• Image Credit: Toyota

We know you are sick of gas prices going up, but their rise is a truth we can't ignore. Fuel has become an enormous expense for most Americans and likely affected the way car shoppers think about buying a car.

If you need something bigger for the family or hauling, knowing a smaller car isn't an option can feel exasperating. 

Fuel economy numbers have become as important as horsepower for consumers these days and automakers have ramped up efforts to raise MPGs in every segment. SUVs are no exception. In fact, several are available right now that get more than 30 mpg on the highway.

Here are five SUVs and crossovers that we think are smart buys for now, and for years to come, with $5 per gallon gas. Click through and you'll see you don't have to sacrifice nearly as much as you may have thought in order to save money at the pump.

  • Image Credit: Nissan

5. Nissan Juke

MSRP: $19,990 - $25,780
Invoice: $19,060 - $24,431

Fuel Economy: 27 mpg City, 32 mpg Highway

If you can get past the polarizing styling of the Nissan Juke, it's a great option as a small crossover. Coming with a 188-hp 1.6-liter turbocharged four-cylinder, the Juke is a lot of fun on the road and offers a solid level of versatility.

The Juke gets 27 mpg City and 32 mpg Highway, good for the number 5 spot on our list.

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  • Image Credit: Toyota

4. Lexus RX 450h

MSRP: $45,235 - $46,825
Invoice: $42,520 - $44,016

Fuel Economy: 32 mpg City, 28 mpg Highway

We recently labeled the RX 450h as the "ultimate commuter vehicle" and stand by that distinction. The RX 450h offers awesome fuel economy, a silky smooth ride, tons of standard features, 32 mpg in the City and more than enough room to store passengers and their stuff. It is a legit alternative to a minivan if you have just two kids.

The biggest problem with the RX 450h, however, is its price tag. The "L" in Lexus stands for luxury.

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  • Image Credit: Mazda

3. Mazda CX-5

MSRP: $20,695 - $28,295
Invoice: $19,794 - $27,056

Fuel Economy: 26 mpg City, 35 mpg Highway

This is probably the most enjoyable crossover we have driven and we highly recommend checking this out if you need to graduate from a smaller, sporty car to something bigger. The CX-5 boasts Mazda's legendary driving dynamics and also produces fantastic fuel economy.

It's not the quickest car on the road, but the sporty suspension and crisp steering make this car extremely enjoyable.

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  • Image Credit: Mini

2. Mini Countryman

MSRP: $21,750
Invoice: $19,657

Fuel Economy: 27 mpg City, 35 mpg Highway

The Mini Countryman is the first Mini that isn't, well, mini. But that doesn't mean it has betrayed the automaker's reputation for making efficient, fun and affordable cars. The Countryman is quick and agile on the road, gets awesome fuel economy and costs right around $20K. Hard to argue with that.

The only problem with the Countryman is its storage capacity. The trunk is quite small and fitting more that a couple of golf bags back there is a challenge.

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  • Image Credit: Ford

1. Ford Escape Hybrid

MSRP: $30,570 - $34,830
Invoice: $28,409 - $32,285

Fuel Economy: 34 mpg City, 31 mpg Highway

The Ford Escape Hybrid takes the number one spot on our list for its superb fuel economy and versatility. You simply can't do better than 34 mpg in the City -- even in most sedans. Couple that with its storage capacity, roomy interior and safety features and you've got a very smart crossover buy. WE also like the way it drives and handles, and workmanship is top-notch.

It's a little pricier than some of our other picks, but as gas prices continue to go up, you're likely going to end up saving money in the long run.

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