29 best and most fuel-efficient cars to combat rising gas prices

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2019 Honda Civic Sedan Touring (iSeeCars)

Gas prices have reached a six-year high, and drivers are back on the roads after a year of pandemic-related closures. Whether it’s the return to a daily commute or the anticipation of a summer road trip, the combination of increased driving and higher gas prices may encourage drivers to forego their gas-guzzlers for something more fuel-efficient.

Whether you want a hybrid or electric car, or if you want a conventional internal combustion engine with better gas mileage, we put together a list of the best options for fuel-efficient vehicles. To determine the best and most fuel-efficient cars, iSeeCars analyzed over 20 million cars to calculate a Quality Score (from 1-10) for each car and determine which ones are the best based on long-term reliability, value retention, and safety ratings from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). We then determined which of these vehicles had the highest fuel economy using a threshold of 30 combined MPG for traditional cars and 40 MPG (or MPGe) for hybrids and electrics. 

We divided the results into two categories: traditional gasoline cars and hybrid/electric vehicles. 

The Best Fuel-Efficient Cars: Gasoline-Powered

To determine the highest quality cars with the best fuel economy, iSeeCars looked at vehicles with a Quality Score of at least 7.0 and an EPA estimated fuel economy rating of at least 30 mpg. The results are divided among small cars, midsize cars, and hatchbacks. 

The Best Fuel-Efficient Small Cars:

Here are the best and most fuel-efficient compact and subcompact cars. These cars deliver excellent fuel economy and are easy to maneuver due to their small size, making them an ideal choice for city dwellers.

Best Gas Mileage Cars: Small Cars
RankVehicleiSeeCars Quality ScoreCombined MPG
1Honda Civic (Coupe)9.035
2Honda Civic (Sedan)8.936
3Toyota Corolla8.934
4Mazda MAZDA38.931
5Subaru Impreza8.932
6Volkswagen Jetta8.434
7Hyundai Elantra8.037
8Hyundai Accent7.836
9Kia Rio7.836

1-2. Honda Civic (Coupe/Sedan)

iSeeCars Quality Score (Coupe): 9.0 (Reliability: 8.7, Value Retention: 8.6, Safety: 9.5)

iSeeCars Quality Score (Sedan): 9.9 (Reliability: 8.1, Value Retention: 8.5, Safety: 10)

Combined MPG: 35 (Coupe)/36 (Sedan)

Earning the top two spots is the Honda Civic coupe and sedan respectively. The coupe has a slightly higher quality score thanks to its slight edge for value retention, but the sedan is slightly more fuel efficient. However, the coupe bodystyle was dropped for the 2021 model year, making the bodystyle only available in the used car marketplace. The Civic has enjoyed many decades as one of the most popular vehicles on the road thanks to its agile handling and its range of engine options. It’s also praised for its practicality due to its affordability and fuel efficiency, earning a combined 35 mpg for the coupe and 36 mpg for the sedan when equipped with its 1.5-liter engine.

A new Honda Civic sedan costs between $20,337-$26,101, and a three-year-old used Honda Civic sedan costs an average of $18,563.  A three-year-old used Honda Civic Coupe costs an average of $20,085.

3. Toyota Corolla

iSeeCars Quality Score: 8.9 (Reliability: 8.0, Value Retention: 8.6, Safety: 10)

Combined MPG: 34

Ranked third is another popular compact sedan, the Toyota Corolla. It’s among the most affordable cars in the compact category, thanks to its below $20,000 average new car price, lower-than-average maintenance costs, and excellent fuel economy of 34 mpg when equipped with its 2.0 liter engine. It also comes with an intuitive touchscreen infotainment system and a suite of driver assistance aids such as lane keep assist, pedestrian detection, and forward collision warning. 

A new Toyota Corolla costs between $18,895 and $25,221 and a three-year-old used Toyota Corolla costs $16,667.

4. Mazda MAZDA3

iSeeCars Quality Score: 8.9 (Reliability: 8.0, Value Retention: 8.6, Safety: 10)

Combined MPG: 31

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Ranked fourth is the Mazda MAZDA3, which boasts impressive driving dynamics and powerful engine options making it one of the best compact cars available. It comes standard with a full suite of active safety features like driver attention warning, automatic high-beam headlights, pedestrian detection, lane departure warning, and forward-collision warning. It has above-average fuel economy for the compact car class at 31 combined mpg.  [/caption]

A new Mazda MAZDA3 costs between $20,541 and $31,232, while a three-year-old used Mazda MAZDA3 costs an average of $17,168.

5. Subaru Impreza

iSeeCars Quality Score: 8.7 (Reliability: 7.9, Value Retention: 8.7, Safety: 10)

Combined MPG: 32

Ranked fifth is the Subaru Impreza. The compact Impreza isn’t just one of the only small cars to offer all-wheel drive, but it also comes standard. What’s more is that it’s the most affordable AWD vehicle available and is considered among the best AWD cars on the market because of its quality and value. It’s also efficient with a combined mpg of 31 with its CVT transmission. A five-speed manual transmission is also available, which earns a less-efficient 26 combined mpg. The reliable and safe Impreza comes with standard driver assistance features like adaptive cruise control, lane keep assist, forward collision warning, and automatic emergency braking.  

A new Subaru Impreza costs an average of $20,156 to $27,995 and a three-year-old used Subaru Impreza costs between $18,435.

6. Volkswagen Jetta

iSeeCars Quality Score: 8.4 (Reliability: 7.9, Value Retention: 7.4, Safety: 10)

Combined MPG: 34

The Volkswagen Jetta ranks sixth. The Jetta has above-average passenger and cargo space for its vehicle class, while offering tremendous value with an average new car price well below $20,000. The Volkswagen Jetta comes standard with a 6.5-inch touch-screen infotainment system, but lacks standard driver assistance features beyond a rearview camera. The Volkswagen Jetta’s base four-cylinder engine gets a combined mpg of 34, which is excellent for the class.

The Volkswagen Jetta has an average new car price between $17,459 and $27,479, while a three-year-old used Volkswagen Jetta costs an average of $15,639.

7. Hyundai Elantra

iSeeCars Quality Score: 8.0 (Reliability: 7.6, Value Retention: 7.9, Safety: 8.5)

Combined MPG: 37

The Hyundai Elantra compact sedan, which was named as the 2021 North American Car of the Year, ranks seventh. It offers ample passenger space and a suite of standard safety features, including an 8-inch touch screen infotainment system with wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. It also has a list of standard advanced safety features including forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, and blind spot monitoring. The fully redesigned for 2021 Hyundai Elantra has an impressive fuel economy rating of a combined 37 mpg with its base engine, which makes it the most fuel-efficient vehicle on the list.

A new Hyundai Elantra costs between $16,704 and $25,673, and a three-year-old used  Hyundai Elantra costs an average of $15,411

8. Hyundai Accent

iSeeCars Quality Score: 7.8 (Reliability: 7.6, Value Retention: 7.9, Safety: 8.0)

Combined MPG: 36

The subcompact Hyundai Accent ranks eighth. It features a comfortable and attractive cabin and has a host of standard tech features including a five-inch touchscreen, Siri Eyes Free, and Bluetooth connectivity. A new Hyundai Accent costs between $19,650 and $25,450, and a three-year-old used Hyundai Accent costs an average of $15,411.

9. Kia Rio

iSeeCars Quality Score: 7.8 (Reliability: 7.7, Value Retention: 7.7, Safety: 8.0)

Combined MPG: 36

The subcompact Kia Rio ranks ninth. Despite its subcompact car designation, it provides plenty of headroom and legroom and has a comfortable interior. It comes standard with an 8-inch touchscreen infotainment system with Apple Carplay and Android Auto. It is among the most fuel-efficient vehicles in the subcompact class, earning 36 combined MPG.

A new Kia Rio costs between $13,301 and $18,809, while a three-year-old used Kia Rio costs an average of $12,829.

The Best Fuel-Efficient Midsize Cars:

For drivers who want more passenger and cargo room, these are the best and most fuel-efficient midsize sedans.

Best Gas Mileage Cars: Midsize Cars
RankVehicleiSeeCars Quality ScoreCombined MPG
1Honda Accord9.033
2Toyota Camry9.032
3Hyundai Sonata8.731
4Kia Optima8.531
5Chevrolet Malibu8.332
6Nissan Altima8.332

1. Honda Accord

iSeeCars Quality Score: 9.0 (Reliability: 8.5, Value Retention: 8.6, Safety: 10)

Combined MPG: 33

Earning top honors as the best of the fuel-efficient midsize sedans is the Honda Accord. The Accord is praised for its adept handling and provides more cargo and passenger room than most of its competitors. The Honda Accord offers standard infotainment features including an 8-inch touch screen, Bluetooth, Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto. The Accord also comes standard with a list of advanced safety features including driver drowsiness monitoring, forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, and road departure mitigation. The Accord’s base engine sends power through a CVT and gets an EPA-estimated 33 mpg combined, which is excellent for its class, while mpg drops to 26 mpg for Accords equipped with the ten-speed automatic transmission.

A new Honda Accord costs between $23,313 and $34,443, and a three-year-old used Honda Accord costs an average of $23,203.

2. Toyota Camry

iSeeCars Quality Score: 9.0 (Reliability: 8.4, Value Retention: 8.6, Safety: 10)

Combined MPG: 32

The Toyota Camry midsize sedan ranks second. The Camry was the best-selling midsize sedan of 2020, and for good reason. It offers a comfortable ride with ample legroom and headroom for passengers. Its standard infotainment features include a 7-inch touchscreen display, Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, and Bluetooth connectivity. The Camry also has a suite of advanced safety features including lane keep assist, lane departure warning, forward collision warning, pedestrian detection, adaptive cruise control and automatic emergency braking. The Camry has great fuel economy estimates for its class at 32 combined mpg.

A new Toyota Camry costs between $23,215 and $35,219 and a three-year-old used Toyota Camry costs an average of $21,963.

3. Hyundai Sonata

iSeeCars Quality Score: 8.7 (Reliability: 7.8, Value Retention: 8.2, Safety: 10)

Combined MPG: 31

The Hyundai Sonata midsize sedan ranks third. It offers an upscale interior with spacious seats and comes standard with safety features including adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning, pedestrian detection, and automatic high-beam headlights. The Sonata also offers above-average fuel economy for the class with 31 combined mpg. 

A new Hyundai Sonata costs between $22,432 and $25,003, while a three-year-old used Hyundai Sonata costs an average of $18,005.

4. Kia Optima/K5

iSeeCars Quality Score: 8.5 (Reliability: 7.6, Value Retention: 7.4, Safety: 10)

Combined MPG: 31

The Kia Optima midsize sedan ranks fourth. The Optima was fully redesigned for 2021 and renamed as the K5. The Optima has a roomy interior with standard features including an 8-inch touch screen, wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, Bluetooth, and remote keyless entry. The Optima also has a suite of standard safety features including forward collision warning, driver attention monitoring, rear seat reminder, lane keep assist, and automatic high-beam headlights. The Optima has 31 combined mpg, which is above-average for the class.

A new Kia K5 costs between $18,359 and $28,011, while a three-year-old used Kia Optima costs an average of $18,163.

5. Chevrolet Malibu

iSeeCars Quality Score: 8.3 (Reliability: 7.9, Value Retention: 7.4, Safety: 9.6)

Combined MPG: 32

The Chevrolet Malibu ranks fifth. It provides a comfortable and balanced ride, and it is among the more affordable options in the midsize car class with an average new car price starting at just above $18,000. It also delivers excellent fuel economy with 32 combined mpg. 

A new Chevrolet Malibu costs between $18,059 and $30,602, and a three-year-old used Chevrolet Malibu costs an average of $18,153.

6. Nissan Altima

iSeeCars Quality Score: 8.3 (Reliability: 8.0, Value Retention: 7.0, Safety: 10)

Combined MPG: 32

The Nissan Altima midsize sedan ranks sixth. The comfortable sedan has a powerful engine and provides comfortable seating. The Altima comes standard with many tech features including proximity keyless entry, a remote start, and a voice command control system. It also comes with many standard safety features including forward-collision warning, pedestrian detection, automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning, and driver drowsiness detection.

A new Nissan Altima costs between $19,404 and $31,746 and a three-year-old used Nissan Altima costs an average of $17,749.

The Best Fuel-Efficient Hatchbacks:

Hatchbacks blend function and practicality as an excellent option for buyers interested in an economical vehicle that provides plenty of space. Along with having a lower price tag than crossovers, they are also more fuel efficient. Here are the best hatchbacks that offer great fuel economy.

Best Gas Mileage Cars: Hatchbacks
RankVehicleiSeeCars Quality ScoreCombined MPG
1Honda Fit8.936
2Volkswagen Golf8.833
3Mazda MAZDA38.732
4Toyota Yaris8.233

1. Honda Fit 

iSeeCars Quality Score: 8.3 (Reliability: 8.0, Value Retention: 8.8, Safety: 10)

Combined MPG: 36

The Honda Fit is the best of the most fuel-efficient hatchbacks, and it also tops our list of the best subcompact cars. Despite being a subcompact car, it has ample leg and headroom. The car’s highly functional “magic seat,” allows the rear seat cushions to fold up to provide more cargo space, and the front passenger seat can also fold down to help haul large objects. The Fit provides excellent fuel economy, earning 36 combined mpg.

The Honda Fit was discontinued after the 2020 model year, but used Honda Fits are still widely available. A three-year-old used Honda Fit costs an average of $16,342.

2. Volkswagen Golf

iSeeCars Quality Score: 8.8 (Reliability: 7.8, Value Retention: 8.6, Safety: 10)

Combined MPG: 33

The Volkswagen Golf ranks second. This fun-to-drive hatchback also offers an upscale interior and ample passenger and cargo space. It comes with many advanced safety features including forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, pedestrian detection, rear cross traffic alert, and rain-sensing windshield wipers. The Volkswagen Golf returns great fuel economy at 33 combined mpg.

A new Volkswagen Golf costs between $19,998 and $25,695, and a three-year-old used Volkswagen Golf costs an average of $18,457.

3. Mazda MAZDA3

iSeeCars Quality Score: 8.7 (Reliability: 7.5, Value Retention: 8.6, Safety: 10)

Combined MPG: 32

The Mazda MAZDA3 hatchback ranks third. Just like the sedan version that made the small car list, the MAZDA3 hatchback comes standard with a full suite of active safety features and is fun to drive. The hatchback offers slightly better fuel economy at 32 combined mpg, compared to the sedan’s 31 combined mpg.  

A new Mazda MAZDA3 hatchback costs between $22,544 and $34,651 and a three-year-old used MAZDA3 hatchback costs an average of $18,385.

4. Toyota Yaris

iSeeCars Quality Score: 8.2 (Reliability: 8.0, Value Retention: 8.6, Safety: 8.0)

Combined MPG: 33

Ranked fourth is the subcompact Toyota Yaris. Along with demonstrating Toyota’s reputation for reliability, it comes with a suite of standard features including Apple CarPlay and Android Auto and safety features such as forward-collision warning and emergency braking. The Toyota Yaris was discontinued after the 2020 model year, but three-year-old used Toyota Yaris vehicles cost an average of $13,725.

The Best Fuel-Efficient Cars: Hybrid and Electric Cars

The vehicles with the greatest fuel efficiency are hybrid and electric vehicles. Whether you want to go longer between refueling with a hybrid car, or skip the gas station altogether with an electric vehicle, these are the highest-quality alternative fuel vehicles to choose from.

The Best Fuel Efficient Hybrid Cars

Best Gas Mileage Cars: Hybrid Cars
RankVehicleiSeeCars Quality ScoreCombined MPG
1Toyota Camry Hybrid8.852
2Toyota Prius8.856
3Honda Accord Hybrid8.552
4Toyota Avalon Hybrid8.346
5Kia Optima Hybrid8.148

1. Toyota Camry Hybrid

iSeeCars Quality Score: 8.8 (Reliability: 8.8, Value Retention: 7.7, Safety: 10)

Combined MPG: 52

The Toyota Camry Hybrid ranks first. The Camry Hybrid is the hybrid version of the best-selling Camry sedan and offers the same infotainment and advanced safety features. The Toyota Camry Hybrid returns 52 mpg combined, compared to 32 mpg combined of its non-hybrid counterpart.

A new Toyota Camry Hybrid costs between $25,915 and $37,283, and a three-year-old used Toyota Camry Hybrid costs an average of $23,296.

2. Toyota Prius 

iSeeCars Quality Score: 8.8 (Reliability: 8.8, Value Retention: 8.0, Safety: 9.6)

Combined MPG: 56

The Toyota Prius ranks second. Average combined gas mileage is highest among the hybrids on our list at 56 mpg. The roomy hatchback offers plenty of passenger and cargo room and a suite of standard safety features including a rearview camera, adaptive cruise control, road sign recognition, pedestrian and cyclist detection, lane departure warning, and a pre-collision system. A new Toyota Prius costs between $24,845 and $32,927, while a three-year-old used Toyota Prius costs an average of $20,744.

3. Honda Accord Hybrid

iSeeCars Quality Score: 8.5 (Reliability: 7.2, Value Retention: 8.3, Safety: 10)

Combined MPG: 52

The Honda Accord Hybrid, which is the hybrid variant of the popular midsize sedan, ranks third. Like its gasoline counterpart, the Honda Accord Hybrid is praised for its reliability, ride quality, and list of standard infotainment and safety features. The Honda Accord Hybrid also offers added efficiency with 52 combined MPG compared to the 33 combined mpg of its non-hybrid version. 

A new Honda Accord Hybrid costs between $26,345 and $37,413, and a three-year-old used Honda Accord Hybrid costs an average of $24,447.

4. Toyota Avalon Hybrid

iSeeCars Quality Score: 8.3 (Reliability: 7.7, Value Retention: 7.3, Safety: 10)

Combined MPG: 46

The Toyota Avalon Hybrid, which is the hybrid version of the popular Avalon full size sedan, ranks fourth. The Toyota Avalon has an upscale interior that rivals a luxury vehicle and offers a comfortable ride. Standard infotainment features include a 9-inch touch screen, Amazon Alexa, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and a Wi-Fi hot spot. The Avalon also has a suite of standard safety features, including blind-spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, adaptive cruise control, lane keep assist, automatic high-beam headlights, pedestrian detection, and automatic emergency braking.

A new Toyota Avalon Hybrid costs between $34,638 and $46,556, and a three-year-old used Toyota Avalon Hybrid costs an average of $26,238.

5. Kia Optima Hybrid

iSeeCars Quality Score: 8.1 (Reliability: 7.5, Value Retention: 6.9, Safety: 10)

Combined MPG: 48

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The Kia Optima Hybrid, which is the hybrid variant of the Optima, ranks seventh. While the Kia Optima was replaced by the Kia K5 for the 2021 model year, the new vehicle does not yet have a version with a hybrid powertrain. The Optima Hybrid has a high-quality interior and the same suite of standard safety features as its non-hybrid counterpart.[/caption]

While there are no new versions for sale of the discontinued vehicle, a three-year-old used Kia Optima Hybrid costs an average of $19,368.

The Best Fuel-Efficient Electric Vehicles

Best Gas Mileage Cars: Electric Cars
RankVehicleiSeeCars Quality ScoreCombined MPG
1Tesla Model 39.0142 MPGe 
2Tesla Model S8.8110 MPGe
3Tesla Model X8.5105 MPGe
4Chevrolet Bolt EV7.9118 MPGe 
5Nissan LEAF7.2111 MPGe

1. Tesla Model 3 

iSeeCars Quality Score: 9.0 (Reliability: 7.8, Value Retention: 9.2, Safety: 10)

Combined MPG: 142 MGe

Ranked first in the EV category is the Tesla Model 3, which is a more budget-friendly version of the Tesla Model S that still boasts long battery range and a long list of technological features. The Standard Range Plus Model 3 base trim has a range of 263 miles, while the Model 3 Performance gets 315 miles, and the Long Range gets 353 miles. The Standard Range Plus is also the most fuel efficient trim, earning a 142 MPGe.

The base trim Tesla Model 3 Standard Range Plus starts at $39,490, the Long Range starts at $48,490, and the top trim Performance model starts at $56,990. A three-year-old used Tesla Model 3 costs an average of $41,639.

2. Tesla Model S

iSeeCars Quality Score: 8.8 (Reliability: 8.3, Value Retention: 8.0, Safety: 10)

Combined MPG: 110 MGe

The Tesla Model S ranks second. The Tesla Model S was the first-of-its kind electric vehicle and it comes loaded with high-tech features while accelerating like a supercar. The Tesla Model S comes standard with a 17-inch touchscreen display, a rear-seat display, and wireless device charging. It offers 400 miles of driving range on a single charge, which leads the segment. It has a combined MPGe of 110, which is an energy efficiency metric developed for alternative fuel vehicles to compare them to traditional gasoline cars.

A new Tesla Model S Long Range Plus base model starts at $69,420 and its highest Plaid trim starts at $114,490. A three-year-old used Tesla Model S costs an average of $58,666.

3. Tesla Model X

iSeeCars Quality Score: 8.5 (Reliability: 6.9, Value Retention: 8.6, Safety: 10)

Combined MPG: 105 MPGe

The Tesla Model X electric SUV ranks third. The Model X accelerates briskly, with its base model reaching zero to 60 mph in 4.4 seconds. It offers practicality along with its performance by offering 328 miles of range and earning 105 MPGe. Like its Tesla car siblings, it offers cutting-edge technology including a 17-inch touchscreen display and a long list of technology and safety features.

A new Model X starts at $79,990 for its Long Range Plus Trim, $89,990 for its Long Range Trim, and $99,990 for its Performance Trim. A three-year-old used Tesla Model X costs an average of $72,183.  

4. Chevrolet Bolt EV

iSeeCars Quality Score: 7.9 (Reliability: 6.8, Value Retention: 7.0, Safety: 10)

Combined MPG: 118 MPGe

The Chevy Bolt EV earns the fourth spot as the most fuel efficient EV. It has one of the longest ranges among non-Tesla vehicles at 259 miles. The Bolt EV is fun-to-drive and has abundant cargo space. The Bolt EV comes with standard infotainment features including a 10.2-inch touchscreen, Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto.The Bolt EV earns an EPA-rated 118 MPGe, which is above average for the class.

A new Chevrolet Bolt EV costs between $24,198 and $43,840, and a three-year-old used Chevrolet Bolt EV costs an average of $20,926.

5. Nissan LEAF

iSeeCars Quality Score: 7.2 (Reliability: 7.7, Value Retention: 6.0, Safety: 8.0)

Combined MPG: 111 MPGe

The Nissan LEAF ranks fifth. The LEAF is among the more affordable vehicles in the EV class, but it also lacks the range of its competitors, topping out at 226 miles on its highest trim. It comes with a suite of safety features that include lane departure warning, lane keep assist, pedestrian detection, and blind spot monitoring. The Nissan LEAF earns 111 combined MPGe.

A new Nissan LEAF costs between $26,689 and $45,136, while a three-year-old used Nissan LEAF costs an average of $18,435.

Bottom Line:

Whether you want a vehicle with good gas mileage for your daily commute or for your next road trip, the best options will provide increased savings beyond fuel costs thanks to their proven longevity and higher-than-average value retention. While this list just includes passenger cars, there are also fuel efficient SUVs that are more eco-friendly than what the segment typically offers. 

More from iSeeCars:

If you’re interested in a new or used sedan, hatchback, hybrid vehicle, or electric vehicle, be sure to check out iSeeCars’ award-winning car search engine. It uses advanced algorithms to help shoppers find the best car deals and provides key insights and valuable resources, like the iSeeCars VIN check report. Filter by price, fuel economy, drive type, and other parameters to find your next vehicle.

This article, Best Gas Mileage Cars originally appeared on iSeeCars.com.

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