Suddenly, it’s cool to drive a more environmentally mindful vehicle. High fuel prices, an unstable oil market, and world political forces are changing attitudes and vehicle preferences as a matter of economic necessity for both consumers and the auto industry. Shopping for a new vehicle today means paying attention not only to purchase price, monthly payments, and insurance costs, but for the first time since the oil crisis of the 1970s, fuel economy as well.
Automakers now have a business case for building fuel efficient cars for the North American market. As demand grows, moving the large number of high mileage cars necessary to maintain profitability becomes easier to achieve. That’s good news for all since greener cars are easier on the environment, conserve natural resources, and save drivers money through lower operating costs.
According to the U.S. Department of Energy, the savings achieved by a car that gets 30 mpg compared to one that gets 20 mpg amounts to $775 per year, assuming 15,000 miles of driving annually and a fuel cost of $3.10. Add this up over the years a vehicle is typically in your driveway and the potential dollar savings is eye-opening.
Selecting a more fuel efficient car, truck, or SUV is a matter of choice and not necessarily price. Here, we’ve singled out 10 mileage standouts at five different price points that start below $15,000 and rise to over $30,000. Other vehicles are offered for consideration at each price level. The top selections aren’t always the two highest fuel economy choices in a price range, but rather the most significant when functionality and drivability are taken into account. Considered, too, are consumer needs ranging from family size to vehicle styling. Clearly, there are lots of choices out there that fit differing needs and “greenness” will always be subjective. Here are 10 of our favorites that won’t steer you wrong. (Ref: yahoo autos)