Fuel-efficient cars

Woman on phone pumping gas into car
Woman on phone pumping gas into car
Author Jason Lam
Associate Director of Data Analytics – Dairyland
May 29, 2024

We all know driving a car that gets good gas mileage is a great way to get more bang for your buck. But what counts as “good” gas mileage, anyway?

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Because it’s such a subjective term—and it involves several factors—there’s no one-size-fits-all definition. For example, many gas-powered passenger cars exceed 35 miles per gallon (mpg), with hybrids regularly exceeding 50 mpg and electric vehicles (EVs) topping 100 mpg. Meanwhile, a standard truck may only get 25 mpg.

So compared to a hybrid, the truck gets poor gas mileage—but compared to other trucks, it may be the most fuel-efficient option.

Keep that in mind as you research fuel-efficient cars. Narrow your focus to the types of vehicles that make sense for your lifestyle, your budget, the weather in your area, and the amount of driving you do. From there, start looking into gas mileage.

Which older cars have the best gas mileage?

While the average cost of used vehicles has skyrocketed over the past few years, many of these cars—even makes and models that are 10+ years old—still provide good gas mileage.

The higher your budget, the more vehicles you can consider—especially when it comes to hybrids and EVs. But even if you’re looking for a relatively inexpensive used car, you should be able to find plenty of fuel-efficient options. Just keep in mind that older cars typically have more wear and tear, so be prepared for additional maintenance expenses.

Cheap used cars with good gas mileage

Fuel-efficient new cars

Car and Driver ranked the following 10 cars based on a combination of fuel efficiency and ratings from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA):

  1. 2024 Toyota Prius

  2. 2024 Hyundai Elantra

  3. 2024 Hyundai Sonata

  4. 2025 Toyota Camry Hybrid

  5. 2024 Toyota Corolla

  6. 2024 Honda Accord/Accord Hybrid

  7. 2024 Lexus ES

  8. 2025 Toyota Crown

  9. 2024 Mitsubishi Mirage/Mirage G4

  10. 2024 Honda Civic

Keep in mind this is only one publication’s list, and it’s also not a comprehensive list of the most fuel-efficient vehicles on the market. As you research new vehicles, consider additional factors, such as safety ratings, depreciation, and suitability for your lifestyle.

Are hybrid cars worth it?

Ultimately, that’s up to you. In many cases, hybrid vehicles cost more up front than their gas-only counterparts. So if money is tight at the time you’re shopping, that extra cost can be a significant hurdle. Plus, if you don’t drive that much, you may find the financial benefits of a hybrid’s fuel efficiency take years to balance out the higher upfront costs.

That said, if your lifestyle involves even an average amount of yearly driving—and you’re able to spend a little more at the time of purchase—a hybrid car can provide significant value.

The cheapest electric vehicles

New (and relatively new) EVs aren’t typically considered inexpensive—for example, the cheapest car on the list below has a starting price of $29,280. But if you find one that fits your budget and lifestyle, EVs and their 100+ mpg fuel efficiency can be excellent money-savers.

According to, here are the five cheapest electric vehicles, as of April 2024:

  • Nissan Leaf: $29,280 starting price

  • Mini Cooper SE Hardtop: $31,895 starting price

  • Hyundai Kona Electric: $34,050 starting price

  • Hyundai Ioniq 6: $38,650 starting price

  • Fisker Ocean: $38,999 starting price

Buying a used car

Fuel efficiency is just one of many considerations you need to make as you research new-to-you vehicles. Here are four must-read articles on that topic:
For Sale sign in the window of an older car

As you search for a used car, how do you narrow your search and buy the right one? With this step-by-step guide, we can help you through the process—from setting a budget to taking a test drive.

Woman looking into a car with a For Sale sign in the window

There are pros and cons to buying a used car from a dealer, private seller, online retailer, or friend or family member. It comes down to your priorities, timeline, and budget. Here’s what you need to know.

Woman looking into a car with a For Sale sign in the window

Interested in buying a used car but not sure when to start? Check out our tips on the best times to buy a used car.

Woman looking in the window of a new vehicle
Automotive safety ratings are a key factor to consider when buying a new or used car. They can help you identify the safest vehicles, which can help save you money on car insurance premiums.

Buying car insurance for your new vehicle

Getting a new (or new-to-you) vehicle is a great reason to review your policy and make sure it still works for you. After all, you’re required to carry car insurance for your vehicle—in 49 states, anyway—so you might as well take the time to get it right.

We’ve put together an in-depth article to help you buy car insurance for your new vehicle, which can help you answer some key questions, such as:

  • When should you add insurance to a new car?

  • What’s the minimum coverage available?

  • What factors impact insurance costs?

Improve your car’s gas mileage

If you’re not in the market for a new vehicle but still want to save money on fuel, there are plenty of ways to help improve your gas mileage with your current car, such as:

  • Keep your speed consistent

  • Know the type of fuel that works best for your car

  • Clean out your car

  • Maintain properly inflated tires

  • Use air conditioning sparingly

  • Avoid idling your vehicle when possible

  • Watch out for products that sound too good to be true

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