Most Fuel-Efficient Cars You Can Buy

© BMW of North America, © General Motors, © Kia Motors America, © Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc.20 Efficient Fuel Misers
Every year the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency tests new light vehicles and ranks them according to their fuel mileage potential, assisting fuel-conscious shoppers with their purchase decisions. For the first time in history, the 12 most fuel-efficient vehicles in America are electric, and most have combined city/highway fuel ratings of more than 100 MPGe. In other articles we’ll cover the most fuel-efficient non-EV vehicles, but for now let’s look at the 20 vehicles with the best combined EPA fuel economy ratings. *Annual fuel cost estimate based on 55% city/45% highway driving and 15,000 annual miles. Electric vehicles ranked by Miles Per Gallon equivalent (MPGe): 33.7 kW-hrs = 1 gallon of gas. Electric charge times shown are at 240 volts. Vehicle prices listed do NOT include a $7,500 federal tax credit.

© BMW of North America2015 BMW i3
Starting MSRP: $42,400
MPGe (city/hwy/combined): 137 / 111 / 124
Charge time: 4 hours
Annual fuel cost: electricity = $550
Driving range: 81 miles; 151 with range extender
Hitting the market last year, the BMW i3 is not the cheapest entry-level EV, but it is one of the coolest. Built on an aluminum frame with a carbon fiber body, the i3 has a low center of gravity and quick acceleration; it reaches 60 mph in just over 6 seconds. The 170-horsepower electric motor provides a range of 81 miles, but with an optional range-extending gas generator you can tack another 70 miles onto that figure.

© General Motors2016 Chevrolet Spark EV
Starting MSRP: $25,120
MPGe (city/hwy/combined): 128 / 109 / 119
Charge time: 7 hours
Annual fuel cost: electricity = $500
Driving range: 82 miles
With 140 horsepower and 327 lb-ft of torque, the Spark EV zips to 60 mph in 7.2 seconds. Range is rated at 82 miles, and with an optional DC fast-charge system the lithium-ion battery pack can be charged from nothing to 80 percent in just 20 minutes. Unfortunately Spark EV availability is currently limited to California, Oregon and Maryland.

© Volkswagen of America, Inc.2016 Volkswagen e-Golf
Starting MSRP: $28,995
MPGe (city/hwy/combined): 126 / 105 / 116
Charge time: 3.7 hours
Annual fuel cost: electricity = $550
Driving range: 83 miles
Volkswagen says the e-Golf can hit 60 mph in a little more than 10 seconds, but it feels faster with its instantly-available 199 lb-ft of torque. The e-Golf is available at participating dealers in California, Connecticut, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington, D.C.

© FCA US2015 Fiat 500e
Starting MSRP: $31,800
MPGe (city/hwy/combined): 122 / 108 / 116
Charge time: 4 hours
Annual fuel cost: electricity = $550
Driving range: 87 miles
Quicker than its gas-powered sibling, the 500e is a blast to drive around the city. That said, the space needed for the battery renders the rear seat virtually unusable. When it arrives in showrooms, the 2016 500e will have Uconnect 5.0, which uses a 5-inch touchscreen and has Bluetooth capability. The new model also has a 20 percent quieter interior when compared to the previous year. Initial availability is in Oregon and California only.

© Nissan North America, Inc.2016 Nissan LEAF
Starting MSRP: $29,010
MPGe (city/hwy/combined): 126 / 101 / 114
Charge time: 5 hours
Annual fuel cost: electricity = $550
Driving range: 84 miles (107 with optional 30 kW-hr battery)
A favorite of corporate eco-fleets, the LEAF EV is a stalwart performer and well on its way to being the best-selling EV ever. Enhancements for 2016 include standard NissanConnect with Mobile Apps and a 5-inch color display, as well as three new exterior colors: Forged Bronze, Coulis Red and Deep Blue Pearl. For 2016 the LEAF is now available with a larger 30 kW-hr battery (starting MSRP: $34,200) that provides an EPA best-in-class driving range of 107 miles, which Nissan says is a 27 percent increase over the previous LEAF battery.

© Mitsubishi Motors North America, Inc.2016 Mitsubishi i-MiEV
Starting MSRP: $22,995
MPGe (city/highway/combined): 126 / 99 / 112
Charge time: 7 hours
Annual fuel cost: $550
Driving range: 62 miles
Billed by Mitsubishi as the most affordable electric vehicle in America, the i-MiEV has a remote system that pre-activates the air-conditioning, heater and timer battery charging. Safety features include dual-stage airbags, side curtain airbags, ABS brakes, active stability control and traction control, and an approaching vehicle audio warning system. For 2016, an optional navigation package includes a 7-inch touchscreen display with real-time traffic and a rearview camera.

© Daimler AG2016 smart fortwo coupe & cabriolet EV
Starting MSRP: $19,990 coupe; $22,990 cabriolet
MPGe (city/hwy/combined): 122 / 93 / 107
Charge time: 6 hours
Annual fuel cost: electricity = $550
Driving range: 68 miles
The open-top version of this funky runabout has the same EPA fuel economy ratings as its sibling cozy coupe. Output is rated at 74 horsepower with 96 lb-ft of torque. Smart’s Tridion safety cell uses high-strength steel to protect occupants, in conjunction with an electronic stability program and anti-lock brakes.

© Ford Motor Company2016 Ford Focus Electric
Starting MSRP: $27,829
MPGe (city/hwy/combined): 110 / 99 / 105
Charge time: 3.6 hours
Annual fuel cost: electricity = $600
Driving range: 76 miles
Ford loads up the Focus Electric with an impressive array of standard features. All Focus Electrics come with a rearview camera, SYNC hands-free connectivity, 17-inch alloy wheels, a 9-speaker audio system and voice-activated navigation. Focus Electric has a range of 76 miles and can be completely recharged in 3.6 hours with a 240-volt charging station.

© Kia Motors America2016 Kia Soul EV
Starting MSRP: $31,950
MPGe (city/hwy/combined): 120 / 92 / 105
Charge time: 4 hours
Annual fuel cost: electricity = $600
Driving range: 93 miles
Despite this EV’s hefty weight gain due to the battery pack, it remains fairly nimble and fun. The funky Soul is currently sold in 10 states: California, Connecticut, Georgia, Hawaii, Maryland, New York, New Jersey, Oregon, Texas and Washington. Interestingly, the Soul EV earned validation from Underwriters Laboratories (UL) for its use of bio-based materials.

© Tesla Motors2015 Tesla Model S AWD 70D
Starting MSRP: $75,000
MPGe (city/hwy/combined): 101 / 102 / 101
Charge time: 12 hours
Annual fuel cost: electricity = $650
Driving range: 240 miles
Although some now call it the Honda Civic of Silicon Valley, the remarkable Tesla Model S stands out for its technological prowess and fantastic driving range. The Model S 70D has two motors that produce a combined 329 horsepower, and Tesla says this Model S will hit 60 mph in 5.2 seconds with a top speed of 140 mph. Although a standard charge time at 240 volts is 12 hours, that can be significantly reduced with an 80-amp dual charger.

© Tesla Motors2016 Tesla Model X AWD 90D
Starting MSRP: $132,000
MPGe (city/hwy/combined): 90 / 94 / 92
Charge time: 4.8 hours
Annual fuel cost: electricity = $650
Driving range: 257 miles
Is your Model S too cramped or not up to the rugged country you drive through? Or — considering the plethora of Model S’s now on the road — not exclusive enough to make you feel special? Pine no more. Tesla says the Model X will be available during the latter half of 2016 to solve your eclectic electric go-anywhere and watch-me woes. The vehicle will feature falcon-wing doors, hospital-quality air filtration, a wraparound windshield, and a tow rating of 5,000 pounds.

© Mercedes-Benz USA2016 Mercedes-Benz B250e
Starting MSRP: $41,450
MPGe (city/hwy/combined): 85 / 82 / 84
Charge time: 3.5 hours
Annual fuel cost: electricity = $800
Driving range: 87 miles
This new electric Mercedes has a 132kW electric motor good for 177 horsepower, with a zero to 60 mph time of 7.9 seconds. The midsize 5-door B250e has many standard features, including a temporary range extender that adds 17 miles of additional driving, electromechanical power steering, collision prevention assistance with Adaptive Brake Assist, dual-zone climate control and a central controller with a 7-inch color display. The B250e is available in California, Connecticut, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island and Vermont.

© Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc.2016 Toyota Prius c
Starting MSRP: $19,560
MPG (city/hwy/combined): 53 / 46 / 50
Annual fuel cost: $650
Driving range: 475 miles
The Prius c remains Toyota’s lowest cost and most fuel-efficient hybrid, as well as the non-plug-in vehicle with the highest fuel economy as tested by the EPA. The Hybrid Synergy Drive system combines a 1.5-liter Atkinson-cycle 4-cylinder engine with an electric motor for a total system output of 99 horsepower. Regenerative braking captures brake energy as electricity and sends it to the battery. The Prius c has Toyota’s Smart Key system, pushbutton start, a Touch Tracer Display and Entune Premium Audio with nav.

© Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc.2015 Toyota Prius Plug-In
Starting MSRP: $29,990
MPG (city/hwy/combined): 51 / 49 / 50
Charge time: 1.5 hours
Annual fuel cost: $650
Driving range: 540 miles
As longtime leader of the hybrid movement, Toyota’s plug-in lives up to the Prius name in reliability and design. However, the plug-in’s fully-electric mode is rather limited to 11 miles at 62 mph; in electric mode it gets 95 MPGe, according to the EPA. An optional Technology Package has Dynamic Radar cruise control and a pre-collision system that applies the brakes if a crash is imminent.

© Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc.2015 Toyota Prius
Starting MSRP: $24,200
MPG (city/hwy/combined): 51 / 48 / 50
Annual fuel cost: $650
Driving range: 595 miles
Larger than the Prius c and utilizing a Hybrid Synergy Drive system that combines a 1.8-liter Atkinson-cycle 4-cylinder engine with an electric motor for a total system output of 134 horsepower, the Prius achieves the same 50 mpg combined rating as the Prius c with the combination of an equal city economy and a slightly lower highway rating. An all-new 2016 Prius will be arriving in showrooms shortly with better performance, updated styling and claimed combined fuel economy rating as high as 56 mpg.

© Honda North America2015 Honda Accord Hybrid
Starting MSRP: $29,305
MPG (city/hwy/combined): 50 / 45 / 47
Annual fuel cost: $700
Driving range: 743 miles
The Honda Accord Hybrid returned to the lineup for 2014, powered by a new 2-motor multi-mode hybrid powertrain that combines a 2.0-liter Atkinson-cycle 4-cylinder engine with two electric motors. It has 196 total horsepower yet still achieves and EPA combined fuel economy rating of 47 mpg. Standard features include Vehicle Stability Assist with traction control, ABS, electronic brake distribution, a tire-pressure-monitoring system, a 10-way power adjustable driver’s seat, Honda LaneWatch, smart entry and a security system.

© Honda North America2015 Honda Civic Hybrid
Starting MSRP: $24,735
MPG (city/hwy/combined): 44 / 47 / 45
Annual fuel cost: $750
Driving range: 594 miles
The Civic Hybrid drivetrain combines a 110-horsepower 1.5-liter 4-cylinder engine and an electric motor that adds 23 horsepower and 78 lb-ft of torque, with a continuously-variable transmission. The Civic is a “mild hybrid,” meaning the car is never operating on electric power alone.

© Volkswagen of America, Inc.2016 Volkswagen Jetta Hybrid
Starting MSRP: $31,120
MPG (city/hwy/combined): 42 / 48 / 44
Annual fuel cost: $900
Driving range: N/A
The Jetta Hybrid is powered by a 1.4-liter TSI 4-cylinder turbocharged engine that produces 150 horsepower and 184 lb-ft of torque, combined with a 27-horsepower electric motor for a total output of 170 horsepower and 184 lb-ft of torque as low as 1000 rpm. The power gets delivered through a 7-speed DSG dual-clutch gearbox which can operate as a full automatic or be shifted manually.

© Ford Motor Company2016 Ford Fusion Hybrid
Starting MSRP: $25,675
MPG (city/hwy/combined): 44 / 41 / 42
Annual fuel cost: $800
Driving range: 567 miles
Ford’s Fusion Hybrid holds the title as the most fuel-efficient American car that doesn’t get plugged in. With its 2.0-liter Atkinson-cycle 4-cylinder engine combined with a powerful electric motor, the Fusion Hybrid has 188 horsepower — about 13 more horses than the non-hybrid Fusion. In addition to its impressive fuel mileage, the Fusion Hybrid is available with the latest driver-assist features such as Lane Keeping, Adaptive Cruise Control, Active Park Assist and Blind Spot Information System.

© Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc.2016 Toyota Prius v
Starting MSRP: $26,675
MPG (city/hwy/combined): 44 / 40 / 42
Annual fuel cost: $800
Driving range: 500 miles
The largest member of the Prius family, the Prius v’s Hybrid Synergy Drive system combines a 1.8-liter Atkinson-cycle engine with a 60-kilowatt (80 horsepower) electric motor for a total output of 134 horsepower. Known as the “family sized” Prius, this latest version has an available pre-collision system as well as Dynamic Radar Cruise Control.

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