How to Choose a Fuel-Efficient Car

Gas prices have you rethinking your vehicle choice? Here are some tips for choosing a fuel-efficient car.
Written by Alex Reale
Reviewed by Kathleen Flear
Updated on Apr 12, 2022
It is a tough time to own a gas guzzler.
Pump prices have reached unprecedented heights
, and many consumers are looking for
cheaper ways
to get around. But if you can’t just hop on a bike, rest assured that you can still save money as a driver. 
Here are some tips for
choosing a fuel-efficient car

Trade it like it’s hot

Consumer Reports (CR)
recommends a few different versions of the trade-in. If you’re driving something that’s straightforwardly gas-powered, and you can afford an upgrade, consider trading in the 2017 version of your car for the 2022 version. 
Fuel efficiency is improving year over year across the board, and CR cites the trade up from a 2017 Honda Odyssey to a 2022 Honda Odyssey as proof: going from 21 miles to the gallon to 22 saves about $108 a year.
A more dramatic option, if it doesn’t cramp your style, is to trade in your bigger car for a smaller car. CR notes that downsizing reduces all the factors that contribute to less impressive miles per gallon figures.
A smaller car means less drag, better aerodynamism, and more efficiency of movement. CR notes that a switch from the full-size 2017 Chevrolet Traverse, which gets 16 mpg, to the compact Toyota RAV4, which gets 27 mpg, nets about $1,272 a year in savings. 

Go electric

If changing the year or the size of your vehicle doesn’t quite do it for you, then your next step is try on the electric life for size.
If you’re still holding on to the Chevy Traverse from our last example, CR asks you to consider trading it for the RAV4 Hybrid, which will rocket you all the way to saving $1,772 a year. Now we’re starting to really stick it to the gas pumps.
And if you’re really committed, you can skip the combination lifestyle and go straight to a full electric vehicle. CR points out that this will be the best choice for drivers whose typical daily driving distance won’t exceed a range of about 200 miles, and who have an easily accessed charging station. If you fit these criteria, you’ll be able to plug in your Chevy Bolt or Hyundai Ioniq 5 and save between 50 and 75% on driving, says CR.
It’s a pretty clear-cut saving plan: get a car that doesn’t need as much gas. 

Some other resources

Not all of us will be able to jump straight to electric, but now that automakers are making EV a major priority, pickup owners can rest assured that they won’t be left behind in the quest for better fuel-efficiency. And if you’re looking for something specific in your new vehicle,
Your Mechanic
notes that resources like the U.S. Department of Energy’s
fuel economy site
can help you refine your search. Let’s all spend less on gas.
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