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The Top 10 Best Gas Mileage Cars of All Time

Updated on October 1, 2010

Money per mile

You are considering buying a new car and you want to get the one with the best gas mileage. Maybe it's because you're socially aware and want to be kind to the environment. Or maybe it's just because you want to save yourself some money in the long run by paying for a car now that will cost you less in gas on a day-to-day basis. Whatever the reason, gas mileage is the number one thing that you have on your list as you're looking for a new car.

Here are the top ten cars to think about when looking for the best gas mileage for your ride:

Cars with automatic transmission:

  1. Toyota Prius - The Prius gets just over fifty miles per gallon on the highway and does even better in the city.
  2. Honda Civic Hybrid - This hybrid car gets somewhere between forty five and fifty miles to the gallon depending on where you're driving it.
  3. Toyota Scion XA - This four speed automatic car gets over thirty miles to the gallon in the city and nearly forty miles to the highway gallon.
  4. Toyota Celica - The Toyota Celica is a popular choice because it's a cute car that still gets almost thirty miles to the gallon in the city and over thirty five miles per gallon for highway driving.

Cars with manual transmission:

  1. Honda Insight - This car gets nearly seventy miles to the gallon on the highway and about sixty miles to the gallon in the city making it the all-time best gas mileage car on this list.
  2. Volkswagen - This brand isn't limited to any one style. The new diesel versions of the Volkswagen Golf, the Volkswagen Jetta and the Volkswagen Beetle all get approximately forty miles to the gallon.
  3. Honda Civic Standard - Although not as good on the gas mileage as its hybrid counterpart, the standard Honda Civic gets over thirty five miles per gallon in the city and almost ten miles per gallon more than that on the highway.
  4. Toyota Echo - The Echo is another cute car, like the Celica, which gets thirty five miles per city gallon and 43 miles per highway gallon.
  5. Toyota Corolla - At forty miles per highway gallon, the Corolla is a sturdy car which holds its own in terms of good gas mileage.
  6. Toyota Scion XB - This car doesn't quite hold up to the standard set by its automatic counterpart but it's not exactly bad on the gas mileage, getting just over thirty milers per gallon in the city and about thirty five miles per highway gallon.

As you can see, the top ten cars that you're looking at when you're looking at getting the best gas mileage are either Hondas or Toyotas (with the exception of the Volkswagen). If you aren't a Honda or Toyota kind of driver, there are certainly other brands which get good gas mileage. Look into the ones that most interest you with an eye towards both highway and city gas mileage.

(Note: This information was obtained via research; the original article with these statistics was a CNN Money article available at http://money.cnn.com/pf/features/lists/gasmileage/.)

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  • profile image

    Unknown 3 years ago

    Unknown message

  • profile image

    Ryan 4 years ago

    2003 Jetta tdi rated at 50 and after breaking in can hit towards 60

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    4 years ago

    I want to puke. This article is more shameless industry trash. It is titled, "Top Ten..All Time." Seriously, where are the inserts about the 90s metro, 80's Corolla, or the legendary Ford Festiva...before it was molested. We bailed out GM for this? Go ahead keep pumping up your sinful marketing and trying to sell us NEW falsely efficient 35mpg hybrids. Stupid animals.

  • profile image

    bryan comeaux 4 years ago

    you paid 10 k in '89 20k in 2010 that's about the same price.

    crash ratings are higher now so weight and price are higher and mpg are lower.

    the EPA adjusted the MPG ratings lower . as we all know card didn't get the mpg as advertised because they were hyper-miling and few people usually do that.people buy big cars to increase their personal power and it pays. they get better jobs and prettier girls. its triggering caveman mechanisms ;( deep rooted in the brain.

    if looking for a great MPG car always get a diesel. you can mix diesel fuel with used vegetable oil so since one gallon is free its like doubling you mpg. so a 45 mpg volkswagen rabbit with 50% veggie oil would have the same cost per mile of a vehicle that gets 90 miles per gallon. even better the oil doesn't get stuck in the line like straight vegetable oil will. or if you want free fuel you can use two tanks and just run straight veggie oil. and don't get me started about managed tree lots, net zero carbon emissions and the wood gas powered internal combustion wood fire powered engine! check out a you tube on that.

  • profile image

    MILDRED18Snyder 4 years ago

    Don't you understand that it is correct time to receive the personal loans, which will make your dreams come true.

  • profile image

    Carman 4 years ago

    You forgot the car that Chevy bought and destroyed the geo metro 3 cylinder!!! Best car ever for fuel Milage. I averaged almost 60 mpg in the 90's can't beat that. Shame on Chevy for getting rid of such a great idea

  • profile image

    mike 4 years ago

    Some food 4 thought the 1994 Geo metro xfi was rated 53 city & 58 hey seemed conviently ommited

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    senior remark 5 years ago

    I do see a lot of honda and toyotas on the high way. i had a volvo that got great mileage. it had an oil leak that couldn't be fixed, so got shed of it. doubt if i;d buy american made, the companies are too greedy to think of gas mileage for the consumer.

  • profile image

    mtairy123 5 years ago

    1991 ford festiva 47 city not sure about highway don't take it there

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    JoeBarbaro 5 years ago

    I got a 1987 Honda CRX that gets 51 mph.

  • profile image

    djriceburner 5 years ago

    1958-1971 Subaru 360 - 66.3 mpg

    1989-2001 Geo Metro - 42 mpg

  • profile image

    iBLKBRY 5 years ago

    You obviously did not do your research. You need to take the 'all time' out of the title. Geo Metro tops the list, and it will get 58mpg's WITHOUT an expensive battery system.

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    Eugene 5 years ago

    You need to make it clear that the first generation Scion XB gets 30 city/ 35 hwy. The second generation XB gets 21 city/ 29 hwy. I have gotten 31 on the HWY.

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    Dan 5 years ago

    I had a 1979 volkswagon rabbit diesel that easily got 55 mpg on the highway. If I went the speed limit(55mph) I could get in the mid 60's. Great car for mpg but a piece of junk for quality. Bit the dust at 80,000- needed a new engine.

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    5 years ago

    What about the Honda CRZ?... and the old Ford Fiesta both got over 50 mpg in the '80's & early 90's. Geo Metro anyone?... Even Nash made a 50 mpg+ car during WWII. 60 years ago! I don't get the hype of 40mpg now.

  • profile image

    Limited Ego 5 years ago

    I have a Geo Metro 1.0 with 255,000 miles on it. I get 49 mpg on the low end and 52 on the good days. Once I drove 55 mph (yawn!) on the hwy -windows down- just to see what I would get...59 mpg.

    BTW, the numbers I gave above are with an engine that burns oil...SMOKIN!

  • profile image

    dave williams 5 years ago

    what about the 1997 Geo Metro / 5 speed / 3 cylinder / 44 mpg city / 48 mpg hwy

    i bought it new and its still going!

  • profile image

    leena paul 5 years ago

    Wow another reason to get the Pruis then! Gas mileage is one of the first things I look at when buying a car – I don’t care if it doesn’t look as good as other cars out there, at least I’m saving more money in the long run than they are!

  • profile image

    LK 5 years ago

    Had the Scion xA. Would still have it if someone didn't total my car. I still mourn for its loss. The car was a gem. GREAT gas mileage. I drove that thing up and down California constantly. For a car that is smaller than a honda civic in length it was still a 4 door and was actually quite comfortable inside. And lets just say I could park ANY where.

  • profile image

    jozz 5 years ago

    in the 60s general motors trashed carburetors that got good gas milage...

  • profile image

    anon 5 years ago

    EPA rates the 88-91 CRX HF (may not have been manufactured in every one of those years) at 54mpg hwy.

    Super small/light car with just enough power. Something like 60hp.

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    william 5 years ago

    What about the Chevy corvette?? My 99 c5 corvette with 180,000 miles still gets about 30-31 MPG on the highway! !! That's pretty dam good for a 400 HP beast!!!!!!!!

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    DJ-Spuds 5 years ago

    The miles per gallon on several of these vehicles is not accurate in the real world. Also, to truly be an all time list, you need to include those cars from the late 70s to late 80s such as the Rabbit/ Golf Diesel (50+mpgs), the Toyota Tercel and Scarlet, The Plymouth Champ, Geo Metro, and a whole list of really low hp cars back in the day that got 50mpgs. I can go on and on. This is more like a best mpg of modern cars of all time.

  • profile image

    ajvenom 5 years ago

    My father has his 86 chevy sprint stored somewhere. It gets 52 mpg...there was another model fxi or something that got 56 mpg or maybe even better. No expensive hybred systems etc....

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    new cars get puny gas milage compared to older models 6 years ago

    why do you think diesel is so clean? it polutes more than gas just in different emmisions, and harder and more expensive to ceep running clean, all those diesels will smoke and give off noxious fumes. foreign countries build there cars with half the sive engines and get twice the milage as u.s. vehicles, gas eficiency on newer vehicles is 99% clean on emissions machine, diesels will never be that eficient

  • profile image

    cj 6 years ago

    I had a 98 geo metro that got around 50mpg, but I think some of you guys are a bit off on some cars and their mpg, some sound too good to be true, maybe modified with hot air intakes and reduced weight, ...

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    Chany 6 years ago

    What about the 2005 Chevy Cavalier? I have owned one since 2005 and the sticker list was 48 mpg, for it being 6 years old i still get 45+ mpg in the city.. I do not find this list very accruate at all.. Please fix it.

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    vince 6 years ago

    I have a '99 Saturn SL that gets 36/42 mpg. I've had an '88 Honda Accord that got 32/38 mpg, and an '89 Honda Civic that got 40/48 mpg. It's all about weight and power.

  • sbyholm profile image

    sbyholm 6 years ago from Finland

    Mazda is developing a new technology they call SkyActiv-G, the new cars will use old wisdom to get mileage as high as 70MPG from an almost standard gasoline engine. This will be possible using direct injection of gasoline, more efficient transmission and lighter body. I have a blog post about the SkyActiv-G here http://www.milesgallon.com/blog/28/mazda-to-crush-...

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    dirk 6 years ago

    I have a tercel the same year and it does get wonderful gas milage but maybe you have a problem adding your miles with your money, perhaps.

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    lucy 6 years ago

    I have a 1985 toyota tercel that i have owned for 10 years with 286,146 trouble free miles that gets a constent 50 mpg on the freeway, and 40 mpg in the city. I got it for $200. Who needs a $20,000 prius???

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    Alex 6 years ago

    1971 Volvo p1800 with fuel injection, I get 40-45 plus at about 80-85 miles an hour on the highway, a lot of this has to do with the final drive gear ratio and fuel octane rating, higher octane fuel will result in better economy in most cars especially European. I also drive a 1990 Volvo 245 that averages 35 mpg. Both these cars have 5 speed manual transmissions. I hope to get more after some modifications.

  • profile image

    kelly 6 years ago

    what about the 1986 chevy sprint.

  • UKLinkBuilding profile image

    UKLinkBuilding 6 years ago from Manchester, UK

    Very helpful hubpage! Thanks very much!

  • profile image

    John 6 years ago

    My Honda CRX gets 49 mpg so toyota can quit trying

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    Mr Rudi O'Neil 6 years ago

    The Honda Insight does a little less mpg than the Prius, but it is a considerable amount cheaper. With the two vehicles looking pretty much identical, it is debatable whether or not people will want to pay all that extra money for what amounts to a negligible saving on fuel.

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    Joseph Onzo 6 years ago

    My 2001 Daewoo Lanos with 142K miles on it.. gets 45mpg on the freeway and around 30 in town....

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    Jeff 7 years ago

    Great info in this article. Also, another way to improve gas mileage is to SLOW DOWN! Speeders waste more fuel regardless of the car or truck they drive! :)

  • profile image

    canadian keith 7 years ago

    how long do the batteries last on the electric cars (life.) What about disposal after they are deemed finished?

  • Place Kick profile image

    Place Kick 7 years ago from North Carolina

    Let just go back a few year and build the "Henry J" it was priced at an affordable price and got good gas mileage!

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    Jiggs 7 years ago

    I have a 2008 Prius and I get 49.6 miles to the gallon and have gone consistently over 500 miles on on tank of gas. And I have the picture to prove it too.

  • gurgel1 profile image

    gurgel1 7 years ago from profile

    on tv it says that the volkswagon has 54 mpg you might need to update

  • LennyP profile image

    LennyP 7 years ago from Iowa

    It is amazing how 20 years ago they could build fuel efficient cars but now they can't do it without making them hybrid monstrosities.

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    david 8 years ago

    I have a 2007 focus, it gets 37 mpg. I wish it was a diesel. Most likely it would get 50+. Plus it would be cleaner as well.

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    J.D. 8 years ago

    1987 Honda CRX 35-40mpg easy. no better car it can fit in any parking spot in seattle.

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    sheryl ann 8 years ago

    I think they already had a fuel efficient car that got the gas savings that some companies are bragging about. I know we all can do better than what we are on saving the planet. It's too bad that money talks and the little guy sits back and has to listen to it. Let them put there money where their mouth is. Government should be having some way to promote business to build better more earth friendly companies in general and a way for all people to be able to buy what we need to use now not tomorrow. I thought we heard this same song and dance before. Let's quit talking about it and just do it.

  • DarleneMarie profile image

    DarleneMarie 8 years ago from USA

    Great information! By the looks of it, domestic car makers have to play catch up before it is too late.

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    Lyle 8 years ago

    There were many fuel efficient cars in the 70's and 80's. I had a '77 Toyota Corolla that got 35 MPG+, '92 Plymouth Colt 40 MPG, '79 Trans Am with a 6.6L 30 MPG, all these are highway calculated. In fact those huge '80s Chevy Caprice where getting 32 MPG I see these new "crossover" station wagons getting 20 MPG. Why? Are car builders that dumb to think that we need new technology to get good numbers? The cost of electric cars is huge, never mind replacing the batteries every few years. Is this the answer? Batteries are terrible for the environment when dispossed of. With simple logic, cars can run on air (with help of few batteries). In fact they are being designed already.

  • esocial profile image

    esocial 8 years ago from California

    Yep, have a Beetle here. Great milage with those little guys :)

  • portz2008 profile image

    portz2008 8 years ago from Auckland, New Zealand

    You missed Honda Life www.hondalife.co.nz

  • profile image

    michael 8 years ago

    94 Geo Metro XFi 53Cty / 58 Hwy

    http://www.metrompg.com/posts/xfi.htm

    http://www.fueleconomy.gov

    Take that Pirus!

  • profile image

    Lee 8 years ago

    See the official numbers here. Very helpful.

    www.fueleconomy.gov

  • johnr54 profile image

    Joanie Ruppel 8 years ago from Texas

    I'll have to pass this along to my daughter who's just getting into the market for a new car.

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    john 8 years ago

    I have a 1995 toyota pasio that get 40 mpg on the highway. It has 130,000 miles on the old girl Take that prius.

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    silvrbulet35 8 years ago

    Its funny that theres no american cars on here and that leaves the question ..Is america not worried about consumers and the wallets the tec is out there give us electric cars ....go green

  • vinug profile image

    vinug 9 years ago

    its time to switch to reliable electric cars.

  • profile image

    seyed 9 years ago

    still I do not know approximetely,what is 89 toyota camery gas millage.

    smarashi10@yahoo.cvom

  • profile image

    Danny 9 years ago

    the 2002 chev monte carlo get as high as 35 hwy averg 32

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    Brixta 9 years ago from California

    Also, many people forget that any car can get better gas mileage by: not carrying around heavy loads in your trunk or hatch, keeping the windows rolled up, and most of all, driving slower.

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    betty johnson 9 years ago

    the mr2 toyota 86-89 got 45 miles to the gallon , why doesn't toyota repeat that car?

  • helenathegreat profile image

    helenathegreat 9 years ago from Manhattan

    For the record, while the Prius may have the best gas mileage, it is actually terrible for the environment. Thank you for reminding me of this; I'm off to write a hub about it!

    (Also, great hub! People are always after this these days.)

  • chabrenas profile image

    chabrenas 9 years ago from middle of France

    What do you mean by a 'fuel delivery system', Tom?

  • profile image

    tom thompson 9 years ago

    In World War II, congress mandated that All chemical companies to research and

    develop a synethic rubber for military used because of the shortage of natural

    rubber or lose tax status. A synethic rubber was developed. With all of mankinds

    modern technology, why has hasn't congress mandated that the tech companies

    develop a better fuel delivery system. Forget congress' recently passed bill

    for gas mileage improvement in the year 2020. Cost of gas will be high by then

    that the cost per mile ratio won't be much different. It didn't take 12 to 13

    years for the chemical companies to develop the synethic rubber for military.

    Why doesn't the grovernment have the guts to do what's right.

  • barryrutherford profile image

    Barry Rutherford 9 years ago from Queensland Australia

    What about the Smart Car made by Mercedes I think they use about 4.6 to 5 litrs of fuel per 100 kilometres

  • OneShot profile image

    OneShot 9 years ago

    I think I have the solution to high fuel costs. Build a car that runs on methane and run hoses from the injector system to all seats and equip them with sphincter adapters. I figure we could get about 50 mpbc (miles per bowl of chille.

    Chille only costs about 50 cents per bowl if you make it yourself. Think of the savings!

  • Misha profile image

    Misha 9 years ago from DC Area

    One more thing to add is that hybrid cars that make the top of your list cost several thousand bucks more than their regular version. You never going to offset this cost difference by gas savings for a typical peroid of 3-5 years of ownership...

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    smitty88 9 years ago

    In the real world the Prius averages close to 41 mpg, overall. Real, measured, mileage. More is hype.

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    Haywood 10 years ago

    well you forgot the Vibe and Matrix as great mileage machines.....both Corolla's in wolfs clothing.......

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