The Most Fuel-Efficient Cars of 2019

I am a fuel economy nerd, so I like to research and keep up with the new technology in the market. In this post, I will list out the top 10 most fuel-efficient cars of 2019 sold in the U.S. market.




As you saw recently, I also keep track of the cheapest new cars for many of the same reasons – I love seeing technological improvements that squeeze out more efficiency. And with all of the climate change warnings we’ve seen in the past year, I think that there is an urgency to advance our vehicle fleet to a much more efficient one.

For this list, I scanned for the best fuel economy across each type of powertrain – electric, plug-in hybrid, and gas-electric hybrids. As fate would have it, the 10 most efficient vehicles are all electric drive at this point. As a personal finance writer, I should note that due to their pricey battery packs, electric vehicles are still more expensive than their gasoline counterparts. Only a handful of the vehicles that I will highlight would actually make economic sense to purchase today when you look at total cost of ownership – even with $7,500 federal tax credits still out there. That gap is closing, however.

most fuel efficient cars 2019Despite another year of cheap fuel prices, 2019 will see a few new entrants to this list of the most fuel-efficient cars – the Kia Niro, Hyundai Kona, and Honda Clarity. Additionally, a few of the models come with upgraded battery packs and driving range.

A few years back, the auto industry and government came to a landmark agreement on a new U.S. fuel efficiency standard for fleets of 54.5 mpg by 2025 and these new vehicles are signs of progress towards those benchmarks. But the average sales-weighted fleet fuel efficiency, after reaching a high 2 years ago of almost 26 mpg, has declined back to 25 mpg over the last 2 years as Americans have fallen in love with SUV’s and trucks again. And to make matters worse, the Trump Administration has proposed to roll back the new fuel efficiency standards last year.

Despite these setbacks, automakers seem convinced that the future is electrified. Ford is investing $11 billion into electric vehicles and plans to have 40 electric or hybrid vehicles by 2022. Volvo announced that all of its vehicles introduced from 2019 onward will be electric or hybrid, and they will be adding 5 new fully-electric models by 2021. GM has stated it is planning to launch “at least 20” new electric vehicles by 2023. VW has said it will make its last gas combustion vehicle in 2026 as it moves to electric. And Aston Martin and Jaguar Land Rover have made similar announcements.

Mileage, Cost, & Other Metrics

For the specs listed below, fuel economy, CO2 emissions (in grams/mile), 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 $0.13 per kWh of electricity.




For MSRP, I have listed the price prior to any federal or state tax credits, which could greatly reduce cost. There is still a federal electric vehicle tax credit of up to $7,500 (depends on your tax situation) available for purchases on approved electric vehicles. Tax credits are phased out for an automaker when they have produced their 200,000th electric vehicle – and for the first time, a few automakers have passed that mark. Tesla models will be eligible for a reduced $3,750 credit starting in January of 2019, while GM credits will drop to that level starting in April.

Additionally, there are state electric vehicle tax credits available to many Americans that could be additive to federal credits.

The Most Fuel-Efficient Cars of 2019 Sold in the US:

Here are the top 10 most fuel-efficient cars of 2019 sold in the United States, from least to most fuel-efficient.

10. Kia Niro EV

  • 2019 Kia Niro EVMSRP (before tax credits or other incentives): TBD, but expected to be under $40K, prior to tax credit.
  • Engine: Electric Drive
  • Combined MPG: 112
  • City MPG: 123
  • Highway MPG: 102
  • Annual Fuel Cost: $600
  • CO2 Emissions: 0 grams/mile
  • Battery Range: 239 miles
  • Overview: The new Kia Niro is very similar to Kia’s sister brand’s early 2019 release – the Hyundai Kona. The Niro also launches in early 2019. It boasts slightly less impressive specs when compared to the Kona.

9. Fiat 500e

  • 2019 Fiat 500eMSRP (before tax credits or other incentives): $32,995
  • Engine: Electric Drive
  • Combined MPG: 112
  • City MPG: 121
  • Highway MPG: 103
  • Annual Fuel Cost: $600
  • CO2 Emissions: 0 grams/mile
  • Battery Range: 84 miles
  • Overview: Not that impressive. At its size, the price and range for the Fiat 500e could both be a lot better for this vehicle.

8. Nissan Leaf

  • 2019 Nissan LeafMSRP (before tax credits or other incentives): $30,875
  • Engine: Electric Drive
  • Combined MPG: 112
  • City MPG: 124
  • Highway MPG: 99
  • Annual Fuel Cost: $600
  • CO2 Emissions: 0 grams/mile
  • Battery Range: 150 miles
  • Overview: From 2010-2017, the Nissan Leaf was the #1 selling electric car globally. But, it may have runs its course, despite a much-improved redesign last year, the Leaf dropped to #8 on the list of best-selling electric vehicles. The Leaf still does offer an exceptional value among the vehicles on this list.

7. BMW i3

  • 2019 BMW i3MSRP (before tax credits or other incentives): $45,455
  • Engine: Electric Drive
  • Combined MPG: 113
  • City MPG: 124
  • Highway MPG: 102
  • Annual Fuel Cost: $550
  • CO2 Emissions: 0 grams/mile
  • Battery Range: 153 miles
  • Overview: Standard MSRP listed above. There is a range-extender version of this vehicle, which uses a 2 cylinder gas engine to extend the electric power drive for up to a 200 mile range. The price on the range-extender version bumps the car up to a $49,295 MSRP.

6. Honda Clarity EV

  • 2019 Honda Clarity EVMSRP (before tax credits or other incentives): $34,290
  • Engine: Electric Drive
  • Combined MPG: 114
  • City MPG: 126
  • Highway MPG: 103
  • Annual Fuel Cost: $600
  • CO2 Emissions: 0 grams/mile
  • Battery Range: 89 miles
  • Overview: The Clarity was a surprise entrant in recent years and has developed a cult following and is somehow the 7th best-selling electric vehicle in the US, despite only being sold in California and Oregon. Last year’s Honda Clarity is spec’ed above. 2019 is expected to be the same vehicle, but Honda may surprise. The 89 mile range does need improvement.

5. VW e-Golf

  • 2019 VW e-GolfMSRP (before tax credits or other incentives): $31,895
  • Engine: Electric Drive
  • Combined MPG: 119
  • City MPG: 126
  • Highway MPG: 111
  • Annual Fuel Cost: $550
  • CO2 Emissions: 0 grams/mile
  • Battery Range: 125 miles
  • Overview: The VW e-Golf is a relatively modest electric vehicle, but VW is serious about electrics. Last year, they announced that they would kill combustion engines in their vehicle lineup by 2026.

4. Chevy Bolt

  • 2019 Chevy BoltMSRP (before tax credits or other incentives): $37,495
  • Engine: Electric Drive
  • Combined MPG: 119
  • City MPG: 128
  • Highway MPG: 110
  • Annual Fuel Cost: $550
  • CO2 Emissions: 0 grams/mile
  • Battery Range: 238 miles
  • Overview: GM’s all-electric Bolt boasts impressive specs for the price, but sales have lagged, and were actually lower than the soon-to-be-axed Chevy Volt last year. Of note: GM has confirmed that it passed the 200,000 electric vehicles sold mark in Q4 of 2018, so the full 100% $7,500 tax credit will likely end at the end of March 2019, and then drop to 50% through September, 2019.

3. Hyundai Kona

  • 2019 Hyundai Kona EVMSRP (before tax credits or other incentives): TBD, but expected to be under $40K, prior to tax credit.
  • Engine: Electric Drive
  • Combined MPG: 120
  • City MPG: 132
  • Highway MPG: 108
  • Annual Fuel Cost: $550
  • CO2 Emissions: 0 grams/mile
  • Battery Range: 258 miles
  • Overview: The Hyundai Kona is an exciting new hatchback-style crossover that will become the 3rd most-efficient vehicle when it hits the market in early 2019. It boasts an impressive 258 mile range, more than double its sister car, the Hyundai Ioniq, and a price that will make it an exceptional value (if it sticks).

2. Tesla Model 3

  • 2019 Tesla Model 3MSRP (before tax credits or other incentives): $46,000
  • Engine: Electric Drive
  • Combined MPG: 123
  • City MPG: 128
  • Highway MPG: 117
  • Annual Fuel Cost: $550
  • CO2 Emissions: 0 grams/mile
  • Battery Range: 260 miles
  • Overview: Specs for the “mid range” Model 3 listed above. Technically, 2019 model details have not been released, but the Model 3’s sold in 2019 should be identical in spec to last year (though the price has increased notably over the original $35,000 projection). The range and price on this vehicle makes it a game changer in the electric vehicle market. It outsold any other electric vehicle (include the Tesla X and Tesla S) by more than 4X last year). Note that the federal tax credit drops to 50% starting in January of 2019.

1. Hyundai Ioniq

  • 2019 Hyundai IoniqMSRP (before tax credits or other incentives): $30,700
  • Engine: Electric Drive
  • Combined MPG: 136
  • City MPG: 150
  • Highway MPG: 122
  • Annual Fuel Cost: $500
  • CO2 Emissions: 0 grams/mile
  • Battery Range: 124 miles
  • Overview: The Hyundai Ioniq retains most efficient vehicle status. The Ioniq was only for sale in California last year, but is now sold nationwide. This model really has amazing specs and efficiency for the price. Its range is a bit low, but it is very impressive otherwise.

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  1. Linda

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