5 really cost-effective fuel savers

Surprisingly, some fuel efficient vehicles aren't the most economical choices out there. Here are some that are.

1 of 6
BACK NEXT

CNNMoney.com asked analysts at Intellichoice.com, a Website that specializes in tracking auto ownership costs, to find the the most fuel-efficient vehicles in various classes, then figure out which of those are really the most cost-effective once total value and ownership costs are factored in.

Only cars that delivered at least 10% better fuel economy than the average vehicle in their class were considered. In some categories, only one vehicle delivered that kind of fuel economy advantage. (For instance, the Toyota Highlander Hybrid among mid-sized SUVs and the Chevy Tahoe/GMC Yukon Hybrid among full-sized SUVS.) The five vehicles featured here represent categories where there was a choice of fuel-efficiency stand-outs.

Instead of just comparing ownership costs directly, which would always favor the cheapest car, IntelliChoice.com scores vehicles based on computed "expected ownership costs" for a given type of vehicle at that price, then compares those scores. That keeps the playing field even since, to be fair, someone who pays $50,000 for a new car instead of $20,000 is getting something -- features, quality,comfort and performance, for instance -- for that money. Any measure of "cost effectiveness" has to take that added value into account

In the end, the most fuel-efficient car isn't always the most cost effective to own. But in many cases, it actually is, as rising gas prices have made fuel costs a bigger factor in auto ownership.


NEXT: Midsized car: Toyota Prius
Last updated August 25 2008: 3:01 PM ET
More Galleries
America's most powerful cars A new 'horsepower war' has erupted among U.S. automakers and these are the most potent weapons in their arsenals. More
A sampling of beers being made with traditional Latin flavors A small but growing number of craft breweries are including passion fruit, Mexican cinnamon and other traditional Latin flavors. More
Bubble Trouble? 5 pricey stocks Talk of a stock market bubble is growing louder. These stocks are some of the priciest in the S&P 500. More

Special Offer
Market indexes are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer Morningstar: © 2014 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Disclaimer The Dow Jones IndexesSM are proprietary to and distributed by Dow Jones & Company, Inc. and have been licensed for use. All content of the Dow Jones IndexesSM © 2014 is proprietary to Dow Jones & Company, Inc. Chicago Mercantile Association. The market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved. FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2014. All rights reserved. Most stock quote data provided by BATS.