Find a Fuel-Efficient Car

Reader Contribution by Megan E. Phelps
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Just about everyone wants to save money on gas. Choosing an electric or hybrid-electric car, or a fuel-efficient gas or diesel vehicle, will conserve energy and save you money on fuel. And in theory, selecting a fuel-efficient car is simple, right? All you have to do is look for a vehicle that gets great gas mileage. 

But when you actually go shopping for a car, fuel economy is almost never the only factor you look at — you also want to find a car that meets your specific needs. Price is always an important consideration, as is safety, and the size and functionality of the vehicle. When you start looking at all the variables, it can feel overwhelming. But don’t get discouraged! Taking a little time to find the most fuel-efficient vehicle that works for you is worth it, and there’s some terrific information online that can help you put all the pieces together quickly and easily. 

A good first stop is this resource from the U.S. Department of Energy because it puts all the relevant information in one place. If you’re not sure where to start, you can browse by vehicle type, or check out the list of best and worst gas mileage for vehicles of each size class. You can also look up any specific vehicle that you’re interested in, including both new and used vehicles. You’ll immediately see a photo of the vehicle and the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) numbers on average mpg. When available, the price information is also right up front.

However, as you go in deeper, and keep clicking through menus, there’s a lot of other good information available. For electric vehicles, you get the mpg equivalent and kilowatt-hours per mile, plus useful information on vehicle range and recharge time. For all vehicles, you get helpful specifications, such as total passenger volume and cargo space, plus the EPA’s air pollution scores, and safety ratings from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Some of this information is also available on other government websites, so if you’re not finding the safety information you want, you can find even more information here from the U.S. Department of Transportation. For model years of 2012 and before, you may also want to check out the EPA’s Green Vehicle Guide. These pages include environmental info on each vehicle, including ratings on how much air pollution and greenhouse gases each one produces. Starting with the 2013 models, this information is now found here.

This blog is part of the MOTHER EARTH NEWS guide Find the Best Green Products and Services

Photo by Fotolia/Maridav

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