Recently the EPA has developed new standards for rating the fuel efficiency of new model vehicles, causing a reordering of the top contenders. It is not surprising that a few of the latest hybrid models to hit the market have taken their place on that Top Ten List. However, the EPA’s list of ten includes a trio of less expensive, non-hybrid vehicles whose ratings are surprisingly competitive when compared to their hybrid challengers.
The new EPA standards are derived from a variety of factors including use of air conditioning in vehicles and the frequency of aggressive driving. Older EPA fuel ratings did not take into account several environmental factors and are considered less accurate than the new ratings. Also, the government has placed a regulation on the automotive industry that says that both cars and SUVs must have a combined fuel rating of at least 35 MPG by the year 2020. Along with rising concern for greenhouse gas emissions, these factors have motivated car buyers to pay a lot more attention to the EPA’s fuel efficiency ratings.
Three non-hybrid models are ranked among the best in fuel economy. Though buyers should include the latest EPA fuel efficiency and emission ratings in their research, those numbers make up only part of the overall cost of operation of your vehicle. The overall cost of operating a vehicle includes the cost of insuring your vehicle, sales tax, depreciation, vehicle registration and other licensing fees; add to that the operating costs including gas, oil, repairs, maintenance and tires.
Top Ten Fuel Efficient Vehicles of 2008
- Toyota Prius – Hybrid – 48 city mpg, 45 highway mpg – mid-size 4-door sedan – MSRP $21,500-$23,770
- Honda Civic – Hybrid – 40 city mpg, 45 highway mpg – compact 4-door sedan – MSRP $22,600
- Nissan Altima– Hybrid – 35 city mpg, 33 highway mpg – mid-size 4-door sedan – MSRP $25,480
- Ford Escape– Hybrid – 34 city mpg, 30 highway mpg – compact 5-door SUV – MSRP $26,640 – $28,390
- Mazda Tribute– Hybrid – 34 city mpg, 30 highway mpg – compact 5-door SUV – MSRP $26,135-$28,645
- Mercury Mariner– Hybrid – 34 city mpg, 30 highway mpg – compact 5-door SUV – MSRP $28,150
- Toyota Camry– Hybrid – 33 city mpg, 34 highway mpg – mid-size 4-door sedan – MSRP $25,650
- Toyota Yaris– Gasoline – 29 city mpg, 36 highway mpg – 3-door hatchback, 4-door compact sedan, 5-door hatchback – MSRP $11,550-$13,925
- Toyota Corolla – Gasoline – 28 city mpg, 37 highway mpg – compact 4-door sedan – MSRP $15,250-$18,760
- Honda Fit – Gasoline – 28 city mpg, 34 highway mpg – 5-door hatchback – MSRP $13,950-$15,270
While driving a fuel efficient vehicle and getting the most miles per gallon is an essential step toward reducing emissions, considering all operating and owner costs for your vehicle gives a more accurate picture of how much you are spending per mile you drive.