EarthTalk: Most Fuel Efficient Cars Today



Dear EarthTalk,

Which are the most fuel-efficient hybrid and/or all-electric cars available to consumers today (just the affordable ones, please!) — Jack Madison, Chicago, IL

The electric Mitsubishi Miev is the most fuel efficient car available to US consumers, achieving 112 MPG equivalent (swapping electricity for gas in calculations).

Given increased environmental awareness, high gas prices and a continually slumping economy, it's no wonder that more fuel efficient cars are all the rage these days. The best deal going may be Honda's hybrid, the 42 miles-per-gallon (MPG) Insight ($18,350). Meanwhile, the newest version of Toyota's flagship hybrid, the Prius ($23,015), garners an impressive 50 MPG. Other solid choices include Toyota's 41-MPG Camry hybrid ($25,900), Ford's 39-MPG Fusion hybrid ($28,700), Lexus' 42-MPG CT 200h ($29,120) and Lincoln's 39-MPG MKZ Hybrid ($34,755).

For even greater efficiency and lower sticker prices, consider going electric, whereby you can charge your vehicle at ordinary electric outlets at home or work. Mitsubishi's new MiEV ($29,125) electric is the most fuel efficient car available to U.S. consumers in the 2012 model year, achieving 112 “MPG-equivalent” (the U.S. Environment Protection Agency's rating for electric vehicles that swaps in electricity for gas in its calculations) and a 62 mile range per full charge — not bad considering four adults can fit fairly comfortably inside. Another option is Smart's FourTwo Electric ($28,752), a two-seater with an 87 MPG-equivalent. And Nissan's all-electric Leaf ($35,200) achieves 99 MPG efficiency for a range up to 100 miles.

So-called “plug-in” hybrids also allow drivers to charge their vehicles' electric batteries via common power outlets, but also can use gasoline as needed for a longer range. Though pricey at $39,145, the Chevy Volt may save you money in the long run because it gets a whopping 94 MPG-equivalent in its preferred all-electric mode. An onboard gas generator produces more electricity as the vehicle is driven, extending the car's range with a full tank of gas to some 375 miles. Toyota released a plug-in version of its Prius ($32,760) this year, as well. It gets 87 MPG in electric mode (but this will only get you 15 miles without gas assistance) and a respectable 49 MPG in regular hybrid mode.

Another factor to consider when deciding which of these new uber-efficient vehicles may be right for you is the availability of additional incentives. Buyers of a new Volt, MiEV, FourTwo Electric or Leaf, for example, can cash in on a federal tax credit of $7,500 — and some states may offer additional incentives — bringing the overall cost of these cars down to within the range of similarly sized traditional car models. The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) posts all of the relevant federal tax incentives online at its Fuel Efficient Vehicle Tax Information Center website. For state-by-state incentives, check out the Database of State Incentives for Renewable Energy (DSIRE), a free online resources maintained by the North Carolina Solar Center and the Interstate Renewable Energy Council (IREC).

Of course, consumers don't have to go hybrid or electric to enjoy improved fuel efficiency these days. Scion's iQ ($15,265) and Honda's CR-Z ($19,545) each get 37 MPG out of sporty little gas-powered internal combustion engines. Kia, Toyota, Chevrolet, Hyundai and Nissan also make smaller traditional cars that get a respectable 33-34 MPG for sticker prices under $15,000.

CONTACTS: DOE's Fuel Efficient Vehicle Tax Information Center, www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/taxcenter.shtml; DSIRE, www.dsireusa.org; Edmunds' “Decoding Electric Car MPG,” www.edmunds.com/fuel-economy/decoding-electric-car-mpg.html.

EarthTalk® is written and edited by Roddy Scheer and Doug Moss and is a registered trademark of E-The Environmental Magazine ( www.emagazine.com). Send questions to: earthtalk@emagazine.com. Subscribe: www.emagazine.com/subscribe. Free Trial Issue: www.emagazine.com/trial.

We invite you to comment on our articles and the issues they raise. Comments are moderated for offensive language, commercial messages and off-topic posts. Some comments may be chosen for inclusion in the magazine on the Feedback page, if name and city are included.

Add your comment:

Daily Astrology

September 30, 2014

The Sagittarius Moon is sailing void of course all day, and the usual rules apply. One may excel at creative projects and...

Alternative Health Directory

Browse all listings »

Calendar

September 2014

Saturday 10-4; Sunday 10-3. Meet and talk with over 50 vendors.

Where:
Holiday Inn
Boxborough, MA


Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Deepen connections, take challenges together, play and laugh, and explore creativity! Through yoga and the creative arts, moms and daughters will get to know each other from a playful...

Cost: $350 (for both mom and daughter; $280 if paid in full)

Where:


Website »

More information

For kids ages 7-11, this group is designed to help kids chill out, relax, play and have fun through Kundalini Yoga, creative arts, and relaxation. Starting Monday 9/8 for a 7-week group....

Cost: $140

Where:


Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

9/30, 10/2, 10/3 Yoga teacher training your next step? Traditional group training isn't for you, consider private coaching. YA RYS. Your schedule, your needs, your individuality, your...

Where:


Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Show More...
Show Less...

Broga® 1 is a yoga class geared for men, but open to men and women alike.  When coming to a Broga® class, its okay if you can’t touch your toes! Broga® is more than...

Cost: 15.00

Where:
Windsoul Studio
440 Middlesex Road
Tyngsboro, MA  01879
View map »


Telephone: 855-Yoga-Fun
Website »

More information

Classes in Channeling and Spiritual Evolution with Vywamus, a teacher of higher consciousness, channeled by Andrea Seiver. Have a personal reading, join Learn to Channel, other classes,...

Where:


Telephone: (617) 332-1541
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Weaving together exquisite renditions of sacred chant, song and poetry from the world's traditions with passionate soaring vocals and the luminous sound of crystal singing bowls,...

Where:
Unitarian Church
Andover, MA


Telephone: (978) 474-8010
Website »

More information

An Evoking Alchemy program supporting the cancer community (those in treatment, post treatment, caregivers, family, friends) through transformative story and Calming...

Where:


Telephone: (978) 820-1139
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Interested in participating as an exhibitor, vendor@holististicspiritualexpo.com

Cost: $7; children under 12 free

Where:
Saratoga Springs City Center
522 Broadway
Saratoga Springs, NY
View map »


Website »

More information

A power packed experience of Spiritual clearing, Alignment , Master Heart and Minding, Magic! All Inclusive, including ferry transportation to and from Thompson Island Limited to 10 powerful,...

Cost: $497.00

Where:
Thompson Island Retreat Center
Boston Harbor
Boston, MA  02171
View map »


Sponsor: Life Visionary Life Coaching
Telephone: 978-580-9591
Contact Name: Lauren L'Amour
Website »

More information

Introductory afternoon with presentation, dialogue, prayer time, and resources for further exploration. Additional information from Allen Bourque: allen.bourque@gmail.com

Where:
The Arlington Center
369 Massachusetts Avenue
Arlington, MA
View map »


Website »

More information

Reiki I Repeated 11/1-2. Reiki I Refresher, 11/16. Reiki II, 12/13-14. Reiki III Shamanic Master Practitioner, 1/24-25. Now accepting registrations for 2015 Advanced Herbal...

Where:
Misty Meadows Herbal Center
Lee, NH


Telephone: (603) 659-7211
Website »

More information

An Evoking Alchemy program supporting the cancer community (those in treatment, post treatment, caregivers, family, friends) through transformative story and Calming...

Where:


Telephone: (978) 820-1139
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...