TodayApril 17, 2022

Green with gasoline

You Can Be ‘Green’ with Gasoline, Says NADAguides

COSTA MESA, Calif., July 19 — Everybody is going green these days, especially in the automotive world. Hybrid Cars (or Green Cars as they’re commonly known) are typically powered by a combination of gasoline engines and electric motors. At certain times, the electric motor “takes over”, reducing the energy the gasoline engine requires. Because of this, gas-electric Hybrids use less fuel – and emit less harmful pollutants – than standard, gasoline-powered vehicles.

Everybody’s talking about Hybrids too, including Ford Motor Company and Edison International, the parent company of Southern California Edison. The automaker and the electric company recently announced they’re combining resources to make plug-in Hybrid vehicles more accessible to consumers. And actor Rob Lowe is talking about Hybrids, appearing before Congress last week to promote tax credits for people who add a plug-in feature to Hybrid cars and trucks.

The experts at NADAguides are also talking about “Green”. After a recent analysis of fuel economy information in the New and Used car sections of the company’s website, they say car buyers have plenty of options when it comes to saving fuel (and ultimately, the environment) and those options aren’t necessarily limited to only buying Hybrids.

For example, the analysis revealed that seven of the 10 most economical New Cars and seven of the 10 most economical Used Cars at the NADAguides website were standard gasoline-powered vehicles. Of the seven most economical gas-powered New Cars, the average EPA Highway estimate was close to 40 MPG (just seven miles less than the top three Hybrids) and the average EPA City Estimate was almost 32 MPG (about 18 miles less).

Of the seven most economical gas-powered vehicles in the Used Car category, the average EPA Highway estimate was about 50 MPG (roughly seven miles less than the top three Hybrids) and the average EPA City Estimate was 42 MPG (about 14 miles less).

“Even though there are fewer Hybrids produced on the market today than standard gas-powered cars, these numbers are still extremely significant,” said Don Christy, Jr., president, and CEO, NADAguides. “This analysis demonstrates that car buyers have options when it comes to buying an economical car, whether it’s a Hybrid or a standard gas-powered vehicle.”

Results of the recent fuel efficiency analysis at NADAguides follow, with EPA estimates and applicable pricing information included (duplicate models and trims excluded). Christy says it’s important to note that sometimes Hybrids perform better in City driving situations (a common confusion among car buyers) due to the transfer of power from the gasoline engine to the electric motor while the vehicle is stopped and idling.

New Cars with Best Fuel Mileage (EPA Estimates and Base MSRP)

1. 2007 Toyota Prius Hybrid – 51 Highway/60 City – $22,175
2. 2007 Honda Civic Hybrid – 51 Highway/40 City – $22,600
3. 2007 Toyota Corolla – 41 Highway/32 City – $14,305
4. 2007 Toyota Yaris – 40 Highway/34 City – $11,150
5. 2007 MINI Cooper – 40 Highway/32 City – $18,050
6. 2007 Honda Civic Sedan – 40 Highway/30 City – $15,010
7. 2007 Honda Civic Coupe – 40 Highway/30 City – $14,810
8. 2007 Toyota Camry Hybrid – 38 Highway/40 City – $26,200
9. 2007 Honda Fit – 38 Highway/33 City – $13,850
10. 2007 Kia Rio – 38 Highway/32 City – $10,770

Used Cars with Best Fuel Mileage (EPA Estimates and Clean Retail Value, Base Models)

1. 2000 Honda Insight Hybrid – 70 Highway/61 City – $8,025
2. 2006 Toyota Prius Hybrid – 51 Highway/60 City – $21,775
3. 2006 Honda Civic Hybrid – 51 Highway/49 City – $17,310
4. 2004 Honda Civic – 51 Highway/48 City – $11,600
5. 2002 Volkswagen Jetta Wagon – 50 Highway/42 City – $9,000
6. 1998 Volkswagen Passat – 50 Highway/39 City – $5,400
7. 1999 Volkswagen New Beetle – 49 Highway/42 City – $6,025
8. 1999 Volkswagen New Golf – 49 Highway/42 City – $4,875
9. 1998 Chevrolet Metro – 49 Highway/41 City – $2,175
10. 1999 Volkswagen Jetta Sedan – 49 Highway/40 City – $4,275

According to, there are other things consumers can do – in addition to buying an economical car – that can significantly improve their vehicle’s overall fuel efficiency for both Hybrid and gas-powered cars alike.

1. Reduce your Speed

Industry tests prove car buyers can significantly reduce the amount of fuel their vehicles consume simply by reducing their overall driving speeds. Wind drag on a vehicle plays a key role in the amount of gasoline a car uses, so by simply reducing overall driving speeds – even by 10 to 20 MPH on the highway, for example – the amount of wind drag is significantly reduced (which ultimately improves a car’s gas mileage).

2. Drive Consistently

If you drive by frequently speeding up or slowing down, your vehicle’s engine works overtime. By maintaining a consistent speed – especially during highway driving – your car’s engine operates more easily, hence reducing its overall fuel usage.

3. Stop “Stopping” and “Starting”

Abrupt stops and starts cause your engine to work harder too. Being gentle on the pedals, however, reduces the energy your vehicle’s engine expands, thus reducing the amount of fuel it requires. Avoiding abrupt stops and starts by being “ginger” on the pedals helps improve your car’s overall gas mileage.

4. Resist Tire Resistance

Believe it or not, drivers can significantly improve gas mileage simply by maintaining adequate tire pressure. When tires are under-inflated, they create unnecessary “drag” on a vehicle, causing the engine to work harder which negatively impacts the vehicle’s ability to operate efficiently, hence using more fuel. People should refer to their vehicle’s Owner’s Manual for information about proper tire inflation.

5. Lighten your Load

According to industry reports, an extra 100 pounds of “stuff” in your car can reduce your gas mileage by an average of two percent. By lightening your load and removing unnecessary items you haul around in your car, the greater your gas mileage will ultimately be.

While proper driving and maintenance are important things to consider when owning a car, Christy says there are certain issues to take into consideration when actually buying one – especially when it comes to Hybrids.

For starters, Hybrid cars typically cost more due to the advanced technologies required in developing them. Additionally, people say that when it comes to driving a Hybrid vehicle, it takes some getting used to, particularly when power is transferred from the gas-engine to the electric motor. Finally, experts argue automakers aren’t “there” yet when it comes to developing Hybrids, noting the limited choices currently available to car buyers as well as the lackluster performance of some of the most popular models.

“Buying and owning a Hybrid takes consideration,” said Christy. “It’s important for car buyers to do their homework ahead of time, including online research and physical test drives, to determine which car best fit’s their overall needs.”

Lou Ann Hammond

Lou Ann Hammond is the CEO of Carlist and Driving the Nation. She is the co-host of Real Wheels Washington Post carchat every Friday morning and is the Automotive, energy correspondent for The John Batchelor Show and a Contributor to Automotive Electronics magazine headquartered in Korea. Hammond is a founding member of the Women's World Car of the Year #WWCOTY, and board member of the Women in Automotive.

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