The Least And Most Expensive Cars Per Mile To Drive
Gas mileage is surprisingly tricky to calculate. The Environmental Protection Agency has five tests automaker use to get an average number, though the EPA also permits an alternative two-test system. When manufacturers run their vehicles through these tests it's often in conditions unlike what the car will actually experience on roadways. Still, the EPA slaps a number on it which can seriously affect the way consumers view the vehicle. You know higher MPG means good, but how does that translate into actual dollars and cents?
A new study from GasBuddy.com puts that number into perspective. It's a website that tracks gas price fluctuations across the country. The survey used the average price of gas in July -- $3.59 per gallon -– and used the EPA mpg figures to determine how much each mile costs drivers.
Hybrids are feature prominently in the low costs per mile category, but up the increased upfront expense of buying a hybrid means you'd have to drive a hybrid for seven years, at current prices, just to break even. And that's if the hybrid performs as promised. The price of gas is sure to continue to rise however, making hybrids a potentially smart buy for the fuel conscious consumers.
Click through to see the cheapest cars and the most expensive cars to keep moving.
1. Toyota Prius, Toyota Prius C, Toyota Prius Plug In - 7.2 cents per mile
The first three entries on the GasBuddy.com list are three different incarnations of the Toyota Prius, and all of them deliver the same savings per mile.
Your standard Prius employs Toyota's Hybrid Synergy Drive which integrates a 1.8-liter four-cylinder gasoline engine with a powerful electric drive motor. The plug-in model carries an addition battery which allows for up to 15 miles of travel on purely electric power. The Prius C is the smaller, subcompact model with a 1.5-liter engine.
But even with various technological differences, GasBuddy.com found they all performed about the same in terms of cost per mile.
3. Ford C-Max Hybrid* - 7.6 cents per mile
Sticker Price: $25,200 - $28,365
Invoice Price: $23,499 - $26,451
Fuel Economy: 47 mpg City, 47 mpg Highway
The C-Max hybrid originally appeared on this list, though it does comes with a caveat. After lawsuits and battles with the EPA, Ford recently announced they would be lowering the mpg rating from 47 to 43. They'll be writing checks to owners for the inconvenience.
Unfortunately there can be huge differences in EPA testing and real life driving when it comes to fuel economy. When AOL Autos test-drove the C-Max we only achieved 32 mpg, nowhere close to the promised 47, due mainly to driving conditions. Still the C-Max features the same engine as the Fusion, which has the flexibility to power the wheels with the electric motor and gas engine together, or separately,
5. Volkswagen Jetta Hybrid - 8 cents per mile
Sticker Price: $24,955 - 31,180
Invoice Price: $23,955 - 29,933
Fuel Economy: 42 mpg City, 48 mpg Highway
Volkswagens are already no slouches when it comes to efficient vehicles, and the Jetta Hybrid is yet another excellent option from the Jetta family. The Jetta has the smallest engine on the list at 1.4-liters, but it's turbo-charged four-cylinder engine means it's one of the more powerful hybrids on the market. The electric motor and 22-volt lithium-ion battery pack uses auto stop-start and regenerative braking to keep it recharged and ready to go. When all is said and done this zippy car generates 170 horsepower.
2. Ford E350 Super Duty XL Wagon - 32.6 cents per mile
Sticker Price: $36,545
Invoice Price: $33,712
Fuel Economy: 11 mpg City, 15 mpg Highway
Sandwiched between two super cars is the Ford E-350. It's essentially a cargo van. The E-350 features a 5.4-liter Triton V8 engine and automatic four-speed transmission. While not as powerful as the Bugatti, it's certainly more useful with a rugged platform and very large interior. Perfect for the family of 15.
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4. Chevrolet Suburban - 29.9 cents per mile
Sticker Price: $45,480 - $52,065
Invoice Price: $42,296 - $48,420
Fuel Economy: 10 mpg City, 16 mpg Highway
Another American Leviathan, the Chevy Suburban can seat up to eight passengers. With a 6.0-liter flex fuel V8 engine it comes with a little more power than the Ford E350, but with 100 cubic feet less of interior space.