10 Best Car That Uses Less Gas in 2024

Since 1984, the EPA has been tracking the fuel economy of vehicles sold in the United States. Over the decades, automakers have risen to the challenge of squeezing every last mile out of a gallon of gas.

Some extraordinary vehicles have managed to travel incredibly long distances without refueling along the winding path toward energy efficiency.

Let’s take a nostalgic ride down memory lane and revisit 10 pint-sized fuel misers that blew away the competition.

What is Miles Per Gallon (MPG)?

Before diving in, it helps to understand precisely what MPG means. MPG measures how far a vehicle can travel on one gallon of fuel. The higher the MPG, the farther the vehicle goes using the same amount of fuel as a less efficient model.

MPG ratings have two components – city and highway. City MPG estimates fuel efficiency while driving in urban stop-and-go traffic. Highway MPG predicts efficiency at faster speeds. Most cars have higher highway MPG since aerodynamic drag has a smaller impact at lower city speeds. Combined MPG averages both ratings.

Now let’s countdown the top 10 MPG champs!

TOP 10 Best Car That Uses Less Gas

1 – 2010 Honda Insight

Kicking off the list is the 2010 Honda Insight. This friendly-faced hybrid hatchback entered the scene when gas prices went ballistic. It promised Prius-like fuel economy at a lower cost in an era where drivers sought relief from pump pain.

Boasting a 1.3-liter 4-cylinder engine mated to an electric motor, the 2010 Insight returned a stellar 41 MPG in combined driving. Not bad for a car costing under $20,000 brand new. The Insight achieved this remarkable efficiency through weight reduction and aerodynamic enhancements like a tapered tail.

2 – 1985 Suzuki SA310

Little is known about this obscure 3-cylinder Suzuki subcompact sold only in 1985. But its EPA rating proves this micro machine sipped fuel like few others. It likely had a tiny 1.0-liter engine driving the rear wheels through a manual transmission – a simple powertrain layout that enabled 39 MPG city and 47 highway.

3 – 1985 Pontiac Firefly

Sharing underpinnings with the Suzuki SA310 was the Pontiac Firefly. Rebadged variants of this Canada-exclusive car were also sold as the Suzuki Forsa, Chevrolet Sprint, and Geo Metro. For 1985 models, the thrifty 3-cylinder Firefly achieved nearly identical fuel numbers – 39/47 MPG city/highway.

4 – Honda Civic Hybrid

Fast forward to the 2000s and we see Honda dipping its toes into hybrid technology. The 2003-2009 Honda Civic Hybrid paired a small gasoline engine with an electric motor, capturing energy during braking to power the car and cut fuel consumption. This early hybrid superstar posted 42 combined MPG – an impressive accomplishment given its lack of aerodynamic aids like a tapered tail.

5 – 1995 Honda Civic HB VX

Honda struck fuel efficiency gold with the third generation Civic lineup. Dubbed the VX model, this featherweight 3-door hatchback with a tiny 1.5-liter 4-cylinder engine achieved stratospheric MPG thanks to diligent weight reduction and aerodynamic attention. Electronically controlled lean burn technology helped it reach 43 combined MPG.

6 – 1986 Honda Civic Coupe HF

Remarkably, Honda was extracting over 40 MPG from the Civic a decade earlier without hybrid technology or lean burn tricks. The 1986 Civic Coupe HF (High Fuel economy)Trim featured a thrifty 1.5-liter 4-cylinder and standard 5-speed manual transmission. Combined with a slippery shape, the Coupe HF posted 46 MPG combined, an outstanding number for the mid-1980s.

7 – 1994 Geo Metro XFi

The 3-cylinder Geo Metro XFi subcompact hatchback achieved fame as the “King of 40 MPG” cars in the 1990s. The base XFi infamously lacked a passenger side mirror and radio to eke out every last ounce of efficiency. Its tiny 1.0-liter engine buzzed through a 5-speed manual transmission on its way to an EPA score of 47 combined MPG – very impressive for an unsophisticated, barebones people mover.

8 – 1986 Chevrolet Sprint ER

The 3-cylinder magic continued with the Sprint ER, a boxy little hatchback featuring an innovative green shift light to signal optimal times for gear changes. Along with a manual transmission, this simple technology squeezed 48 MPG from the Sprint’s 1.0-liter motor.

9 – 2010 Toyota Prius

By the turn of the 21st century, hybrid drivetrains started coming into their own. Toyota took the crown in 2010 when its updated Prius posted a benchmark 50 combined MPG. This generation Prius became the first hybrid to eschew a traditional transmission. It ran electric motors and gas engine through an ingenious power-split device for optimal efficiency.

10 – 2000 Honda Insight

And now we arrive at the grand champion of fuel efficiency – the 2000 Honda Insight. The world’s first mass-produced hybrid for the US market shocked the industry when it blew past the Prius’s MPG. With an incredibly aerodynamic body allowing effortless airflow, the tiny 2-seater posted 61 highway MPG on its way to an astounding 53 overall MPG rating. Twenty-plus years later, the Insight’s EPA scores remain untouched.

The End of an Era?

While these fuel economy heroes seem positively quaint by today’s standards, it’s important to recognize their historical significance in pushing efficiency boundaries. However, with electric vehicles entering the mainstream, the age of hypermiling gasoline cars appears largely over.

Yet these 10 MPG champs blazed a trail proving that small, lightweight cars with tiny engines can meet people’s basic transportation needs without guzzling copious amounts of petrol. Their spirit lives on as automakers continue pressing forward in the quest for environmentally friendly mobility.

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