14 Most Fuel-Efficient New Cars, 2014

The vehicles we spotlight here are the least thirsty in their price categories, based on annual fuel costs.

Electric car in charging
(Image credit: Thinkstock)

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)

Jessica L. Anderson
Associate Editor, Kiplinger's Personal Finance
Anderson has been with Kiplinger since January 2004, when she joined the staff as a reporter. Since then, she's covered the gamut of personal finance issues—from mortgages and credit to spending wisely—and she heads up Kiplinger's annual automotive rankings. She holds a BA in journalism and mass communication from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She was the 2012 president of the Washington Automotive Press Association and serves on its board of directors. In 2014, she was selected for the North American Car and Truck Of the Year jury. The awards, presented at the Detroit Auto Show, have come to be regarded as the most prestigious of their kind in the U.S. because they involve no commercial tie-ins. The jury is composed of nationally recognized journalists from across the U.S. and Canada, who are selected on the basis of audience reach, experience, expertise, product knowledge, and reputation in the automotive community.