Owning a Fuel-Efficient Vehicle

By
Dave Nichols
Updated:
Sep 2022
Time to read:
4
min
We all want to save money on fuel, but what’s it like to own a fuel-efficient vehicle? From cost of ownership to maintenance costs and lifetime savings, let’s explore all of the ways you can possibly save with a fuel-efficient car.
Happy couple in car on a nice sunny day

Finding the Right Vehicle

It is an amazing time for the automotive world as we see the transition from gasoline-powered internal combustion engines to an all-electric future for personal transportation. If you’ve looked at your options and have chosen a more fuel-efficient vehicle, your car will not only get better mileage and save you money, but will also help to reduce dangerous greenhouse gasses.

If you haven’t purchased your new gas saver yet, here are some tools and tips that will help you get the most out of your new fuel-efficient ride. First, really look at your transportation needs when you choose a car. A small crossover hybrid is great for city travel and is a lot easier to park than a big SUV or pickup truck. If you own more than one car, use the most fuel-efficient vehicle whenever possible.

Consider Your Needs

Need a vehicle for towing or heavy loads? Consider a clean diesel truck. Diesel engines are 35 percent more efficient than gasoline-powered trucks of the same size and they are more powerful too. Diesel vehicles have become more sustainable thanks to biodiesel fuel.

A highly fuel-efficient vehicle might take the form of a very thrifty gasoline-powered car such as the Mitsubishi Mirage that gets 39 miles to the gallon or you might have decided on a hybrid such as the Hyundai Ioniq hybrid that averages 59 mpg.

Lifetime Value and Savings

You may have heard that electric vehicles cost less to maintain than gasoline-powered cars. Consumer Reports released findings that proved this to be true. In fact, drivers of all-electric vehicles (EV) on average save 50 percent over gas vehicles over the life of the car. What’s more, plug-in hybrids (PHEV) cost even less to maintain and repair than traditional internal combustion vehicles. PHEVs undercut EVs in cost savings after passing 100,000 miles of use.

This is a bit of a surprise since plug-in hybrid cars are mechanically more complex than gas-only cars and more complex overall than all-electric cars. Think about it. PHEVs have more components that could break or need maintenance. They have both a gasoline-powered engine and transmission and an electric-powered motor.

Consumer Reports found that both all-electric and plug-in hybrid cars cost about three cents a mile to maintain and repair, compared to conventional gasoline-powered vehicles that cost twice as much. The lifetime maintenance cost (figured at 200,000 miles) of the average all-electric or plug-in hybrid vehicle is $4,600 compared to $9,200 for conventional gasoline-powered cars.

Over the long haul, the plug-in hybrid is actually the least expensive type of vehicle to own. In fact, the cost of repairing and maintaining hybrid vehicles is falling, while the cost of repairing a standard gasoline car is on the rise.

Cost of Ownership

In general, EVs tend to have a higher manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP) than traditional gas vehicles. The biggest reason for the higher price tag is the expense of the battery packs. Due to their smaller battery size, hybrid cars are a cheaper alternative to their all-electric counterparts.

Hybrids offer an affordable middle ground for those who are interested in becoming more eco-friendly, fuel efficient and cost-effective with their transportation expenses, but are still intimidated by the initial cost of all-electric cars. As the price of lithium-ion batteries decrease, expect the price of EVs to fall as well. It is estimated that many electric vehicles may cost the same as their gasoline-powered counterparts by 2024.

Maintenance Costs

Hybrid and plug-in hybrid vehicles have internal combustion engines, and the gasoline-related components of the car will share the same maintenance requirements of traditional gas vehicles. However, the electrical components of the car will be a lot cheaper to maintain because there are fewer moving parts in an electric motor than in a gasoline engine.

The electric motor’s regenerative braking function in hybrids, plug-in hybrids and all-electric cars helps owners save money by significantly reducing the wear and tear of the braking system, specifically the brake pads.

The Road Best Traveled

These days, people are looking for a car that has the options they want, isn’t too expensive, and looks great. But they also want a fuel-efficient vehicle. Owning a fuel-efficient car means less pollution. That’s good for both you and the planet. By saving on the consumption of gasoline, you are also reducing America’s dependence on foreign oil. Driving a car that gets over 40 mpg means you are saving money every time you stop at the gas pump.

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