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With Gas Prices Skyrocketing, Cars.com Identifies Cars that Offer Best Bang for Your Buck

As the price of gas reaches record highs, more car shoppers are making fuel efficiency a top priority. While gas mileage alone typically takes center stage in the decision-making process, combining the sticker price of a car with its predicted lifetime fuel cost can offer consumers a better picture of their overall savings during the lifetime of a car.

"Hybrid cars get a lot of hype when gas prices start to rise, but if your overall goal is to simply save money, there might be better options," Cars.com editor in chief Patrick Olsen said. "For instance, the most fuel-efficient car on the market is the Toyota Prius hybrid, but over eight years of ownership it will ultimately cost you almost $7,000 more to own than a Smart ForTwo."

To help consumers select the most cost-effective vehicles with respect to fuel economy, the experts at Cars.com identified the top 10 gas-only cars and the top five hybrid vehicles that deliver the best bang for the buck based on base sticker price and estimated lifetime fuel costs. The new Smart ForTwo tops the list with a base price slightly more than $11,000 for a two-door hatchback and average fuel economy of 33 mpg in the city and 41 mpg on the highway.

The list was compiled by combining each car's base sticker price (as of 5/9/08) with a fuel cost estimate based on its EPA-estimated gas mileage. Fuel costs assume that the car is driven 15,000 miles per year, 55 percent in the city and 45 percent on the highway; that the cost of regular unleaded gasoline is $3.40 a gallon; and that the car is owned for eight years.

Gas-Only Cars
All cars listed have a manual transmission.
VehicleMPG (city/hwy)Base StickerLifetime FuelSticker & Lifetime Fuel
1. Smart ForTwo33/41$11,590$12,273*$22,868
2. Toyota Yaris29/36$11,350$12,838$24,188
3. Hyundai Accent27/32$10,775$14,049$24,824
4. Kia Rio27/32$10,890$14,049$24,939
5. Chevrolet Aveo524/34$10,235$14,750$24,985
6. Nissan Versa26/31$12,880$14,553$27,433
7. Chevrolet Aveo24/34$12,170$14,750$26,920
8. Honda Fit28/34$13,950$13,414$27,364
9. Toyota Corolla28/37$14,405$12,976$27,381
10. Scion xD24/32$14,550$13,875$28,425

* With premium fuel

Hybrid Cars
VehicleMPG (city/hwy)Base StickerLifetime FuelSticker & Lifetime Fuel
1. Toyota Prius48/45$21,100$8,755$29,855
2. Honda Civic Hybrid40/45$22,600$9,690$32,290
3. Toyota Camry Hybrid33/34$25,200$12,200$37,400
4. Nissan Altima Hybrid35/33$25,480$11,975$37,455
5. Saturn Aura Green Line24/32$23,640$15,088$38,728

About Cars.com

Cars.com is the leading destination for online car shoppers, offering credible, easy-to-understand information from consumers and experts to help buyers formulate opinions on what to buy, where to buy and how much to pay for a car. With comprehensive pricing information, side-by-side comparison tools, photo galleries, videos, unbiased editorial content and a large selection of new- and used-car inventory, Cars.com puts millions of car buyers in control of their shopping process with the information they need to make confident buying decisions.

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

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