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Home » Auto Ownership, Eco-Friendly Savings

The Most Fuel Efficient Cars of 2014

Last updated by on 6 Comments

A Good Year for Fuel Efficient Cars

If you’re looking for a place to start your research on the most fuel efficient cars of 2014, you’re in the right place, as I will highlight the top 15 cars with the best gas mileage this year in a bit. It turns out this is a great year for improved mileage.

Why does fuel efficiency matter?

According to the latest J.D. Power Avoider study, fuel efficiency is the the #1 automotive purchase consideration:

“Gas mileage remains the most influential purchase reason, with 15 percent of new-vehicle owners in 2013 saying it was the primary reason for purchasing their vehicle. Although young owners (under age 25) cite gas mileage as the most influential purchase reason more often than their older counterparts, owners in all age groups indicate gas mileage is the most influential purchase reason.”

Many people’s budgets are stretched thin – and fuel efficiency means cost savings to consumers. Gas is still hovering in that $3.50 range, and there is little doubt that continued economic improvement will push it north of $4 per gallon again.

Then there’s that little destruction of the entire planet and human race matter. Whatever the motivation – everyone but big oil and the middle east benefits when we reduce our independence on fossil fuels.

The auto industry is paying attention, not only because consumers want it, but so does the government, and even automakers to an extent (they like standards, even if difficult to obtain). In 2012, the auto industry and government agreed to set a landmark new U.S. fuel efficiency standard for fleets of 54.5 mpg by 2025.

We still have a long way to go, as the fleetwide fuel efficiency average for vehicles in the U.S. last year reached 24.6 miles per gallon. Sadly, that is an all-time high. But help is on the way!

New Fuel-Efficient Car Prices Keep Dropping

most fuel efficient carsDue to increased competition (6 brand new model vehicles make this year’s list of the most fuel efficient cars), and declining battery technology prices, a number of the vehicles on this list have dramatically decreased their price over previous model years. In particular, the Chevy Volt and Mitsubishi i-MiEV will both see their MSRP’s drop by over $5,000. You just don’t see that on standard gasoline engine models – prices typically increase year/year.

If you are in the market for a new car, in some cases (Prius C, Mitsubishi i-MiEV, and Chevy Spark), it might actually make economic sense to consider these cars, after tax credits, as their prices are close to the range of the cheapest new cars. You used to have to pay an extreme premium for fuel efficiency, but times have changed. Now, while still rare, both your conscience and your bank account could benefit from fuel efficiency.

As with the list of last year’s most fuel efficient cars, electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids are starting to take over the list. Gas-only engines have been completely knocked off the list. Electric vehicles, once a fringe halo product, are now starting to enter the mainstream. Just about every major automaker has at least one in their fleet – and those who do not have one in the works.

A Look at the Mileage & Other Metrics

Fuel economy, CO2 emission, and annual fuel cost metrics were gathered from the EPA’s fueleconomy.gov site. Annual fuel costs listed are based on 45% highway, 55% city driving, 15,000 annual miles and a gasoline price of $3.24 per gallon and electricity price of $0.12 per kWh. If you have different driving habits, you can plug them in to their calculator for each model to run the numbers.

If you’re a badass who charges your electric vehicle via solar or wind power, the number listed is what you would save versus charging via some dirty old fossil fuel alternative. The same goes for CO2 emissions.

For MSRP’s, I have listed the actual MSRP prior to any federal or state tax credits. There is still federal electric car tax credit of up to $7,500 (depends on your tax situation) available to Energy Star approved electric vehicles. Tax credits are phased out for an automaker when they have produced their 200,000th electric vehicle. No automaker is close to that number yet.

The Most Fuel Efficient Cars of 2014:

Without further ado, here are the top 15 fuel efficient cars of 2014, for least to most efficient.

15. Ford Fusion Hybrid

  • 2014 Ford Fusion HybridMSRP (before tax credit or other incentives): $27,280
  • Engine: Gas-Electric Hybrid
  • Combined MPG: 47
  • City MPG: 47
  • Highway MPG: 47
  • Annual Fuel Cost: $1050
  • CO2 Emissions: 190 grams/mile
  • Comments: A big price drop of $5,715 year/year, makes the 2014 Fusion hybrid much more competitive with the Prius lineup, price-wise.

14. Toyota Prius C Hybrid

  • 2014 Toyota Prius CMSRP (before tax credit or other incentives): $19,080
  • Engine: Gas-Electric Hybrid
  • Combined MPG: 50
  • City MPG: 53
  • Highway MPG: 46
  • Annual Fuel Cost: $950
  • CO2 Emissions: 178 grams/mile
  • Comments: One of last year’s new Toyota Prius line extensions, the 2014 Prius C gets a combined 50 mpg. And all for less than $20,000, making it a very strong value.

13. Toyota Prius Hybrid

  • 2014 Toyota PriusMSRP (before tax credit or other incentives): $24,200
  • Engine: Gas-Electric Hybrid
  • Combined MPG: 50
  • City MPG: 51
  • Highway MPG: 48
  • Annual Fuel Cost: $950
  • CO2 Emissions: 175 grams/mile
  • Comments: The one that started it all! The Prius is still a very strong seller, but if you’re looking for value, the Prius C might be a better buy.

12. Toyota Prius Plugin

  • 2014 Toyota Prius PluginMSRP (before tax credit or other incentives): $29,990
  • Engine: Plugin Gas-Electric Hybrid
  • Combined MPG: 58
  • City MPG: 59
  • Highway MPG: 56
  • Annual Fuel Cost: $850
  • CO2 Emissions: 175 grams/mile
  • Comments: Still hard to justify the pricing of the Prius plugin vs. the regular Prius or Prius C models, for only an 8 MPG gain. It does have an 11 mile range, so if most of your driving is very short distances, it might make sense.

11. Ford Fusion Energi Plugin

  • 2014 Ford Fusion EnergiMSRP (before tax credit or other incentives): $34,700
  • Engine: Plugin Gas-Electric Hybrid
  • Combined MPG: 58
  • City MPG: 63
  • Highway MPG: 54
  • Annual Fuel Cost: $900
  • CO2 Emissions: 133 grams/mile
  • Comments: The Ford Fusion now has a plugin gas-electric hybrid. It’s 21 mile range almost doubles the plugin Prius range of 11 miles – but the sticker price is almost $5k higher.

10. Chevy Volt

  • 2014 Chevy VoltMSRP (before tax credit or other incentives): $34,185
  • Engine: Plugin Gas-Electric Hybrid
  • Combined MPG: 62
  • City MPG: 63
  • Highway MPG: 61
  • Annual Fuel Cost Equivalent: $900
  • CO2 Emissions: 81 grams/mile
  • Comments: The Chevy Volt MSRP drops by $5,810 from last year’s model. The Volt is also eligible for a $7,500 electric vehicle tax credit. The Volt has an impressive 38 miles range on electricity before the gas engine kicks in – highest in its class.

9. Toyota Rav4 EV

  • 2014 Toyota Rav4 EVMSRP (before tax credit or other incentives): $49,800
  • Engine: Electric
  • Combined MPG: 76
  • City MPG: 78
  • Highway MPG: 74
  • Annual Fuel Cost Equivalent: $800
  • CO2 Emissions: 0 grams/mile, if charged via solar or wind
  • Comments: The new Toyota Rav4 EV won’t win eMPG awards, but it comes in at a lofty 103 mile range. Impressive, for its size, when you consider that most much smaller EV cars are below 70 eMPG.

8. Tesla Model S

  • 2014 Tesla Model SMSRP (before tax credit or other incentives): $62,400
  • Engine: Electric
  • Combined MPG: 95
  • City MPG: 94
  • Highway MPG: 97
  • Annual Fuel Cost Equivalent: $650
  • CO2 Emissions: 0 grams/mile, if charged via solar or wind
  • Comments: Tesla killed the 40kWh battery version of the Model S, which was $20,000 cheaper than the 60 kWh battery version. The result, is you have a much more unaccessible price for a large majority of the population. Maybe that was the intent, hmmm…..

7. Ford Focus EV

  • 2014 Ford Focus EVMSRP (before tax credit or other incentives): $35,170
  • Engine: Electric
  • Combined MPG: 105
  • City MPG: 110
  • Highway MPG: 99
  • Annual Fuel Cost Equivalent: $600
  • CO2 Emissions: 0 grams/mile, if charged via solar or wind
  • Comments: The new Ford Focus EV hits the market for the first time, and sports an impressive 105 eMPG and a 76 mile range.

6. Smart ForTwo EV

  • 2014 Smart ForTwo EVMSRP (before tax credit or other incentives): $25,750
  • Engine: Electric
  • Combined MPG: 107
  • City MPG: 122
  • Highway MPG: 93
  • Annual Fuel Cost Equivalent: $600
  • CO2 Emissions: 0 grams/mile, if charged via solar or wind
  • Comments: The new Smart ForTwo EV’s are currently only available for sales in CA, CT, MA, MD, ME, NJ, NY, OR, RI.

5. Mitsubishi i-MiEV

  • 2014 Mitsubishi i-MiEVMSRP (before tax credit or other incentives): $22,995
  • Engine: Electric
  • Combined MPG: 112
  • City MPG: 126
  • Highway MPG: 99
  • Annual Fuel Cost Equivalent: $550
  • CO2 Emissions: 0 grams/mile, if charged via solar or wind
  • Comments: Next generation launches this spring with a massive price cut of $6,130. This brings the i-MiEV MSRP, with $7,500 federal tax credit, down to $15,495 – making this vehicle not only economical in fuel economy, but also in overall price.

4. Nissan Leaf

  • 2014 Nissan LeafMSRP (before tax credit or other incentives): $28,800
  • Engine: Electric
  • Combined MPG: 115
  • City MPG: 129
  • Highway MPG: 102
  • Annual Fuel Cost Equivalent: $500
  • CO2 Emissions: 0 grams/mile, if charged via solar or wind
  • Comments: The #1 selling electric vehicle is going through a 2014 redesign. Mileage shown is for the 2013 model. The new 2014 redesigned Leaf will hit dealerships in the Spring.

3. Fiat 500E

  • 2014 Fiat 500eMSRP (before tax credit or other incentives): $31,800
  • Engine: Electric
  • Combined MPG: 116
  • City MPG: 122
  • Highway MPG: 108
  • Annual Fuel Cost Equivalent: $500
  • CO2 Emissions: 0 grams/mile, if charged via solar or wind
  • Comments: Another new vehicle – Fiat turns its increasingly popular 500 line in to an EV.

2. Honda Fit EV

  • 2014 Honda Fit EVMSRP (before tax credit or other incentives): $36,625
  • Engine: Electric
  • Combined MPG: 118
  • City MPG: 132
  • Highway MPG: 105
  • Annual Fuel Cost Equivalent: $500
  • CO2 Emissions: 0 grams/mile, if charged via solar or wind
  • Comments: Another all new vehicle, the 2014 Honda Fit EV is in very limited production of only 40 vehicles per month, and is only available on lease. MSRP is listed off of a lease price of $389 per month. Seems like Honda is dipping one toe in on electric cars at this point, still.

1. Chevy Spark EV

  • 2014 Chevy Spark EVMSRP (before tax credit or other incentives): $26,685
  • Engine: Electric
  • Combined MPG: 119
  • City MPG: 128
  • Highway MPG: 109
  • Annual Fuel Cost Equivalent: $500
  • CO2 Emissions: 0 grams/mile, if charged via solar or wind
  • Comments: The brand new Chevy Spark EV vaults to the #1 spot, with a combined 119 eMPG. It’s price, with a $7,500 tax credit applied, knocks it below $20,000. For urban dwellers, it might be worth a strong look as a primary vehicle.

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About the Author
I am G.E. Miller, & this is my story. My goal is financial independence ASAP. If you share that goal, join me & 7,500+ others by getting FREE email updates. You'll also find every post by category & every post in order.


6 Comments »
  • Hank says:

    76 mile range on a Focus EV? I drive a Jetta Sportwagen TDI that cost a lot less, provides a 500+ mile range, and actually runs on “fuel”.

    • G.E. Miller says:

      I would rather run on battery than diesel – but yes, the range pretty much limits the car to commutes/around town travel.

      • Hank says:

        Thanks for the reply. I enjoy clean diesel because of the torque & pep in driving and the fact I don’t have to stop to recharge or refuel. 76 mile range is ridiculous. A way commutes to a job can be 50 miles or more.

        I saved 2+ years worth of fuel I consume with a lower purchase cost over a battery powered car that’s not nearly as fun to drive.

        Did they resume production of the Chevy Volt? I have seen maybe 10 of them in the last couple years.

  • Shaun says:

    G.E.,

    I regularly agree with what you have to say but on this post I do not.

    1 of 15 under $20,000.

    3 of 15 under $25,000.

    8 of 15 cars are under $30,000.

    When you are promoting frugal-ness, this push of cars that are not the most affordable is rather mis-leading. Not to mention, any EV is not able to make long distance trips. Then what is someone to do that needs to travel on a 500 mile trip?

    I agree with Hank, I would much rather drive a TDI vehicle than an electric any day. However, I do not see a luxury car (Audi, BMW, Mercedes) as an affordable option. Nor do I see VW as a reliable option. Many owners own them without issue, however many owner own them with significant issues as well.

    One of the most interesting new cars to me is the Chevy Cruse Diesel as one of the most interesting cars of 2014. It starts at $24,310 according to Chevy’s website today and you have none of the fear of your high voltage battery having to be replaced or the adverse affects of weather on battery life.

    Having driven a hybrid for some time this winter during the polar vertex and normal winter days, the drop in fuel economy can be quite drastic.

    So when looking at these fuel economies, one must really look at their environment. If you live in the cold snowy north, you will have trouble achieving posted MPG numbers in winter. If you live the warm humid south east, you will have trouble achieving MPG numbers in the summer. If you live in the perfect EV climate, you will still have trouble meeting the posted MPG due to the recent changes in the EPA’s testing regime.

    • G.E. Miller says:

      Let me be clear – this article is not a promo to go out and buy one of these vehicles for frugality’s sake. Rather, I find the push for more fuel efficiency incredibly interesting – and doing this post every year is a lot of fun for me. I’ve made impact reduction a huge part of this blog over the years. It’s only a matter of time before fuel efficiency gains trickle down to entry level cars.

      • Shaun says:

        Fair enough. Increases in fuel economy is an interesting discussion , however these vehicle have very little impact on the average person around the world.

        Have you thought about adding a comparison of best year over year increases using a realistic measure like gallons per 100 miles or MPG per purchase dollar? Yes, you already have a cheapest vehicles of the year. However for families that is not always a usable factor with how small they are or are only two seats (Smart). Not to mention ease of getting small children in and out of car seats.

        When you start looking at that gallons per 100 miles the increases year over year, costs and actual usage takes a different look. Especially when looking at overall market mileage.

        For instance, a car that has 50 mpg uses 2 gallons per 100 miles (take reciprocal of MPG and multiply by 100, in this case the math is (1/50 MPG)*100=2 gallons/ mile.) Another vehicle with 20 MPG uses 5 gallons per 100 miles.

        Let’s say the 50 MPG car goes to 55 MPG, this results in 1.818 gallons per 100 miles. Take a vehicle with 20 MPG and go to 22 MPG and that is 4.545 gallons per 100 miles.

        So taking a very fuel efficient car and get 10% more fuel efficient saves you 0.182 gallons per 100 miles or 27.3 gallons per 15,000 miles. Yet, when you get 10% more fuel efficiency out of a 20 MPG vehicle you save 0.455 gallon per 100 miles or 68.25 gallons per 15,000 miles. (Note 15,000 miles is a rough average annual miles driven).

        I find that when looking at cars and evaluating the proposition between gaining 15-20% in the same size car (using 7 year old model based on average of American fleet) or going to a size larger to accommodate a family and getting 5-10% more interesting.

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