Top 15 Most Fuel-Efficient Cars of 2022

If you own a car, you don’t need to be told that gas prices are high right now. You can practically feel it in your wallet every time you fill up at the pump. 

There are many ways to deal with higher gas prices, but one of the most effective is to trade in your old gas guzzler for a new car with better fuel economy. And with the auto industry moving steadily toward a low-emissions future, you have lots of fuel-efficient options to choose from.

There’s lots of buzz these days about all-electric vehicles, which run entirely on batteries. But there are also plenty of highly efficient hybrids, which have both batteries and a gasoline engine, and plug-in hybrids, which can run on battery power alone for longer periods. Even traditional gas-powered cars offer a wide range of efficient choices to help drivers trim their fuel bills.

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Most Fuel-Efficient Cars: Plug-In Electric

The most fuel-efficient cars on the road are electric vehicles — both electric-only and plug-in hybrid vehicles. Their batteries can squeeze far more miles out of the same amount of energy than a gas-powered engine. You can find public charging stations using the PlugShare app, though be aware that some manufacturers — notably Tesla — have their own charging infrastructure.

Plug-in electric vehicles also cost far less to operate, especially when gas prices are high. And many models qualify for a federal tax credit of up to $7,500. This credit was updated and expanded by the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022, meaning more buyers could qualify in 2023 and beyond.

1. Toyota Prius Prime

  • MSRP (2022): From $28,770
  • Combined Mileage: 133 MPGe gas plus electricity; 54 mpg gas
  • Fuel Consumption Rate: 25 kWh or 1.9 gallons gas per 100 miles
  • Annual Fuel Cost: $800 (gas plus electricity)
  • Greenhouse Gas Rating: 10/10

The most fuel-efficient car in the U.S. is the Toyota Prius Prime, a plug-in hybrid sedan. It can travel up to 25 miles in electric-only mode and another 615 on a full tank of gas. It seats five and has 36.6 cubic feet of cargo space with the rear seats folded down.

You can recharge your Prius Prime in about two hours at any of Toyota’s 26,000 public charging stations. Or wait until you arrive at home to plug Prius Prime into a standard three-prong wall outlet and get fully charged in five and a half hours.

2. Tesla Model 3

  • MSRP (2022): $46,990 (RWD) to $62,990 (Performance)
  • Combined Mileage: 113 MPGe (Performance) to 132 MPGe (RWD)
  • Fuel Consumption Rate: 25 kWh per 100 miles (RWD) to 30 (Performance)
  • Annual Fuel Cost: $500 (RWD or Long-Range AWD) to $600 (Performance)
  • Greenhouse Gas Rating: 10/10 (all variants)

The Tesla Model 3 is an entry-level luxury sedan that comes in three versions. The RWD has rear-wheel drive, while the Long-Range AWD and the top-tier Performance model have dual-motor all-wheel drive. All three can seat five adults and hold 23 cubic feet of cargo.

The main differences among the three are in acceleration and driving range. The RWD can go from 0 to 60 in 5.8 seconds and goes 272 miles on a battery charge. The Long-Range AWD tops that with 4.2 seconds and a driving range of 358 miles. The top-tier Performance model has a slightly shorter range of 315 miles, but it goes from 0 to 60 in a blazing-fast 3.1 seconds.

There are several ways to recharge your Tesla on the road. One of Tesla’s 35,000 Supercharger stations around the world can give you up to 200 miles of range in 15 minutes. There are also over 35,000 Destination Charging stations at sites like hotels and restaurants that provide about 44 miles in an hour. And with a special adapter, you can plug in at third-party charging stations. 

3. Lucid Air Grand Touring

  • MSRP (2022): From $154,000
  • Combined Mileage: 121 MPGe (21” wheels) to 131 MPGe (19”)
  • Fuel Consumption Rate: 26 kWh per 100 miles (19”) to 28 (21”)
  • Annual Fuel Cost: $500 (19”) to $550 (21”)
  • Greenhouse Gas Rating: 10/10 (all variants)

The Lucid Air Dream Grand Touring is an electric luxury sedan that seats five. Its regular edition has a maximum of 819 horsepower (hp) and can go up from 0 to 60 mph in 3 seconds. But its real selling point is its driving range — up to 516 miles on a charge. It comes with standard 21-inch wheels, but the optional 19-wheel wheel gets better mileage.

The Grand Touring also comes in a Performance variant that trades off some range for extra power. It has 1,050 max hp and a 443-mile range. The EPA has not rated the mileage of the Performance version, but Car and Driver measured it at 82 MPGe.

All Lucid Air models use the Combined Charging System, the standard for North America. This allows you to recharge at any public charging station. According to Lucid, you can regain up to 300 miles of range in as little as 20 minutes. 

4. Lucid Air Dream Edition

  • MSRP (2022): From $169,000
  • Combined Mileage: 111 MPGe (Performance, 21” wheels) to 125 MPGe (Range, 19”)
  • Fuel Consumption Rate: 27 kWh per 100 miles (Range, 19”) to 30 (Performance, 21”)
  • Annual Fuel Cost: $500 (Range, 19”) to $600 (Performance, 21”)
  • Greenhouse Gas Rating: 10/10 (all variants)

Like the Air Grand Touring, the Lucid Air Dream Edition is an electric luxury sedan with two variants. The Performance variant delivers up to 1,111 hp with up to 471 miles of driving range. The Range variant has 933 max hp and up to 520 miles of range.

Both versions come with a choice of wheel sizes: the 21-inch Aero Dream or the 19-inch Aero Range. The Range variant with the 19-inch wheel has the best fuel economy. Charging options are the same as for the Grand Touring model.

5. Tesla Model Y

  • MSRP (2022): $67,990 (Long Range) to $69,990 (Performance)
  • Combined Mileage: 111 MPGe (Performance) to 122 (Long Range)
  • Fuel Consumption Rate: 27.6 kWh per 100 miles (Long Range) to 30.5 (Performance)
  • Annual Fuel Cost: $550 (Long Range) to 600 (Performance)
  • Greenhouse Gas Rating: 10/10 (all variants)

The Tesla Model Y is roomier than the Model 3, with seating for five and up to 76 cubic feet of cargo space. It comes in two variants. The most popular is the Long Range AWD, which goes from 0 to 60 in 4.8 seconds and gets 330 miles on a charge.

The pricier Performance variant is zippier, going from 0 to 60 in just 3.5 seconds. However, it gets only 303 miles on a charge and its fuel economy is less impressive. Both variants can recharge in all the same ways as the Tesla Model 3.

6. Chevrolet Bolt

  • MSRP (2022): From $26,595
  • Combined Mileage: 120 MPGe
  • Fuel Consumption Rate: 28 kWh per 100 miles
  • Annual Fuel Cost: $550
  • Greenhouse Gas Rating: 10/10

The Chevrolet Bolt EV is a reasonably priced all-electric hatchback that travels nearly 260 miles on a single charge. It’s also remarkably peppy, with a 200-hp motor that goes from 0 to 60 in under seven seconds. It seats five and holds 16.6 cubic feet of cargo. 

The Bolt can recharge at any of 40,000 public charging stations nationwide. With a DC Fast charging station, you can regain up to 100 miles of range in 30 minutes. Use the MyChevrolet App to track how far you can go before charging and the locations of nearby stations.

Most Fuel-Efficient Cars: Hybrid Electric

Hybrid cars combine a gasoline engine with an electric motor and an oversized battery. The combination of gas and electric power is more efficient, allowing these cars to go farther on a gallon of fuel than a gas-only model.

7. Toyota Prius 

  • MSRP (2022): From $25,075
  • Combined Mileage: 49 mpg (LE or XLE AWD-e) to 56 mpg (L Eco)
  • Fuel Consumption Rate: 1 gallon per 100 miles (L Eco) to 2 gallons (LE or XLE AWD-e)
  • Annual Fuel Cost: $1,100 (L-Eco) to $1,300 (LE or XLE AWD-e)
  • Greenhouse Gas Rating: 9/10 (all variants)

One of the original gas-electric hybrids, the Toyota Prius hatchback remains one of the most popular hybrids on the road today. With an overall fuel economy as high as 56 mpg, it’s also the most efficient in the field — a title previously held by the Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid Blue.

The Prius comes in eight trim sets, from the extra-efficient L Eco to the luxurious Limited. All versions can seat five passengers and hold around 25 cubic feet of cargo with all seats in place. 

8. Hyundai Elantra Hybrid

  • MSRP (2022): From $24,100
  • Combined Mileage: 50 (Limited) to 54 (Blue)
  • Fuel Consumption Rate: 1.9 gallons per hundred miles (Blue) to 2 (Limited)
  • Annual Fuel Cost: $1,150 (Blue) to $1,250 (Limited)
  • Greenhouse Gas Rating: 9/10 (all variants)

The Hyundai Elantra Hybrid is a small yet roomy hybrid sedan, comparable in size to the Honda Civic and Toyota Corolla. Its 147-horsepower engine isn’t terribly powerful, but its efficiency rivals the popular Toyota Prius. 

The Elantra Hybrid comes in two trim variants. The Blue version is more efficient, while the Limited adds luxury features like leather trimmed seats and touchscreen controls.

9. Honda Insight

  • MSRP (2022): From $25,760
  • Combined Mileage: 48 mpg (Touring) to 52 mpg (EX)
  • Fuel Consumption Rate: 1.9 gallons per hundred miles (EX) to 2.1 (Touring)
  • Annual Fuel Cost: $1,200 (Touring) to $1,300 (EX)
  • Greenhouse Gas Rating: 9/10 (all variants)

The Honda Insight has been around nearly as long as the Prius— even longer, in the USA — and has gone through almost as many iterations. The latest version is a compact hybrid sedan, effectively a hybrid model of the popular Honda Civic. In fact, Honda announced plans to replace the Insight with a new Civic Hybrid in 2023.

For Honda hybrid aficionados, Insight still delivers. Its combined city-highway gas mileage is around 50 mpg, and a surprisingly strong powertrain puts out 151 total horsepower. It comes in two variants: the more efficient EX and the more luxurious Touring version.

10. Toyota Corolla Hybrid 

  • MSRP (2022): From $24,050
  • Combined Mileage: 52 mpg
  • Fuel Consumption Rate: 1.9 gallons per hundred miles 
  • Annual Fuel Cost: $1,200
  • Greenhouse Gas Rating: 9/10

The Toyota Corolla Hybrid is a hybrid version of Toyota’s already efficient Corolla, one of the most popular compact cars in the U.S. It combines seating for five and decent cargo capacity with fuel economy and low emissions in the same league as the Prius. Safety features are good, but acceleration is a trifle sluggish.

Most Fuel-Efficient Cars: Gasoline-Powered

Although sales of electric and hybrid models are growing fast, the vast majority of all cars sold in the U.S. still run on gasoline only. Although they’re less efficient, they cost much less up front, which often means a lower total cost to own.

11. Mitsubishi Mirage 

  • MSRP (2022): From $14,645
  • Gas Mileage: 36 mpg (manual) to 39 mpg (automatic)
  • Fuel Consumption Rate: 2.6 gallons per hundred miles (automatic) to 2.8 (manual)
  • Annual Fuel Cost: $1,600 (automatic) to $1,750 (manual)
  • Greenhouse Gas Rating: 7/10 (manual) to 8/10 (automatic)

The Mitsubishi Mirage is an affordable hatchback with front-wheel drive and seating for five. Its 3-cylinder, 76-horsepower engine is rather noisy and underpowered, and the interior finish screams “econobox.” But for fuel economy, at least in the gas-only category, it can’t be beat.

12. Hyundai Elantra 

  • MSRP (2022): From $20,500
  • Gas Mileage: 34 mpg (SEL and Limited) to 37 mpg (SE)
  • Fuel Consumption Rate: 2.7 gallons per hundred miles (SE) to 2.9 gallons (SEL and Limited)
  • Annual Fuel Cost: $1,700 (SE) to $1,825 (SEL and Limited)
  • Greenhouse Gas Rating: 7/10 (SEL and Limited) 8/10 (SE)

The gas-powered Hyundai Elantra isn’t as fuel-efficient as the hybrid model, but it’s still very economical. It comes in three trim variants: the SE, SEL, and Limited. The baseline SE is the most efficient — and cheapest — but even the high-end Limited is pretty affordable. Unfortunately, it has the same unimpressive acceleration as the hybrid version.

13. Honda Civic

  • MSRP (2022): From $22,500
  • Gas Mileage: 33 mpg (Sport) to 36 mpg (EX)
  • Fuel Consumption Rate: 2.8 gallons per hundred miles (EX) to 3 (Sport)
  • Annual Fuel Cost: $1,750 (EX) to $1,900 (Sport)
  • Greenhouse Gas Rating: 7/10 (all variants)

The Honda Civic is essentially a non-hybrid (meaning cheaper and less efficient) version of the Insight. Honda makes some of the most dependable cars on the road, so you’re likely to drive your Civic for many years to come.

There are four versions of this small sedan, varying in price, horsepower, and fuel economy. The cheapest, the LX, comes with a 158-hp engine. So does the popular Sport, but it’s a little less efficient. You’ll find a more powerful 180-hp engine in the efficient EX and the top-tier Touring version.

14. Hyundai Accent 

  • MSRP (2022): From $16,645
  • Gas Mileage: 36 mpg
  • Fuel Consumption Rate: 2.8 gallons per 100 miles
  • Annual Fuel Cost: $1,750
  • Greenhouse Gas Rating: 7/10

The affordable Hyundai Accent is one of the few subcompacts left in the U.S. Its small size makes it a good choice for city dwellers who need to park in tight spaces, and the cabin is surprisingly roomy for such a petite vehicle.

The Accent comes in two trim levels, the basic SEL and the more upscale Limited. Both get the same good gas mileage, but the Limited adds more safety features.

15. Kia Rio 

  • MSRP (2022): From $16,450
  • Gas Mileage: 36 mpg
  • Fuel Consumption Rate: 2.8 gallons per 100 miles
  • Annual Fuel Cost: $1,750
  • Greenhouse Gas Rating: 7/10

The Accent’s chief competitor in the subcompact class is the Kia Rio. It’s even more affordable than the Accent and equally fuel-efficient. The Rio has two trim levels, the baseline LX and the more luxurious S. It also comes in a hatchback version, but it’s a bit pricier, starting at $17,390.

Key Metrics for Measuring Vehicle Fuel Efficiency

When you think about fuel efficiency, the first thing that probably comes to your mind is gas mileage, as measured in miles per gallon (mpg). But for electric and plug-in hybrid cars, that measure isn’t useful. To compare efficiency across vehicle types, you need to consider several different measures of fuel economy.

Fuel Economy

For gas-powered vehicles, including hybrid cars, the standard gauge of fuel economy is gas mileage. To measure this, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) tests vehicles under conditions that approximate real-world city and highway driving. Then it assigns them two numbers for city and highway gas mileage, measured in miles per gallon (mpg).

Each vehicle also gets a combined mileage rating. This shows the average mpg the car will get in mixed city and highway driving. It’s based on an assumption that 45% of all miles driven will be highway miles.

For cars that don’t run on gas, the EPA measures efficiency in miles per gallon equivalent, or MPGe. This shows how far a car can travel on the same amount of energy contained in a gallon of gasoline. This makes it possible to compare fuel economy between gas-powered cars and electric vehicles.

For plug-in hybrid cars, the window sticker lists both measures of fuel economy. It shows both the mileage the car gets when running on gasoline and its MPGe when running on battery power.

Fuel Consumption Rate

Comparing cars in terms of gas mileage can be misleading. Suppose you’re looking at three cars. One gets 20 mpg combined, one gets 30 mpg, and one gets 40 mpg. It looks like the difference between the first and second is the same as between the second and third: 10 mpg.

But in fact, the 30-mpg car is 50% more efficient than the one that gets 20 mpg. The 40-mpg car, by contrast, is only 33% more efficient than the one that gets 30 mpg. 

To make these differences clearer, the EPA includes another number on a car’s window sticker: fuel consumption rate. This flips the mileage number on its head and shows how many gallons of gas a car takes to travel 100 miles.

Fuel consumption provides a direct, linear comparison between vehicles. In this example, it shows that the first car uses 5 gallons per 100 miles, the second car uses 3.3, and the third uses 2.5. That gives you a clearer picture of how much gas you’d use with each one.

For electric cars, the window sticker lists the fuel consumption rate in kilowatt-hours (kWh) per 100 miles. For plug-in hybrids, fuel consumption is shown in both gallons and kWh per 100 miles.

Annual Fuel Cost

For many drivers, the real bottom line isn’t how far a car can go on a gallon of gas or a kWh of electricity. It’s the actual dollar amount it will cost them to drive it. 

A vehicle’s window sticker includes this number too. The EPA calculates this number based on the assumption that you’re driving 15,000 miles per year. It also assumes a certain price per gallon of gasoline, which is shown in the fine print at the bottom of the window sticker.

For electric vehicles, the annual fuel cost is based on the price of electricity rather than gasoline. The EPA’s assumptions about electricity prices are also shown in the fine print. For plug-in hybrids, the cost is based on an estimate of the gas and electricity used by an average driver.

Fuel Economy and Greenhouse Gas Rating

Driving a fuel-efficient car isn’t just better for your bottom line. It’s also better for the environment. Cars that use less fuel have lower greenhouse gas emissions, so they contribute less to global warming.

To sum up this aspect of a car’s fuel economy, the window sticker shows a rating on a scale of 1 (worst) to 10 (best). Technically, a car gets two separate ratings for fuel economy and greenhouse gas emissions, but in practice, they’re the same for most vehicles.

A rating of 1 corresponds to gas mileage of 14 mpg or less. Cars that use this much gas produce at least 614 grams of CO2 for every mile they drive. By contrast, a car with a 10 rating gets mileage of 44 mpg or better and emits no more than 204 grams of CO2 per mile. 

Final Word

It’s looking increasingly likely that at some point in the future, passenger vehicles in North America will stop using gasoline entirely. The roads will be filled entirely with long-range electric vehicles and models using newer technologies, such as hydrogen fuel cells. 

When that day comes, the all-important term “miles per gallon” will fall by the wayside. But we’re not there yet and won’t be for many years. 

Until then, the best way to reduce your fuel costs — and your carbon footprint — is to buy or lease a car with the best mileage you can find. With their above-average fuel efficiency and below-average annual fuel costs, all the cars on this list can help with that.

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