Most fuel-efficient vehicles for 2011

037_2010_Prius-prvI stumbled onto this report while thinking of my coworker, who’s in the market for a new car. He’s not dazzled by models that come completely tricked out, but he is looking for something that’s comfortable and gas-efficient above all else.

Kiplinger’s Most Fuel-Efficient cars for 2011 include the Honda Insight, the Ford Escape Hybrid and the Toyota Prius (51 miles per gallon in the city? Are you kidding me?). But be sure to check out the whole list. They pick a leader in each category, including trucks, crossovers and minivans as well.

Do you save money with a fuel-efficient vehicle? If not, would it factor into your decision the next time you purchased a car?

In the meantime, you can use our interactive map to find the cheapest gas in Atlanta.

– By Lauren Davidson, Atlanta Bargain Hunter

See a great deal I should know about? Email me at ldavidson@ajc.com. You can also follow me on Facebook or on Twitter @atlbargains.

28 comments Add your comment

NorthGAgirl

February 7th, 2011
9:05 am

We have 2 Priuses and absolutely LOVE them. Before buying our first one, between 3 vehicles (one of which commuted 150 miles a day) our gas bill was around $700 a month after the purchase it was around $400. Upon retirement we anticipate spending about $80 a month in gas. We average overall around 48 mpg. We have decided that we will always have a Prius until something much better comes along.

Michael

February 7th, 2011
9:08 am

How do those Prius batteries hold up and what do replacements cost?

Freedom Lover

February 7th, 2011
9:25 am

The Mini Cooper Countryman gets 63 mpg but thanks to the federal government and various state laws, we can’t buy one here. Plenty of other great gas mileage cars that run on clean diesel that our government (you remember the folks that lie about our supposed freedom) keep us from having access to.
http://www.lewrockwell.com/peters-e/peters-e16.1.html – great article on the subject.

NorthGAgirl

February 7th, 2011
9:56 am

The warranty on the batteries is 150,000 miles. We traded the first one(for another Prius of course) when it was almost there. We now have 113,000 on the second and 32,000 on the newest (2009). Getting ready to take a road trip to Arizona in a few months. it’ll be interesting to see our gas bill on this trip.

Cool Jerk

February 7th, 2011
10:03 am

Michael has a good question there…I’ve been curious about buying a hybrid because I live about an hour from my job and the fuel efficiency would certainly help.

I’d like to know from someone who owns one if the cars have added maintenance/repair issues…

Ol' Country

February 7th, 2011
10:03 am

I hadn’t had a little car since I sold my Ford Pinto in “75. It was a purdy good car but not too comfortable. I don’t think I’d buy another one.

NorthGAgirl

February 7th, 2011
10:17 am

We have had no problems out of our 3. My husband does all the regular vehicle maintenance. There are a few more things involved. You have two motors (electric and gas). So there are things that could go wrong with either. BTW we have had no problem with the gas pedal on either LOL.

[...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by ScoopMama, ATL Bargain Hunter. ATL Bargain Hunter said: Trying to save money at the pump? Most fuel-efficient cars for 2011: http://bit.ly/fM1n9p #51mpg [...]

Cool Choul

February 7th, 2011
2:36 pm

I just bought the Ford Fusion Hybrid. It’s outstanding! I’m getting better mileage than the EPA ratings. I drove 30 miles on 0.6 gallons. 49.167 mpg in the city baby! If you can keep your speed under 47 mph, it runs mainly on electric power.

mrcliff

February 8th, 2011
7:35 am

NorthAgirl, my wife and I are shopping for a good used Prius, but besides the cost of battery replacement, we also read from some Prius owners that the cost of replacing a headlamp is way too costly too. Can you verify?

Ronin

February 8th, 2011
7:56 am

@freedom lover. Interesting link about the Mini. The technology is out there, just not used here in the US. Many cars in Europe are manual shift, which would not fly here. Still the drive here seems to be toward the hybrid.
The Prius is a great car, but there is a reason that people often trade them at 150k miles when the battery warranty is finished, as they are VERY expensive to replace.

Buzz G

February 8th, 2011
8:02 am

Those of you who like these death traps, fine for you. Just don’t pass laws to force the rest of us to drive these things. You would never do that? Just look at what you whacky environmentalists have done with the light bulb.

SWAT Native

February 8th, 2011
8:08 am

I just bought a used Prius a couple weeks ago. So far it’s been great. The thing I’ve noticed about the Prius is that the mileage you get depends on how you drive. If you still do the jackrabbit starts and accelerate quickly on the highway it kind of defeats the purpose. There’s a screen on the dash that tells you instantly what kind of mileage you’ll get based on how you’re driving at the moment. So far, I’m getting mileage in the 40’s. Also, the Prius is much bigger on the inside than it seems on the outside. There are a few Prius bulletin boards on the net, and based on what I’ve been reading people are not experiencing the maintenance issues you may be concerned about. In fact, I haven’t heard of anyone that has had to replace a battery, even after 200k miles. Some, but not all, have xenon headlights that I understand are expensive to replace.

Freedom Lover

February 8th, 2011
8:23 am

Ronin – I drive a stick Camry and love it. But the reality is that if there were freedom in this country the manufacturers would deliver the products that consumers desired. Just because stick is favored in europe doesn’t mean the automatic transmissions don’t exist or wouldn’t be prevalent in this country. The hybrids are favored BECAUSE WE DONT HAVE A CHOICE. Government Motors (GM) and other american automakers and policy controller types decided that electric/hybrid was what we were going to get and they did whatever to make sure alternatives were not available. I read two years ago about a Honda that was fuel cell powered and that had a home power plant that allowed you to fuel up at home and even power your house with the technology. BMW had a similar product. Now, not a word about it. The government buys GM and suddenly the competition is silenced. Energy policy in this country is anything but free, and anything but consumer driven. From one end of the government to the other the oil companies, the car companies, and the energy companies have all the friends they need to make sure that their “monopoly” is secure from innovation and competition.

Ramblin' Jacket

February 8th, 2011
8:27 am

I am fortunate enough to be able to spend about 10% of my time working in Europe. I have driven many rental turbo-diesel cars over the years, and they get great fuel milage – in many cases equal to hybrids without the battery issues. Also, with many of them, you can’t tell that they are diesels until you fill them up. They are quick and fast; in fact, I drove one on the German autobahn at 240 kph. Seems like the way to go to me.

Dublin Dawg

February 8th, 2011
8:32 am

I make my own biodiesel @ 60 cents to $1 a gallon. We bought a tough 98 E300 mercedes for my wife and I drive a diesel work van. I make enough extra biodiesel to sell , which pays for all my supplies and puts extra money in my pocket. So, really I drive for free and get paid to do it.

Call it like it is

February 8th, 2011
8:37 am

Battery on the Prius is around $3000.00 installed, The lamps are around $800.00. The thing with these cars is that if any issue arrives they need to go to a certified bodyshop that can handle ele vehicles. If the battery is not disconnected correctly and put on a charger while veh is being worked on, it will lose its charge and have to be replaced. Also there is the issue for the tree huggers that drive these vehicle, what do you think happens with that $3000 battery when it is of no further use? If you get one, dont toy with it, and dont touch any bright orange wires. These are the main battery wires and the current going through will kill you, if you touch it wrong.

UNaffiliated Voter

February 8th, 2011
8:52 am

Is it true that tow trucks wont tow a Prius for fear of electrocution?

Don

February 8th, 2011
9:00 am

Morons! The battery packs are recycled. I have a friend with 275,000 miles on a Prius. Even if they failed now, he’s made out. But there’s no sign of that. His goal is 500,000 miles.

Call it like it is

February 8th, 2011
9:00 am

“Is it true that tow trucks wont tow a Prius for fear of electrocution?”

No.

Don

February 8th, 2011
9:00 am

Dublin Dawg: BRILLIANT!

Don

February 8th, 2011
9:03 am

fuel cells are great. But the market for a car which you can only fuel at your house is limited. Once there is a hydrogen infrastructure, power cells are viable.

Don

February 8th, 2011
9:05 am

Freedom Lover: Cars in Europe get much better mileage. But while you’re talking about things that are available in Europe and not here, you might mention mass transit.

Junior Samples

February 8th, 2011
9:11 am

Settle down about the battery. My 2006 Escape Hybrid battery is just fine.

Bill

February 8th, 2011
9:15 am

There are cars currently available in Europe that average up to 80 mpg. They have clean diesels, and are rated with good performance http://www.telegraph.co.uk/motoring/picturegalleries/8298652/The-most-economical-cars-on-sale.html Makes us in the US wonder who is behind not allowing them to be imported here. They are all made by mainstream manufacturers, including Ford, and would seem to be a way to move us forward from the 30 mpg average here.

Ronin

February 8th, 2011
10:22 am

@freedom lover: I also drive a stick ( Maxima).

your statement of:
“From one end of the government to the other the oil companies, the car companies, and the energy companies have all the friends they need to make sure that their “monopoly” is secure from innovation and competition.”

pretty much sums it up.

Too many people/companies have too much invested to allow a car like the Mini at 63 mpg.

As far as the fuel cell by Honda, If it was that efficient. It would crush not only the oil industry but also the natural gas biz. Millions of jobs would be lost in those industries, but more would be created via the new technology for efficient fuel cell energy.

gina

February 8th, 2011
8:04 pm

I get about 50 mpg around town with my 2010 Prius. As another person mentioned, the dashboard display helps you drive in the most fuel efficient way. I really enjoy seeing how high I can get the mpg to go. I am totally happy with this car so far.

Squeak

February 9th, 2011
11:27 am

I like the gas pedal too much, and spend way too much time on the highway to splurge on a Prius. Hybrids in general are outside of my budget though – so I have a 2008 Scion xD instead. I average somewhere around 33mpg even with a lead foot and a lot of time in the left lanes, and so far the biggest bill I’ve had was for having tires put on it.

While hybrids may be more environmentally friendly on the roads, until their sticker prices and maintenance costs come down to a figure us poor people can afford, I’m going to stick to a car that I know I can buy parts for without signing over organs and appendages.

Also, Popular Mechanics has an article about why more diesel powered cars aren’t available in the US. http://www.popularmechanics.com/cars/alternative-fuel/diesel/4330313