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50 Most Environmentally Friendly and Affordable Vehicles

Wes Allison / Honda

The current economic shutdown has millions of Americans holed up at home and mostly out of their cars and off the road — but that could actually be good news for anyone looking to buy a new vehicle. Dealers across the country are responding to the coronavirus crisis with special deals and deferred financing offers, which means anyone in the market for a new car, truck or SUV could be able to find a silver lining in an otherwise bad situation.

This is especially true for anyone in the market for an eco-friendly electric vehicle or hybrid. According to Consumer Reports, Tesla recently lowered prices on some of its EVs and a few other automakers followed suit by slashing prices on some of their own environmentally friendly models.

Not only are electric vehicles, hybrids and the most fuel-efficient traditional vehicles good for the environment, but they’re good for your wallet, too — at least in the long run. These types of vehicles often cost more to buy upfront, but make up for the difference with dramatic savings in fuel costs over time.

In this study, GOBankingRates looked at 50 of the most environmentally friendly and affordable vehicles available today. The vehicles were grouped into five categories: cars, trucks, SUVs and minivans, electric and hybrid. The team scored and ranked them according to their EPA size class, MSRP, combined mpg, annual fuel cost, energy impact and greenhouse gas emissions. All vehicles were ranked within their own categories since comparing a traditional SUV, for example, to an electric SUV would be an apples-to-oranges representation.

No matter what kind of vehicle you want, and no matter what category of fuel-efficiency that vehicle falls into, there’s something for everyone. Keep reading to learn about the most affordable cars that pollute the least and get the best gas mileage.

Last updated: June 23, 2020

Electric

Electric vehicles (EVs) do not have internal combustion engines and instead are propelled by a rechargeable electric battery or, in some cases, more than one battery. Drivers can recharge them by plugging them in at home or stopping at public charging stations.

Tesla Model 3 Standard Range Plus

  • EPA size class: Midsize cars
  • MSRP: $37,990
  • Combined mpg: 141
  • Annual fuel cost: $450
  • Energy impact (annual petroleum consumption in barrels): 0.1
  • Greenhouse gas emissions (tailpipe CO2 in grams/mile): 0

Jim Frenak-FPI Studios / Chevrolet

Chevrolet Bolt EV

  • EPA size class: Small station wagons
  • MSRP: $36,620
  • Combined mpg: 118
  • Annual fuel cost: $550
  • Energy impact (annual petroleum consumption in barrels): 0.2
  • Greenhouse gas emissions (tailpipe CO2 in grams/mile): 0

WILFRIED WULFF / BMW

BMW i3

  • EPA size class: Subcompact cars
  • MSRP: $44,450
  • Combined mpg: 113
  • Annual fuel cost: $600
  • Energy impact (annual petroleum consumption in barrels): 0.2
  • Greenhouse gas emissions (tailpipe CO2 in grams/mile): 0

BMW i3s

  • EPA size class: Subcompact cars
  • MSRP: $47,650
  • Combined mpg: 113
  • Annual fuel cost: $600
  • Energy impact (annual petroleum consumption in barrels): 0.2
  • Greenhouse gas emissions (tailpipe CO2 in grams/mile): 0

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Tesla Model Y Performance

  • EPA size class: Small SUVs
  • MSRP: $60,990
  • Combined mpg: 121
  • Annual fuel cost: $550
  • Energy impact (annual petroleum consumption in barrels): 0.2
  • Greenhouse gas emissions (tailpipe CO2 in grams/mile): 0

Tesla Model X Long Range

  • EPA size class: Large cars
  • MSRP: $74,990
  • Combined mpg: 111
  • Annual fuel cost: $600
  • Energy impact (annual petroleum consumption in barrels): 0.2
  • Greenhouse gas emissions (tailpipe CO2 in grams/mile): 0

Tesla Model X Standard Range

  • EPA size class: Standard SUVs
  • MSRP: $79,990
  • Combined mpg: 101
  • Annual fuel cost: $650
  • Energy impact (annual petroleum consumption in barrels): 0.2
  • Greenhouse gas emissions (tailpipe CO2 in grams/mile): 0

Hybrids

Hybrid vehicles run on both electricity and gas. Unlike an electric vehicle, you will have to fill these cars up at the pump occasionally. Plus, they can’t be plugged in to charge. The battery gets charged by its internal combustion engine and what’s known as “regenerative braking.”

Jeff Ludes / Hyundai

Hyundai Ioniq Plug-In Hybrid

  • EPA size class: Midsize cars
  • MSRP: $26,500
  • Combined mpg: 52
  • Annual fuel cost: $550
  • Energy impact (annual petroleum consumption in barrels): 2.8
  • Greenhouse gas emissions (tailpipe CO2 in grams/mile): 74

Toyota Prius Prime

  • EPA size class: Midsize cars
  • MSRP: $27,900
  • Combined mpg: 54
  • Annual fuel cost: $550
  • Energy impact (annual petroleum consumption in barrels): 3
  • Greenhouse gas emissions (tailpipe CO2 in grams/mile): 78

Jeff Ludes / Hyundai

Hyundai Ioniq Blue

  • EPA size class: Large cars
  • MSRP: $23,200
  • Combined mpg: 58
  • Annual fuel cost: $550
  • Energy impact (annual petroleum consumption in barrels): 5.7
  • Greenhouse gas emissions (tailpipe CO2 in grams/mile): 154

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Toyota Prius L Eco

  • EPA size class: Midsize cars
  • MSRP: $23,325
  • Combined mpg: 56
  • Annual fuel cost: $550
  • Energy impact (annual petroleum consumption in barrels): 5.9
  • Greenhouse gas emissions (tailpipe CO2 in grams/mile): 158

Honda Insight

  • EPA size class: Midsize cars
  • MSRP: $22,930
  • Combined mpg: 52
  • Annual fuel cost: $600
  • Energy impact (annual petroleum consumption in barrels): 6.3
  • Greenhouse gas emissions (tailpipe CO2 in grams/mile): 170

Toyota Corolla Hybrid

  • EPA size class: Compact cars
  • MSRP: $23,100
  • Combined mpg: 52
  • Annual fuel cost: $600
  • Energy impact (annual petroleum consumption in barrels): 6.3
  • Greenhouse gas emissions (tailpipe CO2 in grams/mile): 170

Kia Niro FE

  • EPA size class: Small station wagons
  • MSRP: $24,590
  • Combined mpg: 50
  • Annual fuel cost: $600
  • Energy impact (annual petroleum consumption in barrels): 6.6
  • Greenhouse gas emissions (tailpipe CO2 in grams/mile): 177

Chrysler Pacifica Plug-In Hybrid

  • EPA size class: Minivans
  • MSRP: $39,995
  • Combined mpg: 48
  • Annual fuel cost: $900
  • Energy impact (annual petroleum consumption in barrels): 4.5
  • Greenhouse gas emissions (tailpipe CO2 in grams/mile): 119

Subaru Crosstrek Hybrid

  • EPA size class: Small SUVs
  • MSRP: $35,145
  • Combined mpg: 35
  • Annual fuel cost: $800
  • Energy impact (annual petroleum consumption in barrels): 5.5
  • Greenhouse gas emissions (tailpipe CO2 in grams/mile): 151

Ford Escape HEV

  • EPA size class: Small SUVs
  • MSRP: $28,265
  • Combined mpg: 41
  • Annual fuel cost: $750
  • Energy impact (annual petroleum consumption in barrels): 8
  • Greenhouse gas emissions (tailpipe CO2 in grams/mile): 220

Toyota RAV4 Hybrid

  • EPA size class: Small SUVs
  • MSRP: $28,350
  • Combined mpg: 40
  • Annual fuel cost: $750
  • Energy impact (annual petroleum consumption in barrels): 8.2
  • Greenhouse gas emissions (tailpipe CO2 in grams/mile): 223

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Lexus UX 250h

  • EPA size class: Compact cars
  • MSRP: $34,500
  • Combined mpg: 42
  • Annual fuel cost: $750
  • Energy impact (annual petroleum consumption in barrels): 7.8
  • Greenhouse gas emissions (tailpipe CO2 in grams/mile): 209

David Dewhurst Photography / Mitsubishi

Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV

  • EPA size class: Small SUVs
  • MSRP: $36,295
  • Combined mpg: 25
  • Annual fuel cost: $1,050
  • Energy impact (annual petroleum consumption in barrels): 6.8
  • Greenhouse gas emissions (tailpipe CO2 in grams/mile): 174

Toyota Highlander Hybrid

  • EPA size class: Standard SUVs
  • MSRP: $38,200
  • Combined mpg: 35
  • Annual fuel cost: $850
  • Energy impact (annual petroleum consumption in barrels): 9.4
  • Greenhouse gas emissions (tailpipe CO2 in grams/mile): 254

David Dewhurst Photography / Lexus

Lexus NX 300h

  • EPA size class: Small SUVs
  • MSRP: $39,420
  • Combined mpg: 31
  • Annual fuel cost: $1,000
  • Energy impact (annual petroleum consumption in barrels): 10.6
  • Greenhouse gas emissions (tailpipe CO2 in grams/mile): 285

Volvo XC60 PHEV

  • EPA size class: Small SUVs
  • MSRP: $54,595
  • Combined mpg: 27
  • Annual fuel cost: $1,350
  • Energy impact (annual petroleum consumption in barrels): 7.1
  • Greenhouse gas emissions (tailpipe CO2 in grams/mile): 192

Volvo XC90 PHEV

  • EPA size class: Standard SUVs
  • MSRP: $67,000
  • Combined mpg: 27
  • Annual fuel cost: $1,350
  • Energy impact (annual petroleum consumption in barrels): 7.1
  • Greenhouse gas emissions (tailpipe CO2 in grams/mile): 193

Ford Explorer HEV

  • EPA size class: Standard SUVs
  • MSRP: $52,280
  • Combined mpg: 28
  • Annual fuel cost: $1,100
  • Energy impact (annual petroleum consumption in barrels): 11.8
  • Greenhouse gas emissions (tailpipe CO2 in grams/mile): 322

Cars

Cars are more fuel-efficient than they’ve ever been, but these common passenger vehicles are powered by internal combustion engines and they do burn gas. Unlike hybrids, a car’s battery powers only the vehicle’s electrical system and is not capable of propelling the car.

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Mitsubishi Mirage

  • EPA size class: Compact cars
  • MSRP: $13,995
  • Combined mpg: 39
  • Annual fuel cost: $800
  • Energy impact (annual petroleum consumption in barrels): 8.5
  • Greenhouse gas emissions (tailpipe CO2 in grams/mile): 228

Mitsubishi Mirage G4

  • EPA size class: Compact cars
  • MSRP: $14,995
  • Combined mpg: 37
  • Annual fuel cost: $850
  • Energy impact (annual petroleum consumption in barrels): 8.9
  • Greenhouse gas emissions (tailpipe CO2 in grams/mile): 236

Hyundai Accent

  • EPA size class: Compact cars
  • MSRP: $15,295
  • Combined mpg: 36
  • Annual fuel cost: $850
  • Energy impact (annual petroleum consumption in barrels): 9.2
  • Greenhouse gas emissions (tailpipe CO2 in grams/mile): 248

Kia Rio

  • EPA size class: Compact cars
  • MSRP: $15,850
  • Combined mpg: 36
  • Annual fuel cost: $850
  • Energy impact (annual petroleum consumption in barrels): 9.2
  • Greenhouse gas emissions (tailpipe CO2 in grams/mile): 249

Wes Allison / Honda

Honda Civic 4Dr

  • EPA size class: Midsize cars
  • MSRP: $20,650
  • Combined mpg: 36
  • Annual fuel cost: $850
  • Energy impact (annual petroleum consumption in barrels): 9.2
  • Greenhouse gas emissions (tailpipe CO2 in grams/mile): 248

Wes Allison / Honda

Honda Civic 2Dr

  • EPA size class: Compact cars
  • MSRP: $21,050
  • Combined mpg: 35
  • Annual fuel cost: $850
  • Energy impact (annual petroleum consumption in barrels): 9.2
  • Greenhouse gas emissions (tailpipe CO2 in grams/mile): 248

Toyota Corolla Hatchback

  • EPA size class: Compact cars
  • MSRP: $20,290
  • Combined mpg: 35
  • Annual fuel cost: $850
  • Energy impact (annual petroleum consumption in barrels): 9.4
  • Greenhouse gas emissions (tailpipe CO2 in grams/mile): 250

Chevrolet Spark

  • EPA size class: Subcompact cars
  • MSRP: $13,220
  • Combined mpg: 33
  • Annual fuel cost: $950
  • Energy impact (annual petroleum consumption in barrels): 10
  • Greenhouse gas emissions (tailpipe CO2 in grams/mile): 269

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Andrew Trahan Photography LLC / Chevrolet

Chevrolet Spark ACTIV

  • EPA size class: Subcompact cars
  • MSRP: $14,395
  • Combined mpg: 33
  • Annual fuel cost: $950
  • Energy impact (annual petroleum consumption in barrels): 10
  • Greenhouse gas emissions (tailpipe CO2 in grams/mile): 269

Toyota Camry

  • EPA size class: Midsize cars
  • MSRP: $24,425
  • Combined mpg: 34
  • Annual fuel cost: $900
  • Energy impact (annual petroleum consumption in barrels): 9.7
  • Greenhouse gas emissions (tailpipe CO2 in grams/mile): 264

Honda North America / Honda

Honda Accord

  • EPA size class: Large cars
  • MSRP: $24,020
  • Combined mpg: 33
  • Annual fuel cost: $950
  • Energy impact (annual petroleum consumption in barrels): 10
  • Greenhouse gas emissions (tailpipe CO2 in grams/mile): 266

Nissan Altima

  • EPA size class: Midsize cars
  • MSRP: $24,100
  • Combined mpg: 32
  • Annual fuel cost: $950
  • Energy impact (annual petroleum consumption in barrels): 10.3
  • Greenhouse gas emissions (tailpipe CO2 in grams/mile): 278

Bernhard Filser / BMW Group

Mini Cooper Convertible

  • EPA size class: Minicompact cars
  • MSRP: $28,400
  • Combined mpg: 31
  • Annual fuel cost: $1,300
  • Energy impact (annual petroleum consumption in barrels): 10.6
  • Greenhouse gas emissions (tailpipe CO2 in grams/mile): 281

Fiat 124 Spider

  • EPA size class: Two-seaters
  • MSRP: $25,390
  • Combined mpg: 30
  • Annual fuel cost: $1,350
  • Energy impact (annual petroleum consumption in barrels): 11
  • Greenhouse gas emissions (tailpipe CO2 in grams/mile): 298

James Halfacre / Mazda

Mazda MX-5

  • EPA size class: Two-seaters
  • MSRP: $26,580
  • Combined mpg: 30
  • Annual fuel cost: $1,350
  • Energy impact (annual petroleum consumption in barrels): 11
  • Greenhouse gas emissions (tailpipe CO2 in grams/mile): 299

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Subaru BRZ

  • EPA size class: Minicompact cars
  • MSRP: $28,845
  • Combined mpg: 27
  • Annual fuel cost: $1,500
  • Energy impact (annual petroleum consumption in barrels): 12.2
  • Greenhouse gas emissions (tailpipe CO2 in grams/mile): 322

SUVs and Minivans

SUVs and minivans are bigger, more powerful and roomier than cars, but they also tend to get fewer miles per gallon. Many of them — particularly SUVs — incorporate features usually associated with off-road vehicles. Both types of vehicles are usually designed to accommodate more passengers and more cargo than traditional cars.

Subaru Outback

  • EPA size class: Small SUVs
  • MSRP: $26,645
  • Combined mpg: 29
  • Annual fuel cost: $1,050
  • Energy impact (annual petroleum consumption in barrels): 11.4
  • Greenhouse gas emissions (tailpipe CO2 in grams/mile): 308

Mazda CX-9

  • EPA size class: Small SUVs
  • MSRP: $33,890
  • Combined mpg: 24
  • Annual fuel cost: $1,300
  • Energy impact (annual petroleum consumption in barrels): 13.7
  • Greenhouse gas emissions (tailpipe CO2 in grams/mile): 363

Honda Pilot

  • EPA size class: Small SUVs
  • MSRP: $31,650
  • Combined mpg: 23
  • Annual fuel cost: $1,350
  • Energy impact (annual petroleum consumption in barrels): 14.3
  • Greenhouse gas emissions (tailpipe CO2 in grams/mile): 388

FCA US LLC / Chrysler

Chrysler Voyager

  • EPA size class: Minivans
  • MSRP: $26,985
  • Combined mpg: 22
  • Annual fuel cost: $1,400
  • Energy impact (annual petroleum consumption in barrels): 15
  • Greenhouse gas emissions (tailpipe CO2 in grams/mile): 401

Honda Odyssey

  • EPA size class: Minivans
  • MSRP: $30,790
  • Combined mpg: 22
  • Annual fuel cost: $1,400
  • Energy impact (annual petroleum consumption in barrels): 15
  • Greenhouse gas emissions (tailpipe CO2 in grams/mile): 394

Trucks

Like SUVs, trucks are designed to haul gear, but their storage compartments are open beds in the rear as opposed to being incorporated into the vehicle’s interior. They’re not known for being great on gas, but they’re powerful, off-road capable and designed with towing and payload capacity in mind.

Ford Ranger

  • EPA size class: Standard pickup trucks
  • MSRP: $24,410
  • Combined mpg: 23
  • Annual fuel cost: $1,350
  • Energy impact (annual petroleum consumption in barrels): 14.3
  • Greenhouse gas emissions (tailpipe CO2 in grams/mile): 387

Chevrolet Colorado

  • EPA size class: Small pickup trucks
  • MSRP: $21,300
  • Combined mpg: 22
  • Annual fuel cost: $1,400
  • Energy impact (annual petroleum consumption in barrels): 15
  • Greenhouse gas emissions (tailpipe CO2 in grams/mile): 406

GMC Canyon

  • EPA size class: Small pickup trucks
  • MSRP: $22,200
  • Combined mpg: 22
  • Annual fuel cost: $1,400
  • Energy impact (annual petroleum consumption in barrels): 15
  • Greenhouse gas emissions (tailpipe CO2 in grams/mile): 406

Ford F150 Pickup

  • EPA size class: Standard pickup trucks
  • MSRP: $28,745
  • Combined mpg: 22
  • Annual fuel cost: $1,400
  • Energy impact (annual petroleum consumption in barrels): 15
  • Greenhouse gas emissions (tailpipe CO2 in grams/mile): 402

More From GOBankingRates

Photos are for illustrative purposes only. As a result, some of the images may not reflect the exact model, trim, or year listed in this article.

Methodology: In order to find the most environmentally friendly and affordable car models of 2020, GOBankingRates first looked to the U.S. Department of Energy’s website Fueleconomy.gov and Edmunds.com’s rankings of the most fuel-efficient vehicles of 2020. Rankings captured the “best in class” models across a variety of categories, including cars, SUVs and trucks. GOBankingRates then analyzed each of the 67 unique models included in these rankings across five factors: (1) MSRP, (2) combined MPG, (3) annual fuel cost, (4) annual petroleum consumption and (5) greenhouse gas emissions. Factors No. 2-5 were sourced from Fueleconomy.gov’s profile for each model and factor No. 2 was sourced directly from manufacturer websites. Each vehicle was scored on factors No. 1-5 and ranked against all others based on its cumulative score. Factor No. 1 was given triple the weight of the other factors. The 50 overall highest ranking vehicles were then included in a final showcase. Cars are grouped by type to allow for like comparison. All data was collected on and up to date as of June 16, 2020.