One thing that is constantly on the minds of savvy consumers is fuel-efficiency. Especially for motorists on a tight budget, it's important to ensure that their vehicles receive the most mileage possible for the gas. In fact, a recent study by AutoTrader.com revealed that this factor is the second most important consideration after price for millennial car shoppers. Certain measures can also help maximize fuel-efficiency, such as keeping up with general vehicle maintenance and getting a tune up when necessary. However, there are some automobile models that simply demand fewer trips to the gas station.
"There are more options out there for shoppers interested in fuel efficiency than ever before, and the technology just keeps getting better," said AutoTrader.com site editor Brian Moody. "It used to be that people who wanted a fuel efficient vehicle might have to compromise on style and performance, and that's definitely not the case today. The cars we've recognized fall into that sweet spot of 'having it all' - and many are at a price that's within reach for car shoppers who are just starting out."
Unsurprisingly, it seems that pure electric cars steal the show when it comes to efficiency, with plug-in hybrids following closely behind and conventional hybrids clamoring to keep up. Traditional gasmobiles, meanwhile, can hardly compete.
Here are some top picks for 2014.
The EPA recently updated its list of the most fuel-efficient cars in the U.S., and topping it was the 2014 Chevy Spark EV. It shouldn't come as a shock, as the vehicle offers an average MPG of 119. Kiplinger noted that Chevy's electric subcompact is also super affordable, as charging it only costs about $500 annually and as an added bonus, it qualifies for a whopping $7,500 federal tax credit. Add in 10 airbags, MyLink technology that syncs up to Pandora, and compatibility with the iPhone and Siri and it makes sense that the Spark EV has become increasingly attractive. Not only that, but the source reported that it landed on the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety's Top Safety Pick list.
Second on the EPA's list of fuel-efficient cars is another subcompact, the 2014 Honda Fit EV, which boasts 118 MPG. Like the Spark EV, Kiplinger reported that it costs about $500 a year to charge this vehicle. Unfortunately, the source explained that the Honda Fit can only be leased from a small selection of states, including New York, California, New Jersey and Connecticut. However, on the bright side, the price tag has dipped down to just $259 a month.
The Tesla Model S may not be as wallet-friendly as other options with a starting price of $71,070, but it did make both the EPA and Kiplinger's lists for several reasons. Not only does it offer a combined MPG of 89, but buyers can also benefit from a $7,500 tax credit. The luxury car costs about $700 a year to charge, according to Kiplinger.
Edmunds named the Honda Accord Hybrid a top option in terms of fuel-efficiency with a combined 47 MPG. Not only was the plug-in vehicle also on Kiplinger's list, but HybridCars.com also selected it as well. Kiplinger noted that the navigation system, heated seats and dual-zone climate control make for a comfortable ride, while innovative safety features like a forward collision and lane departure warning system give drivers peace of mind. Plus, HybridCars.com pointed out that the average price is $29,945, making it a good option for those with limited funds.
The 2014 Ford Fusion Hybrid also deserves some praise for fuel-efficiency. HybridCars.com reported that despite the low sticker price of $27,995, this car gets 47 MPG. Additionally, this car features some high-tech advantages, like inflatable rear seatbelts, a state-of-the-art infotainment system and a lithium-ion battery.
Last but certainly not least, the 2014 Toyota Prius made multiple sources' lists for fuel-efficiency. This hybrid electric hatchback manages to provide a combined 50 MPG, all for an average price of $19,890 and fuel costs of about $1,000 annually.