cars, I think the Nissan Leaf and Chevy Volt - then maybe Tesla and Fisker sports cars. But options for would-be electric car owners are fast expanding, and Ford is about to tap into the growing ...

Chevy Volt's official mileage: 93 mpg on electric

Nov 25, 2010

(PhysOrg.com) -- The Environment Protection Agency (EPA) official mileage ratings of the Chevrolet Volt have been released and show the car will be capable of 93 "miles per gallon equivalent" when running ...

A Hummer That Gets 100 MPG?

Apr 23, 2009

(PhysOrg.com) -- One of the more interesting vehicles unveiled at the the Society of Automotive Engineers World Congress in Detroit is an electric Hummer that gets, according to its developer Raser Technologies, ...

Recommended for you

Computer to simulate harbor porpoises

3 hours ago

Researchers at Aarhus University, Denmark, use a computer model to predict the impact of new offshore wind farms on the population of harbour porpoises in the North Sea. A consortium of international energy ...

Inclusive approach to comprehensive retrofitting project

9 hours ago

Cuatro de Marzo is a district in the southern part of the Spanish city of Valladolid. It is a dense residential area with 190 privately-owned dwellings, developed in 1955. The area is populated by a series ...

New battery technology for electric vehicles

Nov 21, 2014

Scientists at the Canadian Light Source are on the forefront of battery technology using cheaper materials with higher energy and better recharging rates that make them ideal for electric vehicles (EVs).

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.