Consumer Reports Helps You Find a Fuel-Efficient New Car

It is no secret that gasoline prices are through the roof right now, but Consumer Reports is here to help find you a fuel-efficient new car. There are ways to improve your vehicle’s fuel economy by simply trading it in for a more fuel-efficient new car option. Plus, more plug-in hybrid vehicles (PHEV) and electric vehicles are available every day.

Consumer Reports suggests checking out potential savings

Consumer Reports helps choose a fuel-efficient new car
A MINI Cooper electric vehicle on display | Paco Freire/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

New cars have come a long way in just the past few years. Consumer Reports says to compare the potential savings of a new car to your current vehicle. For instance, a 2017 Honda Odyssey gets 21 mpg overall, while the 2022 Odyssey gets 22 mpg. That would only save you about $13 a year in gas. However, the new Toyota Sienna offers a hybrid powertrain that gets 36 mpg overall in Consumer Reports testing. Trading in the Odyssey for the new hybrid Sienna could save you about $1,000 in fuel each year.

In a similar situation, downsizing might be another fuel-saving option. The 2017 Chevrolet Traverse only gets 16 mpg, but the new Toyota Highlander Hybrid gets 35 mpg overall and is similar in size. That is a potential of $1,763 a year without losing much else. Consumer Reports says moving from a three-row midsize SUV to a smaller SUV will also offer savings due to the lower weight, more aerodynamic weight, and a more efficient powertrain.

Similarly, trading in your 2017 Traverse for a new Toyota RAV4 SUV could save you a lot. The Traverse gets 16 mpg, while the new RAV4 hybrid gets 37 mpg overall. That’s already about $1,800 in savings over one year. Using the Consumer Reports value estimator tool, the 2017 Traverse Premier has a trade-in value of $30,990 right now. That’s about the same as a new Toyota RAV4 hybrid with active safety features.

Don’t overlook a plug-in hybrid option, says Consumer Reports

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A plug-in hybrid vehicle is the best of both worlds. Consumer Reports says, “Plug-in hybrid-electric vehicles bridge the gap between a hybrid car and an electric vehicle: They can run on electric power for longer and more often than regular hybrids, which have limited electric-only capabilities.” Once the electric motor is exhausted, the hybrid operation resumes. This helps save money, especially on short trips around town. Plus, many new models qualify for the $7,500 federal tax credit.

When the gasoline engine is running, the heavy battery weight can be detrimental. But once you combine the electric motor and the gasoline engine, the benefits outweigh the negatives. Consumer Reports says that the Toyota Prius Prime plug-in hybrid gets 50 mpg in hybrid mode. Compared to the regular Prius, that gets 52 mpg overall. But the prime offers 20 miles of electric-only power, which is a big deal. In addition, plug-in hybrids can plug in overnight using a regular 120-volt outlet.

Have you considered making the switch to an electric vehicle?

While some people might not be ready yet, switching to an electric vehicle is always possible. Consumer Reports says the best way to save on gas is not to use any gas at all. More electric vehicle options are on the road every year, and 2022 has more than ever. Depending on your budget, there are vehicle options for everyone. From the Nissan Leaf to the Porsche Taycan, the Tesla Model S to the Kia EV6. Even the new Ford Mustang Mach-E is receiving praise left and right.

You have to consider the charging situation for these vehicles, though. You might want to install a home charger if you have a dedicated garage. Your work might offer charging, depending on its location. Those who street park or don’t have a designated parking spot might want to skip on an EV for now. It can be hard to drive around looking for a charger. In addition, some areas have fewer public charging options that can add to the hassle.

As the new year is here, the list of electric vehicles and hybrids eligible for the federal tax credit has been refreshed. Many new car options qualify for the full $7,500 amount. No matter what vehicle you choose, Consumer Reports can help you find the best deal on the most fuel-efficient new car.

RELATED: New Federal Tax Credits Make Electric Vehicles and PHEVs More Affordable Than Ever