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The most efficient vehicles of 2024: EVs, plug-in hybrids and gas-powered cars


Fueling our cars is no small expense, but we have do to it often unless we want a very heavy paperweight in our driveway. That can make things interesting — frustrating, burdensome — when the market is in turmoil, or when we have a life change that necessitates greater consumption. Gas prices can fluctuate quickly, as well. And it’s not just internal combustion vehicles that are subject to changing fuel costs. EV operating costs are tied to energy prices, too, of course, which means changes in supply and demand due to global or national economics, or even regional weather events, can mean we’re paying more per mile regardless of what fuels our vehicles. Choosing one of the most efficient vehicles as a daily driver can help your bottom line. And perhaps it’s not about the money.

Even when prices are cheap, many of us would like to minimize our footprint in the course of our daily lives. As such, choosing a fuel-efficient vehicle can be a priority for drivers who want to spend less and pollute less. With that in mind, here are the most efficient vehicles you can buy today, broken down by powertrain, with combined fuel economy and estimated annual fuel costs listed. (EPA calculates annual fuel cost based on “45% highway, 55% city driving, 15,000 annual miles and current fuel prices,” but also offers a calculator to personalize your own estimated yearly fuel costs.)

Top 10 most efficient EVs for 2024

Battery-electric vehicles are the obvious choice for saving on fuel costs and consumption, but not all EVs are created equal. Range is often the bigger consideration for many customers when choosing an EV — we just want to be able to get where we’re going with the least disruption and downtime. If lower operating costs and carbon footprint is your goal, though, you want to pay more attention to efficiency than driving range. The simplest way for a consumer to do this is to look at the EPA’s combined miles-per-gallon-equivalent (mpg-e) rating. We’re also including the EPA’s estimated annual fuel costs. Here are the top 10 most efficient EVs, based on the most efficient version of each model. These are also the least expensive to fuel overall.

1. Hyundai Ioniq 6 (Long Range RWD w/ 18-inch wheels): 140 mpg-e; $550/yr.
2. Lucid Air (Pure RWD w/ 19-inch wheels): 137 mpg-e; $550/yr.
3. Tesla Model 3 (RWD): 132 mpg-e; $550/yr.
4. Telsa Model Y (AWD): 123 mpg-e; $600/yr.
5. (Tie) BMW i4 (eDrive35 w/ 18-inch wheels): 120 mpg-e; $650/yr.
5. (Tie) Tesla Model S: 120 mpg-e; $650/yr.
7. Toyota bZ4X: 119 mpg-e; $650/yr.
8. Kia EV6 (Standard Range RWD): 117 mpg-e; $605/yr.
9. Hyundai Kona Electric (Long Range): 116 mpg-e; $650/yr.
10. Polestar 2 (Single Motor w/ 19-inch wheels): 115 mpg-e; $650/yr.

Top 10 most efficient plug-in hybrids for 2024

If going gas-free isn’t in your plans, a plug-in hybrid is a decent compromise to lower your fuel costs and emissions while still having the convenience and security of being able to fill up quickly and be on your way, while still being able to do some driving on electricity alone. These are the most efficient PHEVs currently on sale, based on combined mpg-e rated by EPA. Estimated annual fuel costs are listed, as well. Note that some of these are even more efficient, by the EPA’s standards, than some all-electric vehicles in the list above.

1. Toyota Prius Prime (SE): 127 mpg-e (52 mpg gas-only); $700/yr.
2. Kia Niro PHEV: 108 mpg-e (48 mpg gas-only); $800/yr.
3. Ford Escape Plug-In Hybrid:
101 mpg-e (40 mpg gas-only); $900/yr.
4. Toyota RAV4 Prime:
94 mpg-e (38 mpg gas-only); $950/yr.
5. Lexus NX 450h+ (AWD):
84 mpg-e (36 mpg gas-only); $1,200/yr.
6. Kia Sportage Plug-In Hybrid:
84 mpg-e (35 mpg gas-only); $1,100/yr.
7. Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid:
82 mpg-e (30 mpg gas-only); $1,200/yr.
8. Hyundai Tucson Plug-In Hybrid:
80 mpg-e (35 mpg gas-only); $1,100/yr.
9. Kia Sorento Plug-In Hybrid:
79 mpg-e (34 mpg gas-only); $1,150/yr.
10. Volvo S60 T8 AWD Recharge:
74 mpg-e (31 mpg gas-only); $1,350/yr.

Top 10 most efficient internal combustion vehicles for 2024

If you’re not ready or able to get a car with a plug, but still want to get the most mileage from your fill-ups, these are the most efficient gasoline-powered vehicles you can buy. The vast majority of these are traditional hybrids, but a few non-hybrid cars made the list. Again, these are based on the EPA’s combined mpg rating, listed by the most efficient specification for each model, and including estimated annual fuel costs.

1. Toyota Prius: 57 mpg; $850/yr.
2. Hyundai Elantra Hybrid (Blue): 54 mpg; $900/yr.
3. Kia Niro (FE): 53 mpg; $950/yr.
4. Toyota Camry Hybrid (LE): 52 mpg; $950/yr.
5. Toyota Corolla Hybrid: 50 mpg; $1,000/yr.
6. Honda Accord Hybrid: 48 mpg; $1,000/yr.
7. Hyundai Sonata Hybrid: 47 mpg; $1,050/yr.
8. Lexus ES 300h: 44 mpg; $1,100/yr.
9. Kia Sportage Hybrid (FWD): 43 mpg; $1,150/yr.
10. (Tie) Toyota Corolla Cross Hybrid: 42 mpg; $1,150/yr.
10. (Tie) Lexus UX 250h: 42 mpg; $1,150/yr.



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