Hybrid vehicles dominate the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) top ten list of fuel economy leaders, part of the annual 2008 Fuel Economy Guide. In total, ten hybrids appear on the list, which ranks the fuel efficiency of vehicles based on their city and highway miles per gallon (mpg) achievements. The guide also provides estimates of each vehicle’s annual fuel costs, assuming 15,000 miles of travel per year (55% city driving, 45% highway driving) and fuel costs of $2.80/gallon for regular unleaded gasoline and $3.00/gallon for premium.

2008 fuel econ cover

The DOE’s and EPA’s Fuel Economy Guide is available in print or on the Web at www.fueleconomy.gov. Credit: www.fueleconomy.gov

“Today’s consumers expect the biggest bang for their buck. By fueling them with information on this year’s fleet of vehicles, we are putting Americans in the driver’s seat to save money at the pump and protect our environment,” said EPA Administrator Stephen L. Johnson.

The ten hybrids on the 2008 top ten fuel economy leaders list are:

  • No. 1 – Toyota Prius (48/45 mpg city/highway, $911 annual fuel cost)
  • No. 2 – Honda Civic Hybrid (40/45 mpg city/highway, $1,000 annual fuel cost)
  • No. 3 – Nissan Altima Hybrid (35/33 mpg city/highway, $1,235 annual fuel cost)
  • No. 4 (three-way tie) – Ford Escape Hybrid FWD, Mazda Tribute Hybrid 2WD, and Mercury Mariner Hybrid FWD (34/30 mpg city/highway, $1,310 annual fuel cost)
  • No. 5 – Toyota Camry Hybrid (33/34 mpg city/highway, $1,235 annual fuel cost)
  • No. 8 (three-way tie) – Ford Escape Hybrid 4WD, Mercury Mariner Hybrid 4WD, Mazda Tribute Hybrid 4WD (29/27 mpg city/highway, $1,499 annual fuel cost).

Fuel economy estimates are found on window stickers of all new vehicles. This year, the mpg numbers were determined using new testing methods approved at the end of 2006. The goal of the new methods is to better account for real-world driving conditions (i.e., high-speed driving, air conditioning use, cold weather driving), and according to the EPA, the accuracy of these new methods means that mpg estimates will be lower than those of last year.

Another hybrid receiving kudos for its fuel efficiency is the Chevrolet Tahoe Hybrid, this year’s winner of the Green Car Journal’s Green Car of the Year award. Its mpg and annual fuel cost estimates were not available at the time the 2008 Fuel Economy Guide was published.

Tahoe Hybrid

Despite being a full-sized SUV, the Chevrolet Tahoe Hybrid received the Green Car of the Year award for its impressive gas mileage. Credit: autodeadline.com

“This is a milestone in many respects,” said Ron Cogan, Green Car Journal editor. “People don’t think ‘green’ when SUVs are concerned, and for generally good reason since SUVs often get poor fuel economy compared to most other vehicles. Chevrolet’s Tahoe Hybrid changes this dynamic with a fuel efficiency improvement of up to 30 percent compared to similar vehicles equipped with a standard V-8.”

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