Five Best Cars for Fuel Economy

The U.S. Department of Energy makes it easy for consumers to find out which cars are most fuel-efficient. For 2011, the agency has offered a list of the most fuel-efficient cars in America at “’s Top Ten EPA-Rated Fuel Sippers.” Not surprisingly, only hybrids and electric vehicles made the list. We’ve taken it a step further and offered a few more details, including pricing, on the top five.

5. 2011 Lexus CT 200h

It might surprise you to see a luxury car in with the Fuel Sippers, but there it is. The 4-cylinder hatchback defies your preconceived ideas about hatchbacks, offering the luxury Lexus drivers expect. This sporty little number gets 43 mpg in the city and 40 on the highway. Getting better city mileage than highway is a quirk of many hybrids. The CT shares the Prius platform, inherited from its parent company, Toyota, but with a lot more style and oomph. You can pick one up starting around $30,000.

4. 2011 Toyota Prius

The Prius is the car that proved hybrids were an option for average Americans. Priced between $25,000 and $30,000, it’s not cheap, but it is the most affordable car in its class. Small but roomy, the Prius is an excellent choice for most commuters. If you want something sportier, you might prefer the Lexus CT 200h.

3. 2011 Chevrolet Volt

At a pricey $40,000, the Volt offers an amazing 95 equivalent mph city and 90 highway when running on its electric charge. When running on gasoline, which must be premium grade, it gets 35 mpg city and 40 mpg city. The Volt offers a balance of utility and convenience, allowing most drivers to use the electric only power except for the occasional long road trip.

2. 2011 Smart ForTwo Coupe or Cabriolet Electric Drive

Smart cars are often confused with hybrids or electric vehicles in general, but they really fall under the unique, two-seat Mercedes Benz offspring. The Smart car’s origins allowed it to enter the market with an instant reputation for quality and craftsmanship. Looking a little like a miniature spaceship, Smart ForTwo boasts 94 mpg equivalent in the city and 79 on the highway for both the Coupe and Cabriolet models. Only available for lease in limited numbers at this time, you’ll be lucky to even see one, much less get your hands on the wheel. The cost of a lease works out to about $28,000.

1. 2011 Nissan Leaf

The 2001 Leaf beats all others for fuel economy with its all-electric motor. Priced at around $33,000, the Leaf offers the equivalent of 106 mpg in the city and 92 on the highway. The four-door hatchback makes it an excellent choice for environmentally conscious families.

These fuel-efficient wonders can save you a lot of money on gasoline. Unfortunately, until there is more of a history for insurance companies to look at, you won’t save a lot on insurance premiums. In the coming years however, these cars, often driven by responsible and eco-conscious individuals, should prove to cost less to insure once they prove themselves.

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