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In Light of Skyrocketing Gas Prices, Cars.com Identifies 20 Cars That Deliver Best Bang for Your Buck

As the price of gas approaches $3.00 a gallon, more and more car shoppers are putting fuel-efficiency near the top of their wish list. While fuel-efficiency typically takes center stage, the sticker price of the car combined with the lifetime fuel cost can offer consumers a more accurate picture of the overall savings during the lifetime of the car.

"Hybrid cars get a lot of hype when gasoline prices start to rise. They certainly are a great way to save money at the pump on a yearly basis and are typically better for the environment," said Cars.com senior editor Joe Wiesenfelder. "However, if your overall goal is to simply save money, there might be better options."

Below is Cars.com's ranking of the 20 cars that give consumers the best bang for the buck based on vehicle price and the average lifetime fuel cost to operate the car. The new Toyota Yaris tops the list with a base price of less than $11,000 for a two-door hatchback and average fuel economy of 34 mpg in the city and 40 mpg on the highway. The most fuel-efficient vehicle on the road is the Honda Insight hybrid, which has a base price of more than $19,000. If gas prices average $3 a gallon for the foreseeable future, it would take an owner of a Honda Insight more than 17 years to offset the $8,000 price difference of a Toyota Yaris in fuel savings*.

The list was compiled by combining the base sticker price with a fuel cost estimate based on the car's average gas mileage. Fuel costs assume that the car is driven 15,000 miles per year, the percentage of highway driving versus city driving is 45 and 55 percent respectively, the cost of regular unleaded gasoline is $2.92 a gallon and the car is owned for eight years. Diesel costs are estimated at $2.96 a gallon.

Make/Model — City/Hwy — Base Sticker — Lifetime Fuel — Sticker + Lifetime Fuel

1. Toyota Yaris (Manual) — 34/40 — $10,950 — $9,394 — $20,344
2. Kia Rio (Manual) — 32/35 — $10,770 — $10,507 — $21,277
3. Hyundai Accent (Manual) — 32/35 — $12,455 — $10,507 — $ 22,962
4. Scion xA (Manual) — 32/37 — $12,780 — $10,231 — $23,011
5. Honda Fit (Manual) — 33/38 — $13,850 — $ 9,940 — $23,790
6. Toyota Corolla (Manual) — 32/41 — $14,105 — $9,720 — $ 23,825
7. Scion xA (Automatic) — 31/38 — $13,580 — $10,261 — $23,841
8. Kia Rio (Automatic) — 29/38 — $13,495 — $10,602 — $24,097
9. Honda Insight Hybrid — 60/66 — $19,330 — $ 5,589 — $24,919
10. Hyundai Accent (Automatic) — 28/36 — $13,845 — $ 11,089 — $ 24,934
11. Honda Civic (Manual) — 30/38 — $14,560 — $10,429 — $24,989
12. Toyota Corolla (Automatic) — 30/38 — $14,905 — $10,429 —$25,334
13. Honda Civic (Automatic) — 30/40 — $15,360 — $10,157 — $25,517
14. Volkswagen Beetle (Manual /Diesel) — 37/44 — $18,390 — $8,847 —$27,237
15. Toyota Prius Hybrid — 60/51 — $21,725 — $6,263 — $27,988
16. Volkswagen Golf (Manual/Diesel) — 37/44 — $19,580 — $8,847 — $28,427
17. Volkswagen Beetle (Automatic/ Diesel) — 35/42 — $19,465 — $ 9,311 — $28,776
18. Honda Civic Hybrid — 49/51 — $22,150 — $7,022 — $ 29,172
19. Volkswagen Golf (Automatic/Diesel) — 33/44 — $20,655 — $9,360 — $30,015
20. Volkswagen Jetta (Manual/Diesel) — 36/41 — $21,605 — $9,286 — $30,891

*Assumes the car is driven 15,000 miles a year.

About Cars.com

Partnered with more than 200 leading metro newspapers, television stations and their websites, Cars.com is the most comprehensive destination for those looking to buy or sell a new or used car. The site lists more than 1.5 million vehicles from more than 10,000 dealer customers, classified advertisers and private parties to offer consumers the best selection of new and used cars online, as well as the content, tools and advice to support their shopping experience. Recently selected by Forbes.com as a Best of the Web site for car shopping, Cars.com combines powerful inventory search tools and new-car configuration with pricing information, photo galleries, buying guides, side-by-side comparison tools, original editorial content and reviews to help millions of car shoppers connect with sellers each month.

Launched in June 1998, Cars.com is a division of Classified Ventures, LLC, which is owned by six leading media companies, including Belo (NYSE: BLC), Gannett Co., Inc. (NYSE: GCI), Knight Ridder (NYSE: KRI), The McClatchy Company (NYSE: MNI), Tribune Company (NYSE: TRB) and The Washington Post Company (NYSE: WPO).

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