With gas prices rising again, hybrid car sales are up. But a new crop of cars that manage to reach the fuel efficiency heights without relying on extra battery power are getting attention, too. And these cars could make hybrids a tougher sell by getting their big fuel economy gains at a lower cost.
For instance, those who get a Ford Fiesta with the SFE package can get EPA-estimated fuel economy of 40 miles per gallon on the highway.That's 3 mpg better than the standard Fiesta, which is no gas pig to start with.
And, Ford boasts, the SFE Fiesta pulls off 40 mpg using an ultra-efficient automatic transmission, while others rely on manual shifters for maximum fuel economy. Also contributing to the gain are side air deflectors that push air flow out around the car and a super lightweight spare tire.