Toyota Prius C Has the Lowest Operating Cost Per Mile

GasBuddy has ranked the best and worst vehicles of 2013 based on their cost per mile.
By Fred Rozell
Oct. 7, 2013
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The Toyota PriusC proves to be the cheapest to drive based on cost per mile.
Photo by GasBuddy/NY Times

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United States motorists paid more for gasoline in July 2013 when compared to July 2012, but the cost difference impacted consumers unevenly based on their vehicle choices. GasBuddy ranked more than 700 U.S. and foreign vehicles based on their fuel economy in 2013 and found that combined city and highway mileage for some models ranged from less than 8 cents per mile to more than 30 cents.

U.S. average fuel prices for regular unleaded fell from $3.595 a gallon in June to just under $3.589 a gallon in July, masking some incredible volatility within particular states and regions. GasBuddy believes there is a better-than-even chance that a number of U.S. markets may see fuel price levels that will be lower than August 2011or August 2012 numbers.

Meanwhile, the GasBuddy survey found that when measured on a fuel cost-per-mile basis, GMC vehicles represented some of the most expensive vehicles. Six of the 10 costliest vehicles in terms of fuel costs ranked by GasBuddy came from General Motors.

The average GMC vehicle cost 21.2 cents per mile in fuel costs nationally based on mileage statistics for 2013 vehicles published on Cadillac was next with an average fuel cost of 19.0 cents per mile followed by Mercedes Benz with a cost of 18.6 cents per mile, Jeep at 18.5 cents per mile and Jaguar at 18.4 cents per mile.

Infiniti took the 6th spot with an average fuel cost per mile of 18.1 cents followed by Chevrolet with an average cost of 18.0 cents per mile. The eighth spot was occupied by Dodge with each mile logging a cost of 17.8 cents per mile while Porsche and Chrysler tied for ninth place with a cost per mile of 17.4 cents.

Honda was the cheapest manufacturer with an average cost per mile of 12.8 cents. Kia grabbed second place with an average cost of 12.9 cents per mile followed by Hyundai, Volkswagen, Mazda, Subaru, Mitsubishi and Toyota.

The Toyota PriusC was the vehicle with the absolute cheapest fuel cost for each mile driven. Nationally, it only cost 7.2 cents per mile and if you drove the Prius in South Carolina this past month it would only cost 6.5 cents per mile. GasBuddy calculates that a driver of a Prius who put 1,500 miles on the odometer in South Carolina could expect to save $310 on a July gas bill, when compared to a Chevy Suburban driver traveling the same distance in California.

The Chevy Suburban was among several mainstream vehicles that clocked in with an average fuel cost per mile of almost 30 cents. Other expensive choices included the GMC Yukon and Ford E350 van based on national average fuel prices. Driving those vehicles in Hawaii or California yielded per mile costs of 36.1 cents per mile and 33.4 cents per mile respectively.


The fuel mileage based on combined city/highway data for 2013 vehicles is published Manufacturer cost per mile is based on an average of all cars available by the brand of vehicle including different engine options for the same model.

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