Comparing the most fuel efficient cars

Are you considering going green and purchasing a new fuel-efficient car? Today, electric, hybrid and...

Are you considering going green and purchasing a new fuel-efficient car?

Today, electric, hybrid and gas models are competing head-to-head for fuel efficiency rankings, and Atlanta car buyers have more options than ever for a cost-saving automobile that fits their lifestyle. The U.S. Department of Energy (USDE) maintains a database of the most fuel efficient cars broken down by EPA size class. If you're in the market for a cost-efficient vehicle, here is a breakdown of cars commonly available in Atlanta. For the purpose of this article, electric vehicles are excluded because of frequent stock unavailability.

Note that these statistics are compared against the USDE's estimate that a new 2013 car gets 23 MPG, and fuel savings are based on an average driving ratio of 45 percent highway and 55 percent city over five years. Use these three car shopping strategies before you go, and consider what you want and need out of a fuel-efficient car.

Two-seaters, minicompacts and subcompacts

Great for urban dwellers and singles, these ultra compact cars can fit into tight parking spots.

  • At 36 MPG, the smart cabriolet and coupe (both automatic) seat two people and take premium gasoline, though cost savings are still estimated at $3,700.
  • With 37 MPG, the Scion iQ (automatic) has four seats and requires regular gasoline, with cost savings of $4,700.
  • Delivering 34 MPG, the Chevrolet Spark (manual) seats four, takes regular gasoline and delivers cost savings of $4,000.

Compacts, midsize and large sedans or hatchbacks

Convenient for people who tend to carpool, carry lots of groceries or cargo or might otherwise need more passenger space and storage, compacts and larger cars offer competitive fuel mileage without compromising on space.

  • At 50 MPG, the Toyota Prius C Hybrid (automatic) and its mid-size sibling--the Toyota Prius Hybrid (automatic)--both get the most competitive fuel mileage in all categories. These hatchback cars deliver cost savings of $6,500 and seat four.
  • With 47 MPG, the Ford C-MAX Hybrid (automatic) seats five and comes as a plug-in model or a multi-activity vehicle model that doesn't require charging. These models take regular gasoline and save about $6,200.

Station wagons

Whether you're a stylish suburbanite or a weekend warrior, fuel-efficient wagons deliver performance, cost savings and space for all of your home projects or sports equipment.

  • At 34 MPG, the Audi A3 (automatic) and Volkswagen Jetta Sportwagen (manual) both offer about $3,000 in savings and both require diesel fuel at the pump.

Sport utility vehicles (SUVs)

SUVs are ideal for families who need 4WD capabilities and storage.

  • With 28 MPG, the Toyota Highlander Hybrid 4WD (automatic) takes regular gasoline and delivers cost savings of $2,200.
  • At 30 MPG, the Lexus RX 450h has two fewer seats and takes premium gasoline but offers luxury features and cost savings of $2,000.

So if you're in the market, check out a few Atlanta dealerships to test drive the most fuel-efficient cars and see what works best for you!

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