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50 Most Environmentally Friendly and Affordable Vehicles

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Andrew Lisa
·13 min read
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Lafayette - Circa September 2017: Tesla Supercharger Station.
Lafayette - Circa September 2017: Tesla Supercharger Station.

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.

Find Out: 25 Ways the Coronavirus Has Upended the Auto Industry Across the Globe

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.

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: Dec. 15, 2020

2019 Chevrolet Bolt EV.
2019 Chevrolet Bolt EV.

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.

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esla Model 3
esla Model 3

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

Find Out: How to Get Out of a Car Loan You Can’t Afford

2019 Chevrlet Bolt EV.
2019 Chevrlet Bolt EV.

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

2019 BMW i3
2019 BMW i3

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.”

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

2020 Toyota Prius Prime
2020 Toyota Prius Prime

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

2020 Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid Hatchback
2020 Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid Hatchback

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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2019 Toyota Prius L Eco
2019 Toyota Prius L Eco

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

2020 Honda Insight.
2020 Honda Insight.

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

2020 Toyota Corolla Hybrid Sedan
2020 Toyota Corolla Hybrid Sedan

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

2020 Niro Touring.
2020 Niro Touring.

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

2020 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid.
2020 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid.

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

2020 Ford Escape new hybrid car
2020 Ford Escape new hybrid car

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

2020 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid
2020 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid

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

Safety First: Pros and Cons of Rent-to-Own Cars

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

2019 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV.
2019 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV.

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

2019 Toyota Highlander Hybrid
2019 Toyota Highlander Hybrid

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

2015 Lexus NX Long Lead Whistle
2015 Lexus NX Long Lead Whistle

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

2020,  Design,  Driving,  Electrification,  Images, Technology
2020, Design, Driving, Electrification, Images, Technology

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

2020 Volvo XC90 T8
2020 Volvo XC90 T8

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 introduces its all-new 2020 Explorer – a complete redesign of America’s all-time best-selling SUV – that now features the broadest model lineup ever, more power and space, and smart new technologies to help tackle life’s adventures.
Ford introduces its all-new 2020 Explorer – a complete redesign of America’s all-time best-selling SUV – that now features the broadest model lineup ever, more power and space, and smart new technologies to help tackle life’s adventures.

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

2018 Hyundai Accent best car
2018 Hyundai Accent best car

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.

2020 Mitsubishi Mirage
2020 Mitsubishi Mirage

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 Motors North America, Inc.
Mitsubishi Motors North America, Inc.

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

2020 Hyundai Accent
2020 Hyundai Accent

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

2020 Rio.
2020 Rio.

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

2020 Honda Civic Sedan Touring.
2020 Honda Civic Sedan Touring.

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

2020 Honda Civic Coupe Sport.
2020 Honda Civic Coupe Sport.

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

2019 Toyota Corolla Hatchback
2019 Toyota Corolla Hatchback

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

An updated face and new available active safety technology for the 2019 Spark add attitude and purpose to Chevrolet’s feisty, segment sales-leading mini-car.
An updated face and new available active safety technology for the 2019 Spark add attitude and purpose to Chevrolet’s feisty, segment sales-leading mini-car.

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

The 2017 Chevrolet Spark ACTIV is a sportier take on the brand’s versatile, connected mini-car, featuring trail-inspired accents and upscale features that complement its urban-chic design.
The 2017 Chevrolet Spark ACTIV is a sportier take on the brand’s versatile, connected mini-car, featuring trail-inspired accents and upscale features that complement its urban-chic design.

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

2020 Toyota Camry
2020 Toyota Camry

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

2020 Honda Accord Touring 2.
2020 Honda Accord Touring 2.

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

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

2019 Fiat 124 Spider
2019 Fiat 124 Spider

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

2019 Mazda MX-5 Miata.
2019 Mazda MX-5 Miata.

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

Take a Look: 29 Surprisingly Affordable Muscle Cars

2020 Subaru BRZ
2020 Subaru BRZ

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

2019 Honda Odyssey
2019 Honda Odyssey

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.

2020 Subaru Outback
2020 Subaru Outback

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

2020 Mazda CX-9
2020 Mazda CX-9

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

2020 Honda Pilot Elite.
2020 Honda Pilot Elite.

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

2020 Chrysler Voyager.
2020 Chrysler Voyager.

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

2019 Honda Odyssey.
2019 Honda Odyssey.

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

2020 Chevrolet Colorado ZR2.
2020 Chevrolet Colorado ZR2.

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.

The only midsize pickup Built Ford Tough, the 2020 Ford Ranger is ready for adventure and packed with driver-assist technologies to enable easier driving both on and off-road.
The only midsize pickup Built Ford Tough, the 2020 Ford Ranger is ready for adventure and packed with driver-assist technologies to enable easier driving both on and off-road.

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

2020 Chevrolet Colorado ZR2.
2020 Chevrolet Colorado ZR2.

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

2019 GMC Canyon.
2019 GMC Canyon.

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

A 3.
A 3.

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.

This article originally appeared on GOBankingRates.com: 50 Most Environmentally Friendly and Affordable Vehicles