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14 Most Fuel-Efficient New Cars, 2014

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The vehicles we spotlight here are the least thirsty in their price categories, based on annual fuel costs. The fuel cost assumes 15,000 miles of combined city and highway driving each year and gasoline prices of $3.40 a gallon for regular, $3.70 for premium and $3.90 for diesel, or for electric cars, 12 cents per kilowatt hour.

Many of the winners sport an alternative powertrain: either gas-electric hybrid or all electric. "Green" is still a red-hot buzzword in the auto industry, with carmakers competing to showcase their commitment to fuel economy. All electric vehicles qualify for a $7,500 federal tax credit.

To be eligible for the most-fuel-efficient award, each model must have been designated a top 25 pick in its category, and no vehicle can win if another trim level of that model has won in a lower-price category.

Because of the increase in crossover models, this year we split the large and midsize crossovers into separate categories. SOURCES: Kelley Blue Book (new-vehicle data, ownership costs); Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (Top Safety Picks); FuelEconomy.gov (plug-in vehicle annual fuel costs)

14 Most Fuel-Efficient New Cars, 2014
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