The escalating price of fuel has forced many owners to take a really hard look in the performance of their cars in relation to gas mileage and fuel economy.  One of the first concerns would actually be the car model.  EPA has a method of estimating fuel economy and has made their findings available to the public.  Some car models outshine others in this particular aspect but experts caution on relying purely on such data with total disregard for other factors.

The miles per gallon (MPG) is affected by at least five (5) factors including where and how the car is driven, the over-all condition and maintenance of the vehicle, fuel variations, engine break-in, and vehicle variation.  The last factor has everything to do about individual car manufacturers.  Their respective offerings in the market represent the product of their own research and testing efforts towards the end of having the most economic car in terms of fuel consumption.

The manner of driving has a lot to do with the MPG.  Fuel economy is greatly reduced with quick acceleration and heavy braking, excessive idling, driving at higher speeds, cold weather, frequent short-trips, cargo racks that increase aerodynamic drag, excessive weight of a towed trailer, and running electrical accessories such as the air conditioner.  A hilly or mountainous terrain can reduce fuel economy as well like an unpaved road.  Four-wheel drives typically affect fuel economy since engines have to work harder.

A number of seemingly minor details can affect the fuel economy performance of vehicles such as improperly aligned or inflated tires, poorly tuned engine, brake drag and a dirty air filter. Optimal fuel economy of new vehicles is only attained at three (3) to five (5) thousand miles when the engine has broken in.  The smallest variation in vehicle manufacturing can cause a big difference in MPG thus it is important for car buyers to determine the purpose of the vehicle so that an appropriate model can be used.  EPA estimates would reveal big differences in vehicle ratings depending on whether it will be used for city driving or highway driving.  Most often than not, car owners fail to maximize full potential by making purchase decisions based on what they like instead of what they need.  Gas mileage comparisons are regularly published by EPA as well as car manufacturers themselves.

There is a critical need for consumers to prefer cars that offer the most fuel economy since oil is a commodity that can possibly run-out, being a non-renewable resource.  Vehicles boasting of highly improved gas mileage are typically supported by alternative fuels and technologies.  This means a conscious effort for decreasing oil dependency toward supporting a more sustainable fuel resource.  Improved fuel economy equates to big savings particularly over a period of time.

Environmental concerns have also a lot to do with the preference for cars with better fuel economy.  It is one way of reducing carbon dioxide emissions to make sure that future generations will not be compromised by using energy that is cleaner and more efficient.  This is one of the reasons as well why electric vehicles, hybrids and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles are the subject of interest, research and development efforts.

Fuel consumption ratings as determined by EPA can usually be found attached to car displays on show rooms.  Buyers should know that these ratings are only estimates and in no way exact in spite of highly improved methods of deriving such estimates.  The estimates however provide important information is for typical car use.

Below is a table of more than 100 – 2011 model year vehicles and their estimated overall gas mileage according to Consumer Reports.

Make & Model Overall MPG Category
Toyota Prius IV 44 Hatchback
Smart ForTwo Passion 39 SubCompact
Honda Insight EX 38 Compact
Volkswagen Golf TDI (MT) 38 Hatchback
Honda Civic Hybrid 37 Compact
Volkswagen Jetta SportWagen TDI (MT) 36 Hatchback
Honda CR-Z EX 35 Sports Car
Scion xD (MT) 34 SubCompact
Toyota Camry Hybrid 34 Sedan
Ford Fusion Hybrid 34 Sedan
Mazda2 Sport (MT) 33 SubCompact
Ford Fiesta SE sedan 33 SubCompact
Honda Fit Sport (MT) 33 SubCompact
Mini Cooper (base) 33 Sports Car
Ford Fiesta SES hatchback (manual) 32 SubCompact
Toyota Yaris Sedan 32 SubCompact
Toyota Corolla LE 32 Compact
Toyota Corolla (base, MT) 32 Compact
Nissan Altima Hybrid 32 Sedan
Honda Civic EX (MT) 31 Compact
Lexus HS 250h Hybrid Premium 31 Sedan
Hyundai Accent GS (MT) 30 SubCompact
Kia Rio5 SX (MT) 30 SubCompact
Toyota Yaris Hatchback 30 SubCompact
Honda Fit base 30 SubCompact
Mazda2 Touring 30 SubCompact
Mazda3 i Touring sedan (MT) 30 Compact
Nissan Sentra SE-R Spec V 30 Sports Car
Mini Cooper S hatchback 30 Sports Car
Mini Cooper S convertible 30 Sports Car
Hyundai Elantra GLS 29 Compact
Lotus Elise 29 Sports Car
Mini Cooper Clubman 29 Hatchback
Toyota Matrix 1.8L 29 Hatchback
Honda Civic EX 28 Compact
Mazda3 i Touring sedan 28 Compact
Kia Forte EX 28 Compact
Scion tC 28 Sports Car
Mazda MX-5 Miata Grand Touring 28 Sports Car
BMW 335d 28 Sedan
Nissan Cube 1.8 S 28 Hatchback
Kia Forte Koup SX 27 Sports Car
Volkswagen GTI 27 Sports Car
Honda Civic Si 27 Sports Car
Hyundai Sonata GLS 27 Sedan
Toyota Matrix S (2.4) 27 Hatchback
Toyota Highlander Hybrid Limited 27 SUV
Mazdaspeed3 Sport 26 Sports Car
Nissan Altima 2.5 S (4-cyl.) 26 Sedan
Toyota Camry LE (4-cyl.) 26 Sedan
Hyundai Elantra Touring 26 Hatchback
Ford Escape Hybrid 26 Small SUV
Lexus RX 450h 26 SUV
Volvo C30 T5 1.0 25 Sports Car
Hyundai Sonata Limited (turbo) 25 Sedan
Subaru Legacy 2.5i Premium (4-cyl.) 25 Sedan
Acura TSX 25 Sedan
Audi A4 Premium 25 Sedan
Suzuki Kizashi SE 25 Sedan
Honda Accord LX-P (4-cyl.) 25 Sedan
Chevrolet Malibu LT (4-cyl.) 25 Sedan
Kia Soul Plus 25 Hatchback
Audi A3 2.0T (4-cyl.) 25 Hatchback
Mazda3 s Sport 25 Hatchback
Nissan Juke SV 24 Small SUV
Subaru Forester 2.5X (MT) 24 Small SUV
Mitsubishi Outlander Sport SE 23 Small SUV
Toyota RAV4 (base, 4-cyl.) 23 Small SUV
Nissan Rogue SL 22 Small SUV
Mitsubishi Outlander LS (4-cyl.) 22 Small SUV
Kia Sportage LX (4-cyl.) 22 Small SUV
Jeep Compass Sport 22 Small SUV
Hyundai Tucson GLS 22 Small SUV
Subaru Forester 2.5X Premium 22 Small SUV
Jeep Patriot Sport 22 Small SUV
Toyota RAV4 Limited (V6) 22 Small SUV
BMW X5 xDrive35d 22 SUV
Honda CR-V EX 21 Small SUV
Ford Escape XLT (4-cyl.) 21 Small SUV
Honda Element EX 21 Small SUV
Chevrolet Equinox 1LT (4-cyl.) 21 SUV
Lexus RX 350 21 SUV
Hyundai Santa Fe GLS (4-cyl.) 20 SUV
Hyundai Santa Fe Limited (V6) 20 SUV
Kia Sorento LX (4-cyl) 20 SUV
Kia Sorento EX (V6) 20 SUV
Toyota Sienna XLE (FWD) 20 Minivan
Toyota Sienna LE (4-cyl.) 20 Minivan
Chevrolet Tahoe Hybrid 19 SUV
Porsche Cayenne (base) 19 SUV
Mercedes-Benz GL320 BLUETEC 19 SUV
Nissan Murano SL 19 SUV
Honda Odyssey EX-L 19 Minivan
Toyota Sienna XLE (AWD) 19 Minivan
Toyota Highlander Limited 18 SUV
Infiniti FX35 18 SUV
Ford Edge SEL 18 SUV
Honda Pilot EX-L 18 SUV
Lincoln MKT 3.5 18 SUV
Chevrolet Equinox 2LT (V6) 18 SUV
Jeep Grand Cherokee Laredo (V6) 18 SUV
Acura MDX 18 SUV
Lincoln MKX 18 SUV
Toyota 4Runner SR5 (V6) 18 SUV
Toyota Tacoma (base, V6) 17 Truck
Chevrolet Colorado LS (5-cyl.) 16 Truck

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