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Who's Your Gas Buddy? 16 Cars With 40-MPG Gas Mileage On Sale Now

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2012 Ford Focus

2012 Ford Focus

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Gas prices got you all nervous? Figuring the days of cheap gas are over? Thinking about a new car with much better gas mileage?

Well, just because the EPA rates a specific car at the magic 40-mpg mark doesn't mean you'll actually get 40 mpg.

But the ratings are a good indicator of where cars stand relative to one another.

New: 2012 Ford Focus SFE

The latest entry to cross the 40-mpg threshold is the 2012 Ford Focus SFE, one specific model of the all-new Focus compact that's now shipping to Ford dealers.

The 2012 Focus fitted with that "Super Fuel Economy" package and a six-speed automatic transmissionis rated at 28 mpg city, 40 mpg highway.

“Our customers tell us that fuel economy is the top reason for purchasing a Focus,” said Ford's VP of global product development, Derrick Kuzak. “The all-new Focus meets that demand with great fuel economy, class-leading technologies ... and driving dynamics typically reserved for larger, more expensive vehicles.”

Many 40-mpg choices

The 2012 Focus SFE joins an expanding list of cars--encompassing hybrids, clean diesels, and conventional gasoline vehicles--with EPA-rated gas mileage of at least 40 mpg on either the city or highway cycle.

That's the crucial criterion that lets them blare "40 MPG !!!" in big letters on their ads.

We haven't included battery electric or plug-in hybrids, e.g. the 2011 Nissan Leaf or 2011 Chevy Volt, in this list. Also, we've listed a specific transmission only if ratings differ among the transmission options.

2011 Toyota Prius

2011 Toyota Prius

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2011 TOYOTA PRIUS: 51 mpg city, 48 mpg highway - 50 mpg combined

The world's best-known hybrid vehicle, the Toyota Prius, is the undisputed fuel-efficiency champ in the U.S. market.

Toyota has sold more than 2 million hybrids, and this is their crowning achievement. You really will get mileage somewhere in the 40s, no matter how you drive it.

2011 LEXUS CT 200h: 43 mpg city, 41 mpg highway - 42 mpg combined

2011 Lexus CT 200h

2011 Lexus CT 200h

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The newest, smallest Lexus, a compact five-door hatchback, is actually the second best rated car on the EPA's list of gasoline vehicles.

It's a car class down from the Prius, but it's also more luxurious inside, and reviewers say it's far more fun to drive.

But we're still puzzled by the strange "Darker Side of Green" marketing campaign.

2011 HONDA CIVIC HYBRID: 40 mpg city, 43 mpg highway - 41 mpg combined

2010 Honda Civic Hybrid

2010 Honda Civic Hybrid

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The all-new 2012 Honda Civic Hybrid will arrive this spring.

It's expected to achieve a combined mileage rating of 45 mpg--which would boost it above the CT 200h into second place after the Prius.

There will also be a gasoline Civic HF model that is projected to hit the magic 40-mpg highway rating.

2011 HONDA INSIGHT: 40 mpg city, 43 mpg highway - 41 mpg combined

2011 Honda Insight

2011 Honda Insight

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Honda's subcompact hybrid hatchback has been a sales disappointment.

That may be, in part, because it competes with the superb 2011 Honda Fit five-door subcompact that gets decent mileage in the id-30s for almost $5,000 less.

This was one of Honda's pair of new dedicated hybrids, but the other one, the 2011 CR-Z hybrid sports coupe, didn't break the 40-mpg barrier.

2011 FORD FUSION HYBRID and LINCOLN MKZ HYBRID: 41 mpg city, 26 mpg highway - 39 mpg combined

2011 Lincoln MKZ Hybrid

2011 Lincoln MKZ Hybrid

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Ford's large midsize hybrid sedan was widely lauded on its introduction two years ago.

The Lincoln MKZ Hybrid model, new this year but largely the same under the skin, is the first car to price the V-6 gasoline and four-cylinder hybrid versions identically.

2011 HYUNDAI SONATA HYBRID: 35 mpg city, 40 mpg highway - 37 mpg combined

2011 Hundai Sonata Hybrid, La Jolla, California, October 2010

2011 Hundai Sonata Hybrid, La Jolla, California, October 2010

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Despite some last-minute delays in getting Hyundai's first hybrid to dealers, the 2011 Sonata Hybrid delivers superb fuel economy and a visually distinct appearance from the standard Sonata.

And its mileage is biased toward highway speeds, where Hyundai notes most U.S. drivers spend more than half their time.

2011 SMART FORTWO: 33 mpg city, 41 mpg highway - 36 mpg combined

2011 Smart ForTwo with 'Heartthrob' Valentine's Day car wrap

2011 Smart ForTwo with 'Heartthrob' Valentine's Day car wrap

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They're small, they're not all that pleasant to drive, and their sales have plummeted.

Yes, they get decent gas mileage. But you can get much bigger and better cars that give you the same gas mileage.

Honestly, the automatic manual transmission shifts so abruptly, pitching the car back and forth on its short wheelbase, that you really won't enjoy the journey that much. 'Nuff said.

2011 AUDI A3 TDI: 30 mpg city, 42 mpg highway - 34 mpg combined

2010 Audi A3 TDI

2010 Audi A3 TDI

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Audi's A3 TDI clean-diesel won the 2009 Green Car of the Year Award.

It's a thrifty five-door compact hatchback that's fun to drive, even if it's getting a little long in the tooth now.


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Comments (10)
  1. The EPA claims that driving is biased toward the city. The combined number listed are for 55% city and 45% highway. This is different then Hyundai's claim.
     
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  2. Actually, Voelcker didn't forget, it is mentioned in the article. It is 35 city/ 39 highway for the manual shift and does not make the cut. Your 50+highway number does not match the EPA number.
     
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  3. It's great and all, but just really not that impressive to me. I own a 1998 honda civic hatchback that gets 36 mpg on the highway without even trying. I can get low 40's with some effort. 13 years old!!! I'll be more impressed when they start getting near 50 on the highway.
     
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  4. @Greg - I see comments like your often, but I can only shake my head. For starters, you are comparing EPA figures to personal figures from a single driver, which is apples and oranges in the first place.
    But even more importantly, you are comparing a car that passes emissions standards from 13 years ago to a car that passes today's standards, which are much, much more stringent.
    Your Civic wouldn't have a chance in hell passing the emissions that the new cars do.
    Furthermore, the cars today are larger and have more content AND safety equipment inside, and as a result, weigh more. Again, apples and oranges...
     
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  5. I bought my 3-cylinder 1997 Geo Metro about 4+ years ago for only $2,000 and my city/highway gas mileage during the non-winter months (when the gas isn't changed for the industry-wide winter formula) is generally over 50 MPG. During the winter it drops to about 47 MPG....still very respectable.
    I recently had cruise control installed in the car and I expect improvements in the car's MPG.
    The Geo Metro is a very underrated car (even my wife hates the car calling it a moving car made from beer cans).
    Having owned a new 1968 Corvette for 17 years, I can honestly say that the Geo Metro is fun to drive and it handles very well with its 5-speed manual transmission.
    Check it out! :-)
     
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  6. @Mark,
    You have some valid points for sure, but I think Greg is considering his own situation. Why would he consider buying one of these new cars when he is already getting 40+mpg. He has a point there.
    He has the luxury of getting great fuel economy for a car that is all paid-off. That is an awesome thing.
    @Aldg,
    Amazing MPG. Official EPA is 37 city, 44 hwy for manual shift. I think the 37 city is particularly impressive. I have considered getting a Geo metro, but I don't know if I could tolerate the lack of AC.
    John C. Briggs
     
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  7. @ Mark dont be a HATER I used to own a 1994 Honda Civic Coupe and it would give somewhere around 35 mpg on Hwy and that was with A/C on and going around 65 to 70 miles per hour. Todays cars should be GIVING a whole lot better mileage than yesterdays vehicles I'm with Greg, by the way Mark if those Civics do not pass todays emission standards they pass the SMOG test so WHO CARES!!! Sometimes I read the most ridiculous comments in here and compare apples to oranges w/o reasoning.
     
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  8. Well, Who's your buddy(s)?! Thanks for standing up for me, guys(John and Axel)! I don't know enough about emission standards, catalytic converters, etc. or if the newer catalytic converter I had put on a few years ago would address the emissions issue? But, yes I would like to get a new car(the civic has 260k plus miles), but am not impressed with the gas mileage of the newer non-hybrid cars(or hybrids for that matter). I would just like to see non-hybrid cars get even better mileage than the 40mpg they are starting to get now. I wish there was an easy way to go back to the smaller lighter cars of the late 80's. That would help quite a bit, in my opinion.
     
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  9. Somebody build me a Chevy Cruze-sized vehicle with a diesel/hybrid/plug-in powertrain that averages 55 MPG for $23k and I'll buy it.

    Typo: Ford Fusion gets 36 MPG city, and the car pix are not matched properly with their descriptions on page 2.
     
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  10. I'd love to own an original Honda Insight right now - 70 MPG! I'm disappointed with Honda's current hybrid offerings - not even close to Prius. I expect leadership from Honda, but the only distinction is the the Insight which costs somewhat less than the Prius. The Civic HF is the way to go for low cost of ownership over the years.
     
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