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How to Determine a Car’s Fuel Efficiency Rating

Fuel Economy Guide

Car buyers have a host of things to consider when it comes to buying a new car. The term ‘new’ car doesn’t necessarily mean brand new, it means acquiring a different car. It could be a brand new car or a pre-owned car. Whichever type of car the consumer is considering in addition to getting a free CARFAX history report, the car’s fuel efficiency is another feature to consider before making the auto purchase.

How to Compare Fuel Efficiency

Manufacturers put car gas mileage stickers on the windows of new cars. They tout certain gas mileage for city and highway driving. However, car buyers can determine a car’s fuel efficiency prior to showing up at the auto dealer’s showroom floor. The US government has a fuel efficiency tool that helps consumers determine how much gas a vehicle will consume prior to hearing the auto dealer’s ‘spiel.’

By visiting the website FuelEconomy.gov, consumers are able to find out the anticipated gas consumption for various models cars, trucks and SUV’s. This takes the guesswork out of determining a car’s fuel efficiency rating.

Early in the Car Buying Process

For consumers in the beginning phase of the car buying process, the Fuel Economy website is a handy elimination tool. It helps car buyers to rule out gas guzzlers in favor of more fuel-efficient cars. Why waste time inspecting a car only to find out later that the annual fuel costs are prohibitive?

The Fuel Economy website allows car buyers to browse the database by make, class or MPG. For the more astute driver, there is the advanced option which allows consumers to select the fuel type, such as Dedicated CNG or Bifuel LPG, transmission, cylinders and more.

Side by Side Fuel Consumption Comparison

The side by side comparison feature comes in handy for consumers who have narrowed their new car selection down to two or three finalists. Comparing things such as the fuel efficiency rating in addition to the vehicle’s energy impact score, carbon footprint and EPA air pollution score might be the determining factor in selecting one vehicle over another.

To get a true understanding of the numbers posted on the auto dealer’s sticker, download and print the 44-page 2013 Fuel Economy guide (here’s the link for earlier fuel economy guides). Consumers should read the guide so that when they walk into the auto dealership or begin negotiations with a seller in a private sale, car buyers are prepared.

Selecting the Best or Worst Fuel Efficient Car

In 2009 when this post was originally written, the Toyota Prius has the distinction of ranking as the most efficient overall with 48 MPG city and 45 MPG highway. Unfortunately, there are several cars tied for the dubious honor of being the least fuel-efficient cars. The Lamborghini Murcielago with its 8 MPG city and 13 highway is in the same category as the Mercedes-Benz E63, Saab 9-3 Aero Sport Combi AWD, Ferrari 612 Scaglietti and a few others.

Depending on the budget and the consumers’ environmental awareness, the Fuel Economy website is a great tool for helping car buyers to make the right decision when choosing a new car.

About the author: Felicia A. Williams is a former insurance broker who is now a freelance writer.