Gasoline prices have soared over the past two months as the price of crude oil has moved above $65 a barrel. That means crude has jumped more than 70% since early November. The average price for a gallon of regular nationwide currently tops $2.75, up from $2.50 a month ago. Gas prices exceed $3 in nine states. Some analysts believe the $3 a gallon price will be the nationwide average by Memorial Day.
As gas prices rise, so do the sales of hybrids and electric cars. Tesla shipped 500,000 cars in the United States last year, a record. The manufacturer expects that to jump by 50% in 2021. Tesla has an emerging group of competitors, led by Volkswagen, the world’s biggest car company. All these car companies have taken the gamble that tens of millions of electric cars will be sold each year before the end of this decade.
Thirty years ago, particularly during the oil crisis in 1979, the only way to save money on gas was to buy a car with a small engine. That helped push the sales of Volkswagens and Japanese imports. The ability to save on gas changed with the introduction of the Toyota Prius, a hybrid, in 2001. Its engine ran partially on gas and partially on an electric engine.
The hybrid’s range has improved with the introduction of more advanced batteries. Some of the newest electric cars require no gas engine at all. Cars.com combed through plug-in hybrid vehicles, traditional hybrids and “gas-only” cars to find the most fuel-efficient car in America.
To determine the most fuel-efficient car in America, Cars.com used EPA data for 2021 models. The vehicle that came out on top was the Toyota Prius Prime at the equivalent of 133 miles per gallon. The editors wrote:
The plug-in version of Toyota’s popular hybrid hatchback uses a 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine that works with an electric motor, a rechargeable battery pack you can plug in and a CVT-style automatic transmission. On a full charge, the Prius Prime has 25 miles of electric-only range and, once its battery is depleted, a 54 mpg combined rating. That’s good for a total range of 640 miles, according to the EPA, and a 133 mpg-equivalent rating.
The base price for the Toyota Prius Prime is $28,220. The Limited model, with a number of accessories, pushes the price to $37,873. That figure is not much greater than the average price of a new car sold in America, which is about $33,000.
The Cars.com five most fuel-efficient cars are all plug-in hybrids:
1. Toyota Prius Prime: 133 mpg-equivalent
2. Hyundai Ioniq Plug-In Hybrid: 119 mpg-e
3. Honda Clarity Plug-In Hybrid: 110 mpg-e
4. Kia Niro Plug-In Hybrid: 105 mpg-e
5. BMW i3: 100 miles per gallon-e
Honda is the second-largest Japanese car company after Toyota. Hyundai and Kia are the two South Korean car companies that sell cars in America. BMW, along with Mercedes and Lexus, sells the most luxury cars in the United States.
Fuel-efficient cars have two advantages. The first is fuel savings. The second is that many of them are not expensive compared to typical car prices.
Click here to see which is the fastest-selling car in America.
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