Most Efficient Cars Under $40,000

The Most Efficient Cars Under $40,000 in 2020

Car shoppers place efficiency on the top of their priority list when looking for a new car. According to a survey from Statista, vehicle efficiency is the second most important factor just behind vehicle safety. With the fluctuation of gas prices and desire for shoppers to cut down on monthly gas expenses, fuel efficiency is a need for many. Since the average new car costs $39,000, per Kelly Blue Book, this article will list the most efficient cars under $40,000. 

Quick note before we get started, each vehicle in this list is an electric vehicle (EV). That is because electric cars are much more efficient than ICE (Internal Combustion Engine or “gas”) cars. Rather than MPG, the EPA rates EV efficiency by MPGe (Miles per Gallon Equivalent) since there is no gas with an EV, but, rather, an on-board rechargeable battery. In brief, one gallon of gasoline contains 33.7 kWh of energy. Therefore, EVs must use this conversion so we can compare apples to apples. You can read more about this over at CleanTechnica

With that aside, let’s take a look at the most efficient cars sold in 2020. 

Most Efficient Cars Under $40,000:

#1: 2020 Tesla Model 3 (Standard Range Plus) – 141 MPGe

Model 3
Image credit: Tesla
  • MPGe: 141
  • Cost: $39,990
  • Annual Charging Cost: $450
  • Range: 250
  • Edmunds Review

#2: 2020 Hyundai Ioniq Electric – 133 MPGe

Hyundai Ioniq
Image credit: Hyundai
  • MPGe: 133
  • Cost: $33,045 ($25,545 after Federal Electric Vehicle Tax Credit)
  • Annual Charging Cost: $500
  • Range: 170
  • Edmunds Review

#3: 2020 Toyota Prius Prime (Plug-in Hybrid) – 133 MPGe

Toyota Prius Prime
Image credit: Toyota
  • MPGe: 133 combined: 54 gas
  • Cost: $27,600 ($24,028 after tax credit)
  • Annual Charging+Fuel Cost: $550
  • Range: 25 electric + 615 gas
  • Edmunds Review

#4: 2020 Hyundai Kona Electric – 120 MPGe

Hyundai Kona Electric
Image credit: Hyundai
  • MPGe: 120
  • Cost: $37,190 ($29,690 after tax credit)
  • Annual Charging Cost: $550
  • Range: 258
  • Edmunds Review

#5: 2020 Chevy Bolt – 119 MPGe

Chevy Bolt
2020 Chevrolet Bolt EV
  • MPGe: 119
  • Cost: $36,620
  • Annual Charging Cost: $550
  • Range: 259
  • Edmunds Review

#6: 2020 Kia Niro Electric – 112 MPGe

Kia Niro EV
Image credit: Kia
  • MPGe: 112
  • Cost: $38,500 ($31,000 after tax credit)
  • Annual Charging Cost: $600
  • Range: 239
  • Edmunds Review

#7: 2020 Honda Clarity PHEV (Plug-in Hybrid) – 110 MPGe

Honda Clarity
Image credit: Honda
  • MPGe: 110 combined; 42 gas
  • Cost: $33,400 ($26,820 after tax credit)
  • Annual Charging+Fuel Cost: $650
  • Range: 48 electric + 292 gas
  • Edmunds Review

#8: 2020 Nissan Leaf Plus – 109 MPGe

Nissan Leaf
Image credit: Nissan
  • MPGe: 109
  • Cost: $38,200 ($30,700 after tax credit)
  • Annual Charging Cost: $600
  • Range: 226
  • Edmunds Review

Honorable Mentions (Over $40,000)

#9: 2020 Tesla Model Y – 121 MPGe

  • MPGe: 121
  • Cost: $48,000
  • Annual Charging Cost: $550
  • Range: 315
  • Edmunds Review

#10: 2020 Tesla Model S Long Range – 111 MPGe

  • MPGe: 111
  • Cost: $79,990
  • Annual Charging Cost: $600
  • Range: 373
  • Edmunds Review

#11: 2020 Tesla Model X Standard Range – 101 MPGe

  • MPGe: 101
  • Cost: $84,990
  • Annual Charging Cost: $650
  • Range: 258
  • Edmunds Review

Closing Thoughts:

Considering the average new car cost of $39,000, these extremely fuel, rather, energy efficient vehicles are sure attractive to shoppers looking to cut down on monthly fuel expenses. Depending on your gas and electricity rates and annual mileage, expect your annual charging costs to fluctuate. 

Regardless, a typical gas car gets around 30 MPG, while these electric cars get 120 MPGe. Switching from gas to electric could save drivers over $500 per year!

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