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Find Out About the Types of Energy-Efficient Cars

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Our free guide will help you understand the steps you have to take and the process for renewing your registration.

Find Out About the Types of Energy-Efficient Cars

Updated on 03/29/2023

Some of the best gas saving cars on the market today include mild and full hybrids, plug-in hybrids and all-electric vehicles. While these energy efficient cars can save you money on gasoline, they also help to reduce environmental pollutants that contribute to global warming and climate change.

Information You Can Find in Our Guide:

Our free guide will help you understand the steps you have to take and the process for renewing your registration.

According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), one standard passenger vehicle that drives around 11,500 miles annually while getting 22 miles per gallon (MPG) releases approximately 4.6 metric tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) into the air each year.

While a vehicle’s exact amount of greenhouse gas emissions varies depending on the total number of miles you drive each year and the vehicle’s fuel type and economy, switching to an electric or hybrid automobile can help to better the environment, improve public health and save you money on the cost of fuel.

If you switched from a vehicle that gets 20 MPG to 25 MPG, for instance, you could save as much as $500 per year. To learn more about fuel-efficient vehicles, review the sections below.

Electric Vehicles Offer Excellent Fuel Economy

Some of the most fuel efficient non hybrid cars are known as all-electric vehicles (EVs), as these automobiles run solely on electricity. Featuring one or more rechargeable electric motors, these environmentally friendly vehicles are more energy efficient than gasoline-powered vehicles.

Additionally, electric models perform better than conventional cars and trucks that are equipped with internal combustion engines (ICEs).

If pickup fuel economy is important to you, four electric pickup trucks came out in 2023, including the Ford F-150 Lightning, GMC Hummer EV, Rivian R1T and R1S. Several popular automobile manufacturers, such as Chevrolet and Tesla, plan to release their first electric pickup trucks in 2024.

The Best Affordable Fuel Efficient Cars

While vehicles with greater fuel efficiency cost more to purchase, the operating expenses of these environmentally friendly models are usually much lower than they are for regular cars.

For instance, an affordable electric model may cost around $37,000 to purchase while luxury electric cars can cost as much as $46,000 or more. However, you could save as much as $5,000 in energy expenses within the first six years of ownership. You may also qualify for as much as $7,500 in federal tax credits regardless of whether you purchase an affordable model or one with the best luxury car features.

Unfortunately, not all drivers can afford to purchase an electric model when upgrading their motor vehicles. If you cannot afford to purchase fuel efficient luxury cars or all-electric vehicles, hybrids may be a better option for you.

Depending on the manufacturer, hybrids can cost between $20,000 and $100,000 and are typically about 10 to 20 percent more than a comparable gasoline-powered automobiles. However, keep in mind that you can still negotiate the price of your hybrid to ensure you are getting the most bang for your buck.

If you are looking to spend even less on the purchase of a new motor vehicle, other options are available to you. For instance, other gas saving cars and trucks include flexible fuel vehicles (FFVs).

These alternative fuel vehicles are more affordable than electric or hybrid models, as they can run on up to 85 percent ethanol and 15 percent gasoline. These models are sometimes referred to as flex-fuel or dual-fuel vehicles, but they are nearly identical to gasoline-powered vehicles in many ways.

Choosing the Best Hybrid Cars for Your Needs

If you purchase a hybrid SUV, car or minivan rather than an all-electric vehicle, you may choose from plug-in models, mild hybrids or full hybrids. Two types of plug in hybrid cars include the blended plug-in and series plug-in models.

Series plug-ins are also known as Extended Range Electric Vehicles (or E-REVs). You do not need to plug mild or full electronic hybrid cars into a power source, but plug-in models need to be connected to an electric power source in order to charge.

Other differences between these types of hybrids are as follows:

  • Mild and full hybrids are gasoline-powered vehicles. While these models cannot be charged by electricity, they are more efficient than standard vehicles that are powered by gasoline.
  • Plug-in models are fueled by electricity and gasoline. You may plug these hybrid cars into a power source, or you may fuel them with gasoline.
  • E-REV hybrids can be fueled solely by electricity. Once the battery runs out, the hybrid minivan, car or SUV runs on gasoline.
  • Blended hybrids run on electricity and gasoline. These vehicles will switch to an electric-only operation when travelling at lower speeds.

Since most fuel efficient hybrid cars are more affordable than all-electric cars and trucks, these environmentally friendly models are an excellent option if you wish to improve your gas mileage but cannot afford to purchase a more expensive vehicle that runs solely on electricity.

When purchasing a hybrid vehicle, be sure to look into basic or extended warranty coverage, since the repair costs for hybrid cars can sometimes be higher than the cost of maintenance and repairs for regular cars. If you are purchasing from a dealer, you can often negotiate these optional dealer extras into your overall purchase.

Good Diesel Cars, Trucks and SUVs

If you need a larger, heavier vehicle that allows you to tow a trailer or other bulky items, you may wish to purchase a clean diesel car, truck or SUV. Diesel sedans, trucks and SUVs that run on traditional diesel fuel are some of the best cars on gas, but they are not ideal for the environment.

In comparison, clean diesel vehicles emit fewer pollutants without compromising gas mileage. While clean diesel vehicles are just as powerful as those that run on traditional diesel fuel, they are also quieter and run more smoothly.

Other benefits of purchasing a clean diesel SUV, truck or sedan include the following:

  • Vehicles that run on clean diesel fuel release fewer greenhouse gases into the air than gasoline-powered vehicles.
  • Cars and trucks that are powered by clean diesel are 20 to 40 percent more fuel-efficient than gasoline-powered vehicles.

To find and compare diesel trucks, cars and sedans, you may use the EPA’s interactive Find a Car Tool. This online tool provides you with a side-by-side comparison of some of the most popular diesel models on the market, as well as the costs associated with operating them. You can also compare annual fuel expenses, greenhouse gas emissions and the environmental impact of operating different types of diesel vehicles.

Compact Cars With Great Gas Mileage

While luxury hybrid cars, all-electric automobiles and flexible fuel vehicles are excellent options if you are looking to earn better gas mileage at an affordable price, some gasoline-powered compact car models offer great gas mileage as well.

For instance, the 2023 Mazda MX-5 is the most fuel-efficient two-seater with a combined rate (city and highway) of 31 MPG. The 2023 MINI Cooper Convertible is a fuel-efficient subcompact with a highway rate of 38 MPG. The most fuel-efficient small pickup truck is the diesel-fueled 2023 Chevrolet Silverado 2WD with 24 MPG in the city and 29 MPG on the highway. Or the 2023 hybrid Ford Maverick HEV FWD small pickup truck has 40 MPG in the city and 33 MPG on the highway.

To find the best fuel economy SUV or compact car for you, you may choose to use the EPA’s online Find a Car Tool.

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