Used Fuel-Efficient Cars: Your Eco-Auto Guide

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There’s good news for those in the market for a new car who want to buy used and save money on fuel costs over the years. With the popularity of hybrids and electric vehicles increasing, used car shoppers are now able to find fuel-efficient cars at great prices, without having to go through the hassle of buying new.

Go Used

The U.S. Department of Energy has a list of Fueleconomy.gov’s “Top Ten EPA-Rated Fuel Sippers” spanning from 1984 to the present. Vehicles are ranked by their combined rating, weighted by 55 percent city and 45 percent highway, then by their city rating.

For those wanting to buy used, consider a buy here pay here lot. The financing is a little different than traditional financing. According AutoTrader.com, the buyer purchases the vehicle through in-house financing instead of a third party such as a bank, and arranges a loan and makes payments at the dealership, good for those who have had financial hardship. Weekly or bi-weekly payments are made at the dealership, although some BHPH lots allow customers to make payments by telephone or online. After completing the loan, they tend to see their credit scores rise.

Some of the best fuel-efficient cars to buy used include:

Fusion Energi

Ford estimates the Fusion Energi will save the owner $6,850 in fuel costs compared with an average new vehicle over five years. The company estimated it would sell more than 19,000 hybrid or electric vehicles in the fourth quarter of 2012, marking the best quarter for Ford so far as the number breaks its previous record by more than 50 percent.

2000 Honda Insight

The 2000 Honda Insight, which is a three-cylinder, manual five-speed car, has a combined rating of 53. Expect a price tag of about $5,000 for this gasoline-electric hybrid.

2010 Toyota Prius IV

Consumer Reports lists the 2010 Toyota Prius IV as one of the most fuel-efficient used cars, with an overall mpg of 44. You can expect to pay at least $16,700 for this space-efficient hybrid. For almost the same price at about $16,300 you can drive a 2010 Volkswagen Golf TDI, which has a four-cylinder diesel engine and an overall mpg of 38.

2012 Prius Plug-In Hybrid

The 2012 Prius Plug-In Hybrid is a little pricier at $32,000-39,525, but the owner can expect to shell out only about $850 per year in electricity and gasoline. The four-cylinder car also has an automatic transmission and gets 59 mpg in the city and 56 on the highway.

Fueleconomy.gov notes the difference between a vehicle that gets 20 mpg and one that gets 30 mpg amounts to $813 per year based on the assumption the owner drives 15,000 miles per year with a fuel cost of $3.25. Do the math, and you’ll discover that’s $4,063 in fuel costs savings over five years.

Article by Jiro Watanabe of DigitalPros.

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About Author

Walter’s contributions to CleanTechies over the past 4 years have been instrumental in growing the publications social media channels via his ongoing editorial and data driven strategies. He is the founder and managing director of Sunflower Tax, a renewable energy tax and finance consultancy based in San Diego, California. Active in the San Diego clean technology community, participating in events sponsored by CleanTech San Diego, EcoTopics, and Cleantech Open San Diego, Walter has also been a presenter at numerous California Center for Sustainability (CCSE) programs. He currently serves as an adjunct professor at the University of San Diego School of Law where he teaches a course on energy taxation and policy.

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