Even though the price of a gallon of gasoline has dropped in recent weeks, fuel economy remains a primary concern for many new car buyers. Combine high gas prices with the economic downturn, and getting excellent gas mileage is not just a preference for many Americans, it’s a necessity.
It used to be that 40-plus miles per gallon was only possible with a diesel-fueled vehicle or a gas-electric hybrid. Now it’s possible to get this kind of fuel economy with gasoline-powered cars. Expect more models that will reach this benchmark to be introduced to the U.S. market over the next year as carmakers focus on fuel economy as a necessary ingredient for cutting-edge vehicle design. In the meantime, here are six vehicles, available now, that have an EPA rating of 40 miles per gallon or higher:
2011 Chevrolet Cruze Eco
2011 Chevrolet Cruze EcoEnlarge Photo
This Chevrolet entry in the fuel economy sweepstakes has been a runaway winner. It holds the record for the highest highway EPA rating for a gasoline-powered sedan with 28 mpg city, 42 highway. Note that this mileage is only available with a manual transmission. Most of the other vehicles listed below achieve the posted gas mileage with an automatic transmission. 90 percent of car sold in the U.S. have an automatic transmission.
2012 Honda Civic
2012 Honda CivicEnlarge Photo
The Civic HF model has an aerodynamic package that boosts gas mileage from the regular Civics’ 39 mpg highway to an impressive 41 mpg. It's rated at 29 miles per gallon in city driving. With the 2012 model, the Civic has been completely redesigned and better gas mileage is just one of the benefits drivers receive.
2012 Hyundai Accent
2012 Hyundai AccentEnlarge Photo
If you like “smaller,” then the Accent may be for you. The Hyundai Accent is rated at 30 mpg city and 40 highway with either a manual or automatic transmission. Hyundai is making a huge name for itself in the U.S. auto market with its stylish and fuel-efficient vehicles. The Accent, though in short supply at the moment at most dealerships across the country, is highly regarded in this class of inexpensive sub-compacts.