EPA Lists the Most Fuel-Efficient Cars of the Past 25 Years

By David Thomas  on June 13, 2010

It’s no surprise that over the past 25 years, cars have gotten less fuel efficient as safety equipment and weight have been added. Low gas prices kept innovation on the mileage front almost to a standstill as the horsepower wars heated up.

Today, we may have 305-hp, 31 mpg Ford Mustangs on the street bringing the best of both worlds, but that wasn’t always the case. In the past, it was uninspiring cars like the Geo Metro and Chevy Sprint leading the gas mileage race, making a 2010 Toyota Prius look like a luxury car in comparison.

The EPA’s fueleconomy.gov website compiled the top 10 most fuel-efficient cars of the past 25 years, which we present you below.

1. 2000 Honda Insight: 49/61/53 mpg city/highway/combined
2. 2010 Toyota Prius: 51/48/50 mpg city/highway/combined
3. 1986 Chevy Sprint: 44/53/48 mpg city/highway/combined
4. 1990-1994 Geo Metro: 43/52/47 mpg city/highway/combined
5. 1986-1987 Honda Civic CR-X: 42/51/46 mpg city/highway/combined
6. 1994-1995 Honda Civic HB: 39/50/43 mpg city/highway/combined
7. 2006-2010 Honda Civic Hybrid: 40/45/42 mpg city/highway/combined
8. 1985 Pontiac Firefly: 39/47/42 mpg city/highway/combined
9. 1985 Suzuki SA310: 39/47/42 mpg city/highway/combined
10. 2010 Honda Insight: 40/43/41 mpg city/highway/combined

Managing Editor David Thomas has a thing for wagons and owns a 2010 Subaru Outback and a 2005 Volkswagen Passat wagon.  Email David