There has long been a link between the type of cars Americans purchase and gasoline prices. Simply put, the lower the price at the pump the more likely a consumer will gravitate toward purchasing a larger, less fuel-efficient vehicle — and vice versa.
As gas prices rebound this year after the pandemic slump, then, consumers are likely to be paying more attention to fuel economy when they shop for used cars, or, beginning this fall, new ones for the 2022 model year. (These were the best-selling cars of the last year.)
The good news is that all new passenger vehicles now get better gas mileage than they used to. Preliminary data from the Environmental Protection Agency’s 2020 Automotive Trends Report predicts that the average fuel economy of all light-duty passenger vehicles — meaning all cars and SUVs and most pickup trucks — will have increased to a record 25.7 miles per gallon for 2020 models, up from 24.9 mpg for 2019.
In all, fuel economy has risen by nearly 30% since 2004 thanks to improved powertrain efficiencies and the wider introduction of hybrid technology.
To identify the most fuel-efficient vehicles for the 2022 model year, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed the EPA’s 2022 Fuel Economy Guide. Fuel efficiency for city, highway, and combined, as well as annual fuel costs for each vehicle, were derived from the report. (Remember that gas prices will vary from place to place according to local tax structures. These are the states with the lowest and highest gas taxes.)