Finding The Most Fuel-Efficient Cars For Your Budget

Gas prices are something that you can’t really predict, but we all remember a time when they were much cheaper than they are right now. Sure, there were major dips in prices during the recession in the late 2000s and during the COVID-19 pandemic, but other than that, you can count on gas prices slowly climbing on a yearly basis. Because of that, we’re all looking to save money at the pump, but it might not be that easy.

While there are plenty of people who are now working from home and don’t depend on fueling their cars on a near-daily basis, there are still many that rely on their vehicles to make the daily commute. With that said, there are a few options that can save you money. Electric vehicles can obviously save a ton on gas, but that’s not always an affordable option. Instead, you may want to look for a fuel-efficient car.

Thankfully, there are plenty of fuel-efficient cars available for any budget. We’ll take a look at some of the best options for your price range, let you know how much they cost on average, and how many miles per gallon you can expect. Note: We’ll focus on cars that only run on gas instead of hybrids for now.

Budget Vehicles (Under $20,000)

For the cars that cost under $20,000, the Nissan Versa is going to give you the best bang for your buck. Assuming that you don’t get any of the bells and whistles, you can get a brand-new Versa for under $16,000 while also getting 36 miles per gallon. In terms of the most fuel-efficient vehicle, then you’ll want to look at the Mitsubishi Mirage. The Mirage doesn’t cost much more than the Versa, either, coming with a price tag of $17,450.

There are two other vehicles under $20,000 that can get you at least 35 miles per gallon on average. The Kia Rio has a price tag of $17,875 and gets 36 miles per gallon while the Versa’s sister car, the Nissan Sentra, gets 35 miles per gallon at $18,495. 

Mid-Level Vehicles ($20,000 to $30,000)

The largest list of fuel-efficient cars falls into the mid-level range, with the cheapest of the bunch being the Kia Forte. The Forte is at the very bottom of the range at $20,815 and gets 34 miles per gallon. Just above it in the price department is the Hyundai Elantra ($20,950), which is actually a better vehicle for the price gas-wise since it gets 37 miles per gallon.

Also coming in at under $23,000 are the Volkswagen Jetta ($22,550) and Toyota Corolla ($22,650), which receive 35 miles per gallon each. There’s quite a jump between these cars and those at the top end of the mid-level. The Honda Civic base price is $27,550 and receives 36 miles per gallon while the Mini Hardtop comes in just $100 short of the high-end while averaging 33 miles per gallon.

High-End Vehicles (Over $30,000)

There are only two vehicles that get more than 32 miles per gallon while following in the high-end range. Both of these vehicles clock in at 33 miles per gallon, with the first being the Acura Integra at $32,500. The second is the Audi A3 which has a base price of $35,400. 

While there are some cars in this range that don’t reach at least 33 miles per gallon, there are some that get at least 30. The most fuel-efficient luxury car is the Toyota Crown at $41,050, which can get up to 41 miles per gallon on the highway. Finally, there’s the Lexus ES, which starts at around $43,000 and averages just around 30 miles per gallon, but does extremely well on the highway.

Cheapest Electric Cars

Of course, there is always the option of getting an electric vehicle, and there may be more available in your price range than you thought. The Chevrolet Bolt EV is the cheapest electric vehicle on the market with a starting price of around $27,500. On a full charge, the Bolt can go for around 250 miles. This is a completely electric vehicle, so you don’t have to worry about ever stopping for gas.

The Nissan Leaf is another affordable option with a starting price tag of under $30,000 but has a much shorter range on a full charge between 150 and 215 miles. Other electric vehicles that fall under the $35,000 price tag include the Mini Cooper SE ($31,900 with a 114-mile range) and Hyundai Kona EV ($34,900 with a 258-mile range). 

Whether you go with a fuel-efficient vehicle or an electric vehicle, there really is no wrong option when trying to save money at the gas pump. These vehicles are all top-of-the-line, and the technology will only get better as the years go on thanks to initiatives to make cars more eco-friendly, which will boost miles per gallon tremendously.

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