• Top 5 Most Fuel-Efficient Cars Under $30,000

  • by Austin Quinn

When you’re considering retirement options, you may look into getting a new car to fit your new lifestyle. In our opinion, no other vehicles offer such stellar fuel efficiency for their price than the five electric cars on this list. Kilowatts – which is what these cars run on – typically cost twenty to thirty percent per mile less than gasoline, which can result in thousands of dollars in savings over the years. Combined with Federal and State income tax credits ranging from $2,500 to $7,500, choosing an electric vehicle (other than the Tesla) can be a frugal decision. Whether you would like to take it easy on the environment, your wallet, or both, look no further than the following electric vehicles.

5) 2015 Ford Focus Electric (105 MPGe combined)
This car’s strong points include agile handling for an electric vehicle, $5,750 in fuel savings over five years compared to an average new vehicle, and a quiet interior loaded with heated front seats and a voice command feature amongst other modern infotainment conveniences. Unlike the notorious Tesla, however, the Focus Electric can only reach an estimated seventy-six miles on a full battery. Test drivers also took note of its poor rear-seat legroom and limited cargo capacity. That said, it offers a remarkable charge time of three-and-a-half hours with a 240-volt charger. With a price of $29,170, this electric car can be thought of like a more affordable Tesla Model S.

4) 2015 Smart Fortwo Electric Drive (107 MPGe combined)
As the only electric convertible (or coupe), the Smart Fortwo ED stands out in the crowd. Weighing just over one ton and featuring a small motor, impressive mileage ($6,000 in fuel savings over five years compared to the average new vehicle), and a cozy size that is familiar to Smart owners, the Smart Fortwo ED sounds appealing for $28,000. However, the car suffers from weak handling and the sorely limited range of sixty-eight miles per fully charged battery. Speaking of batteries, the 3.3-kW charger can reach full capacity in about five to six hours, but, unfortunately, lacks a port to access Quick Charging at public stations. To those with an affinity for Smarts, it’s a reasonable option.

3) 2016 Mitsubishi i-MiEV (112 MPGe combined)
When looking for a functional, fuel-efficient, and safe vehicle, you may want to give the i-MiEV a strong consideration. Boasting a relatively cheap $22,995 price tag and $6,000 in fuel savings, while being practically maintenance-free, the i-MiEV fulfills its purpose admirably – despite lacking minor amenities. Its battery will last for approximately sixty-two miles – which is less than its competitors – and it charges at home for six or seven hours using a 240-volt charger. While its battery life is a bit shorter, there are plentiful compatible Quick Charging stations scattered throughout the U.S, and these can charge the battery to eighty percent in about half an hour. Considering its low fuel cost, combined with federal subsidies and little need for maintenance, the i-MiEV presents an affordable alternative to the Tesla that anyone looking into electric vehicles should examine further.

2) 2015 Nissan Leaf (114 MPGe combined)
By far the most popular electric car at this time, the Leaf delivers a relaxing, quiet ride and features a distinctive sloping appearance. The Leaf drives like a normal car and operates with efficiency at the forefront. Using regenerative braking to save energy and new “hot-weather” chemistry to withstand 150-degree ambient temperatures, the Nissan Leaf maintains an eighty-four-mile range, although battery capacity is lost in cold climates. Now sold in Texas and Georgia, these local buyers can benefit from a $5,000 State income-tax credit in addition to the Federal income-tax credit of $7,500. With its base model coming at $29,010 and saving $6,000 in fuel every five years, the Leaf provides an efficient means of transportation while also acting as a wise long-term investment amongst electric vehicles.

1) 2015 Chevrolet Spark EV (119 MPGe combined)
Touting impressive handling and responsive steering, the Spark EV cleverly mitigates the drawbacks of an electric vehicle while surpassing its gasoline counterpart. Reaching sixty mph in under eight seconds (as opposed to 11 seconds for the gas model), the Spark packs a punch. With an estimated range of eighty-two miles balanced by a charge time of seven hours at 240 volts, this Chevy lasts a while on the road for its breed and charges in a night’s worth of sleep. Like the Leaf, the Spark EV rarely requires a use of the brake thanks to regenerative-braking that prolongs battery life. Amongst these five choices, the Spark EV demonstrates the highest fuel efficiency, breaking in at 119 MPGe and resulting in $6,250 in savings over five years compared to the average new car. With an approximate price tag of $25,560 alleviated by federal tax credits and nearly-negligible driving costs, the Spark offers outstanding fuel-efficiency while transcending its gasoline equivalent.

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