Cost-cutting cars: Fuel-efficient and affordable vehicles better for students

By on October 5, 2005

With recent gas prices soaring to over $3.00 per gallon, filling up is costing drivers a pretty penny. Even worse, many cars that claim fuel efficiency are simply not up to par.

A 2005 study by Consumer Reports magazine, found that the EPA ratings that appear on new car stickers are the result of 1970’s testing that does not reflect the way people drive today.

Even certain hybrids made to be fuel efficient fall below the suggested miles per gallon rate. One such hybrid is the Honda Civic sedan, claiming 48 mpg, but found by Consumer Reports to reach a much lower 26 mpg.

Fortunately, there are some cars that will save drivers money as gasoline prices continue to rise.

The Honda Insight is a compact hybrid that actually achieves 51 mpg overall, with a base price around $20,000. Currently it is only available as a 2-seater, so it’s definitely not made for family driving.

However, another hybrid more suitable for group traveling is the Toyota Prius, with five seats and an overall mpg rate of 44. Although it will not be released until December, the estimated cost is around $22,000. The new Prius also includes an innovative electrohydraulic “by-wire” anti-lock brake system.

The overall mpg rates of SUVs pale in comparison to those of small cars and sedans, however there are some worth noting.

In the category of Small SUV is the Ford Escape Hybrid, which claims an overall mpg rate of 26. The Escape Hybrid has a seating capacity of five, and plenty of cargo space in back. It costs around $27,515, a good $8,000 more than its non-hybrid counterpart, but is still a good deal less than many less-efficient SUVs.

Larger SUVs such as the Toyota Highlander and Nissan Murano each achieve 19 mpg, significantly less than the 51 mpg rate of the smaller Honda Insight sedan.

There are many fuel-efficient cars available, depending on size and function desired, but there are also many vehicles that falsely claim high mpg rates. It is possible to save money on gas, while not spending too much money on the car itself, it just requires some research.


About Samanthat Karol