How to Choose a Fuel-efficient Vehicle


When it comes to choosing a newvehicle, for many buyers, fuel economy ranks right up there inimportance along with body color and style. It's a crucial decision-theaverage owner spends thousands of dollars each year on fuel costs.According to the U.S. Department of Energy, the difference between acar that gets 20 mpg and one that gets 30 mpg amounts to $715 per yearin additional fuel expenses (based on 15,000 annual miles driven and afuel cost of $2.86/gallon).

Helping all consumers, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)requires automakers to post mpg ratings on all passenger cars and lighttrucks sold in the country. While this makes it much easier to discernwhich vehicles are more fuel efficient, it doesn't always tell thecomplete story. In fact, choosing the most fuel-efficient vehicle foryour particular driving style and routine requires a bit more insight.

No more than a decade ago, an unwritten automotive rule said that bigengines delivered horsepower and torque at the expense of fuel economy.On the other hand, small engines were efficient but their lack of powerresulted in a less-than-exciting driving experience. Along those samelines, big cars and trucks-and performance cars-were deemed gasguzzlers, while small cars were automatically labeled economical.Thanks to modern engine controls and electronics, things have changedquite a bit. Today, small engines can be powerful and large engines canbe very fuel efficient. There are even fun-to-drive sports cars withfuel economy figures rivaling purpose-built economy cars.

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