The Green Living Guy

By Wendy Koch, Senior Director, Marketing and Communications

Memorial Day and the summer driving season are upon us. With gasoline prices now averaging $4.60 per gallon for regular—expect to seriously jack up the cost of a road trip. Fuel-efficient cars reduce those costs, saving hundreds of dollars on long rides.

In fact, travelers save nearly $550 by driving the most fuel-efficient 2022 midsize sedan—the Hyundai Elantra Hybrid Blue—rather than the least-efficient 2022 midsize SUV—the Jeep Wrangler 4X4—one way from New York to San Francisco, according to an analysis of ACEEE’s GreenerCars data.

Even on shorter trips, consumers benefit. By making the above vehicle switch, they save nearly $70 in gasoline costs. That’s on a one-way trip from Indianapolis to Pittsburgh.

Of course, staying home can reduce these costs (and related greenhouse gas emissions) the most, but many people are eager to travel more after two years of the COVID-19 pandemic. Taking a bus or train will usually reduce emissions, but it may not always be a viable or cost-effective option.

Fuel-efficient cars reduce both gasoline costs and emissions. Because of supply chain disruptions, consumers may not be able to buy or rent the most energy-efficient options, which include all-electric, plug-in hybrid, or gasoline hybrid vehicles. Still, they can lower operating costs by picking the most efficient option available.

Gasoline Costs of Three Road Trips

Note: This analysis uses the most direct driving routes and the average price of a gallon of regular gasoline, per AAA, as of May 25, 2022. It compares gas-fueled vehicles. *The Toyota Venza AWD and Lexus 350h AWD also get 37 mpg on a highway. 

Source: ACEEE’s GreenerCars  

The good news: Most of the “greenest” vehicles on ACEEE’s annual GreenerCars ratings are moderately priced. The most fuel-efficient midsize sedan, the Hyundai Elantra Hybrid Blue, has prices starting at just under $25,000.

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