Tips for Buying and Maintaining a Fuel Efficient Vehicle

Published 12:00 am Monday, September 24, 2012

(StatePoint) Driving is getting more expensive. According to a recent study by AAA, the cost of owning and operating a car rose nearly 2 percent on average over the past year. That’s why so many consumers who are in the market for a new vehicle are putting a premium on fuel efficiency.

“Whether you’re looking to go green for the sake of the planet or for the sake of your pocketbook, you’re in luck,” says Andrew Stoy, Digital Editor for the Autoweek Media Group. “Federally mandated efficiency standards are becoming more stringent.”

Luckily, the experts at have identified the top fuel-efficiency performers in each vehicle category. So before driving that car off the lot, consider those cars that top their respective categories:

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• Two-Seaters: Honda CRZ HEV – 37 MPG

• Mini-Compact: Scion iQ – 37 MPG

• Subcompact: Mitsubishi i-MiEV (electric) – 112 MPG

• Compact: Focus BEV FWD (electric) – 105 MPG

• Midsize: Nissan Leaf – 99 MPG (electric)

• Sedans: Hyundai Sonata – 28 MPG

• Small Station Wagon: Audi A3 – 34 MPG

• Midsize Station Wagon:  Toyota Prius V Hybrid – 34 MPG

• Small Pickup Trucks:  Toyota Tacoma 2WD – 22 MPG

• Standard Pickup Trucks:  GMC Sierra 15 Hybrid tied with Chevrolet Silverado 15 Hybrid – 21 MPG

• Minivan: Mazda 5 – 24 MPG

• Sport-Utility Vehicle: Lexus RX450h – 30 MPG

No matter what vehicle you purchase, you’ll save some pain at the pump with proper maintenance. Increase your fuel efficiency with these great tips:

Give your engine a tune-up: If your engine is in need of a tune-up, chances are you are compromising your fuel economy. It could mean you have a more serious problem such as an electronic one. Replacing a faulty oxygen sensor for example can improve your MPG.

Maintain proper tire pressure: You can’t just set the correct tire pressure and forget it. The volume of air in your tires is constantly changing due to the passage of time and shifts in environment. Keep your tires inflated to the recommended tire pressure found in your owner’s manual to improve your gas mileage.

Use the recommended grade of oil that is energy conserving: Using a different grade than is recommended by the manufacturer can lower your gas mileage. To get the maximum fuel economy, the Department of Energy recommends using motor oil designated as “energy conserving,” as it contains friction-reducing additives.

Don’t carry extra gear: Extra weight can greatly reduce fuel economy. Take a look at what you are carrying around and remove anything you don’t need on a daily basis.

More automotive tips and advice can be found at

Don’t let the rising cost of fuel take a bite out of your wallet. Opt for models adhering to the new fuel economy and maintain your vehicle for optimal performance.