If you're already stretched paper thin under the financial weight of a thirsty, expensive vehicle, getting out of it for something more fuel efficient might seem like an unattainable dream. Fear not, the smarties over at Consumer Reports have rightly pointed out that since depreciation accounts for nearly half of the cost of a car during its first five years of ownership, buying a used miser is the best way to save money and resources.

The usual suspects top CR's lists; both the under $10,000 and $10,000-$20,000 categories are dominated by Toyota and Honda products. Honda's Insight is deemed the zenith of $10,000 sippers, with the '01-'02 Prius right on its heels. For the higher-price category, the first two slots are occupied by the Prius, and Honda's Civic Hybrid takes the next two seedings. Rankings are based on CR's own fuel economy tests, done with a flow meter and repeatable drive cycle, and overall assessments of the vehicle's quality and reliability likely play big roles in how the list was compiled. It is also noted that older vehicles may be missing out in some more modern features like stability control and side-curtain airbags, but that may be more of an issue for the under $10,000 set, which stretches back to vehicles from the late 1990s. Hybrids might be tough to secure right now, especially for a reasonable price, but going used might allow you to ease your consumption while dodging a high-buck purchase to do so.

[Source: Consumer Reports]