Most efficient vehicles of 2022

Fueling our cars is no small expense, but as a recurring and regular part of owning a vehicle, it’s inevitable. That can make things interesting — frustrating, burdensome — when the market is in turmoil, or when we have a life change that necessitates greater consumption. Gas prices can fluctuate head-spinningly quickly, too. And it’s not just internal combustion vehicles that are subject to changing fuel costs. EV operating costs are tied to energy prices, too, of course, which means changes in supply and demand due to global or national economics, or even regional weather events, can mean we’re paying more per mile regardless of what fuels our vehicles. And perhaps it’s not about the money.

Even when prices are cheap, many of us would like to minimize our footprint in the course of our daily lives. As such, choosing a fuel-efficient vehicle can be a priority for drivers who want to spend less and pollute less. With that in mind, here are the most efficient vehicles you can buy today, broken down by powertrain, with combined fuel economy and estimated annual fuel costs listed. (EPA calculates annual fuel cost based on "45% highway, 55% city driving, 15,000 annual miles and current fuel prices," but also offers a calculator to personalize your own estimated yearly fuel costs.)

Most efficient EVs for 2022

Battery-electric vehicles are the obvious choice for saving on fuel costs and consumption, but not all EVs are created equal. Range is often the bigger consideration for many customers when choosing an EV — we just want to be able to get where we’re going with the least disruption and downtime. If lower operating costs and carbon footprint is your goal, though, you want to pay more attention to efficiency than driving range. The simplest way for a consumer to do this is to look at the EPA’s combined miles-per-gallon-equivalent (mpge) rating. We’re also including the EPA’s estimated annual fuel costs. Here are the top 20 most efficient EVs, based on the most efficient version of each model. These are also the least expensive to fuel overall.

1. Tesla Model 3: 132 mpge; $500/yr


2. Lucid Air: 131 mpge; $500/yr

3. Tesla Model Y: 129 mpge; $500/yr

4. (Tie) Chevrolet Bolt EV: 120 mpge; $550/yr

4. (Tie) Hyundai Kona Electric: 120 mpge; $550/yr

4. (Tie) Tesla Model S: 120 mpge; $550/yr

7. Kia EV6: 117 mpge; $550/yr

8. Chevrolet Bolt EUV: 115 mpge; $550/yr

9. Hyundai Ioniq 5: 114 mpge; $600/yr

10. Kia Niro EV: 112 mpge; $600/yr

11. Nissan Leaf: 111 mpge; $600/yr

12. Mini Cooper SE: 110 mpge; $600/yr

13. BMW i4: 109 mpge; $600/yr

14. Polestar 2: 107 mpge; $600/yr

15. Ford Mustang Mach-E: 103 mpge; $650/yr

16. Tesla Model X: 102 mpge; $650/yr

17. Volkswagen ID.4: 99 mpge; $650/yr

18. Mercedes-Benz EQS: 97 mpge; $700/yr

19. Audi Q4 E-Tron (incl. Sportback): 95 mpge; $700/yr

20. Mazda MX-30: 92 mpge; $700/yr

If you’d rather break it down further by including each individual specification, the 15 most efficient EVs are as follows.

1. Tesla Model 3 RWD: 132 mpge; $500/yr

2. (Tie) Lucid Air G Touring AWD w/19-inch wheels: 131 mpge; $500/yr

2. (Tie) Tesla Model 3 Long Range AWD: 131 mpge; $500/yr

4. Tesla Model Y RWD: 129 mpge; $500/yr

5. Lucid Air Dream R AWD w/19in wheels: 125 mpge; $500/yr

6. Tesla Model Y Long Range AWD: 122 mpge; $550/yr

7. Lucid Air G Touring AWD w/21-inch wheels: 121 mpge; $550/yr

8. (Tie) Chevrolet Bolt EV: 120 mpge; $550/yr

8. (Tie) Hyundai Kona Electric: 120 mpge; $550/yr

8. (Tie) Tesla Model S: 120 mpge; $550/yr

11. Kia EV6 RWD (both Standard- and Long-Range): 117 mpge; $550/yr

12. (Tie) Lucid Air Dream P AWD w/19-inch wheels: 116 mpge; $550/yr

12. (Tie) Lucid Air Dream R AWD w/21-inch wheels: 116 mpge; $550/yr

12. (Tie) Tesla Model S Plaid w/19-inch wheels: 116 mpge; $550/yr

15. Chevrolet Bolt EUV: 115 mpge; $550/yr

Most efficient plug-in hybrids for 2022

If going gas-free isn’t in your plans, a plug-in hybrid is a decent compromise to lower your fuel costs and emissions while still having the convenience and security of being able to fill up quickly and be on your way, while still being able to do some driving on electricity alone. These are the most efficient PHEVs currently on sale, based on combined mpge rated by EPA. Estimated annual fuel costs are listed, as well. Note that some of these are even more efficient, by the EPA’s standards, than some all-electric vehicles in the list above. In fact, #1 is rated the most efficient of all the vehicles on this page, period.

1. Toyota Prius Prime: 133 mpge; $750/yr

2. Hyundai Ioniq Plug-In Hybrid: 119 mpge; $750/yr

3. (Tie) Ford Escape PHEV: 105 mpge; $850/yr

3. (Tie) Kia Niro Plug-In Hybrid: 105 mpge; $850/yr

5. Toyota RAV4 Prime: 94 mpge; $900/yr

6. Lexus NX 450h Plus: 84 mpge; $1,150/yr

7. Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid: 82 mpge; $1,200/yr

8. Hyundai Tucson Plug-In Hybrid: 80 mpge; $1,100/yr

9. Kia Sorento Plug-In Hybrid: 79 mpge; $1,150/yr

10. Lincoln Corsair Grand Touring: 78 mpge; $1,200/yr

11. Hyundai Santa Fe Plug-In Hybrid: 76 mpge; $1,200/yr

12. BMW 330e: 75 mpge; $1600/yr

13. Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV: 74 mpge; $1,450/yr

14. Mini Cooper SE Countryman: 73 mpge; $1,750/yr

15. Audi A7 e: 70 mpge; $1,500/yr

16. (Tie) Volvo S60 Recharge: 69 mpge; $1,550/yr

16. (Tie) Volvo V60 Recharge: 69 mpge; $1,550/yr

18. BMW 530e: 64 mpge; $1,750/yr

19. Volvo S90 Recharge: 63 mpge; $1,650/yr

20. Volvo XC60 Recharge: 57 mpge; $1,950/yr

Most-efficient internal combustion vehicles for 2022

If you’re not ready or able to get a car with a plug, but still want to get the most mileage from your fill-ups, these are the most efficient gasoline-powered vehicles you can buy. The vast majority of these are traditional hybrids, but a few non-hybrid cars made the list. Again, these are based on the EPA’s combined mpg rating, listed by the most efficient specification for each model, and including estimated annual fuel costs.

1. Hyundai Ioniq: 59 mpg; $900/yr

2. Toyota Prius: 56 mpg; $950/yr

3. Hyundai Elantra Hybrid: 54 mpg; $1,000/yr

4. Honda Insight: 52 mpg; $1,050/yr

4. (Tie) Hyundai Sonata Hybrid: 52 mpg; $1,050/yr

4. (Tie) Toyota Camry Hybrid: 52 mpg; $1,050/yr

4. (Tie) Toyota Corolla Hybrid: 52 mpg; $1,050/yr

8. Kia Niro: 50 mpg; $1,100/yr.

9. Honda Accord Hybrid: 47 mpg; $1,150/yr

10. (Tie) Lexus ES 300h: 44 mpg; $1,250/yr

10. (Tie) Toyota Avalon Hybrid: 44 mpg; $1,250/yr

12. Lexus UX 250h: 42 mpg; $1,300/yr

13. Ford Escape Hybrid: 41 mpg; $1,300/yr

14. Toyota RAV4 Hybrid: 40 mpg; $1,350/yr

15. (Tie) Lexus NX 350h: 39 mpg; $1,650/yr

15. (Tie) Mitsubishi Mirage: 39 mpg; $1,400/yr

15. (Tie) Toyota Venza: 39 mpg; $1,400/yr

18. (Tie) Honda CR-V Hybrid: 38 mpg; $1,400/yr

18. (Tie) Hyundai Tucson Hybrid: 38 mpg; $1,400/yr

20. (Tie) Ford Maverick: 37 mpg; $1,450/yr

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