Volatile gas prices may have you considering a more fuel-efficient model. Even if you’re not looking for an electric car, several hybrid and plug-in models offer spectacular fuel efficiency without the range anxiety of a full EV.
And don’t write off a non-hybrid model just yet, either. Some of the most frugal gas-only cars on the market return great numbers without a hybrid’s complexity or up-front cost.
Let’s look at the most fuel-efficient hybrids and the most eco-friendly non-hybrid models on the market, rated by their combined mpg figure from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Note: When more than one car has the same combined fuel economy rating, we use the city mpg as the tiebreaker.
1. 2022 Hyundai Ioniq Blue: 59 mpg
The least expensive of the Hyundai Ioniq is the current champ among hybrids. Starting a little under $25,000, the base Ioniq Blue rides on special low rolling-resistance tires wrapped around unique wheels designed to cheat the wind. Those tweaks — and a few others behind the scenes — are enough to merit a 4-mpg combined improvement over the costlier Ioniq SE. See Hyundai Ioniq models for sale
2. 2022 Toyota Prius Eco: 56 mpg
No longer the fuel-economy champ, the Toyota Prius takes second place to its Hyundai rival. Still, there are many great reasons to choose the Prius, especially in Eco trim. As in the Ioniq, this trim level is the gateway to the lineup. Forget about flashy big wheels, however, since the Prius Eco uses special aero hubcaps and tires that delicately dance over the road to save fuel. See Toyota Prius models for sale
3. 2022 Hyundai Elantra Hybrid Blue: 54 mpg
Want a hybrid that doesn’t look like one? The Hyundai Elantra Blue is for you. This sharply styled compact sedan shares its bold lines, spacious cabin, and terrific infotainment system with the rest of the Elantra lineup. At just over $25,000, it’s only slightly thirstier than the Ioniq — but it makes a different statement. See Hyundai Elantra models for sale
4. 2022 Honda Insight: 52 mpg
If you want to get in on Honda’s rival to the Prius and Ioniq, you’d better act fast. This sleek hybrid is an appealing, underrated choice Honda is cutting after 2022 as the company (once again) shifts toward an upcoming hybrid version of its Civic. Its fuel economy is 55 mpg in the city and 49 on the highway. See Honda Insight models for sale
5. 2022 Toyota Corolla Hybrid: 52 mpg
This year, Toyota is offering just a single trim level of its Corolla Hybrid: the reasonably equipped LE trim. It nets 53 mpg city/52 mpg highway. With standard adaptive cruise control, proximity key, and dual-zone automatic climate control, it’s better equipped than its sub-$25,000 price tag might suggest. See Toyota Corolla models for sale
6. 2022 Toyota Camry Hybrid LE: 52 mpg
With a big 4-cylinder engine, a spacious cabin, and plenty of standard convenience and safety tech, the Toyota Camry Hybrid is a top choice among mid-size sedans with terrific fuel economy numbers. The LE version is thriftier than other trims, with 51 city/53 highway mpg, so you may be willing to overlook its dull hubcaps for a 6-mpg improvement. See Toyota Camry models for sale
7. 2022 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid Blue: 52 mpg
Take everything we like about the Hyundai Elantra and stretch it into a midsize sedan nearly as frugal, and you’ll get the Hyundai Sonata Hybrid Blue, netting 50 mpg in the city and 54 on the highway. Be careful about which version of the Sonata Hybrid you shop for since the entry-level Blue model offers an improvement of five mpg combined over other versions. See Hyundai Sonata models for sale
Non-Hybrid, Gas-Powered Models
The addition of an electric motor that assists when cruising and accelerating makes hybrid models more frugal than their gas-only counterparts. It also makes them more expensive, though, so you may have to do some math to decide whether a hybrid is worth it.
Here’s a look at the five most frugal non-hybrid, gas-powered cars.
8. 2022 Mitsubishi Mirage: 39 mpg
With its itty-bitty 3-cylinder engine rated at just 78 horsepower, the Mitsubishi Mirage is an inexpensive subcompact hatchback that will not win any impromptu stoplight drag races. It will, however, save you money any way you look at it. Starting at under $16,000, it comes reasonably well-equipped with features, and it sips fuel at a rate of just 39 mpg combined. See Mitsubishi Mirage models for sale
9. 2022 Hyundai Elantra: 37 mpg
Versions of the Elantra sedan with the 2.0-liter inline-4 and the continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) are tops among compact cars in fuel economy. The EPA says the typical driver will spend about $1,650 on fuel annually versus $1,150 for the Elantra Hybrid Blue. Hyundai charges $3,200 more for an Elantra Hybrid Blue than it does a similar Elantra SEL, though they have slightly different equipment (the hybrid has heated front seats, for instance). That works out to a little over six years to break even. See Hyundai Elantra models for sale
10. 2022 Honda Civic: 36 mpg
The sedan version of the latest Honda Civic delivers an impressive 36 mpg combined when it’s fitted with a CVT and optional turbocharged powertrain. That turbo enables more power from a smaller engine, which combines with the CVT’s ability to keep engine revs low when cruising to sip down fuel at a slow rate. The EPA rates the Civic’s fuel economy as 33 mpg city/42 highway. See Honda Civic models for sale
11. 2022 Kia Rio: 36 mpg
The Kia Rio and Hyundai Accent are models that share engines, transmissions, and platforms. That’s also why they have identical fuel economy: 33 city, 41 highway, and 36 combined. But the Rio has a lower starting price, so it earns the higher spot. And with the Rio, you take the Accent and spice it up with Kia’s somewhat racier styling inside and out. See Kia Rio models for sale
12. 2022 Hyundai Accent: 36 mpg
Hyundai’s smallest car doesn’t offer a lot of power, but its 36 mpg combined means it also doesn’t use much fuel. This small sedan costs just a little more than the Mitsubishi Mirage, and while it’s not quite as thrifty, the Hyundai has a far more spacious interior and a more refined feel. See Hyundai Accent models for sale