Volt Is Cheapest To Fuel, Smackdown Says

Which new car is cheapest to fuel? According to the automotive editors at Edmunds.com, it’s the Chevy Volt, which won the site’s recent Fuel-Sipper Smackdown 4.

Instead of just crunching EPA fuel economy data, Edmunds said it “pitted fuel-efficient vehicles of all sizes and technologies against each other in three real-world driving environments – country highway, interstate highway and city route.” The 2011 Volt won both in terms of gas mileage and total fueling costs, but it was a narrow victory.

image via Chevrolet

The 2012 Fiat 500 got just 36.3 mpg, well shy of the Volt’s 41 mpg, but 91 octane gas represented the only cost to keep the Fiat moving. With the Volt, the Edmunds team also had to shell out $4.85 for electricity as it achieved 99.5 miles of electric-powered range. When all was said and done, the Volt had eked out an $88.55 to $88.77.

Edmunds.com’s editors said the performance of the Fiat 500 was the big surprise in the test. The Fiat, with its tiny engine and manual transmission, was the only vehicle Edmunds tested that either met or exceeded its EPA mpg estimates on every leg of the test. Other cars in the Smackdown were the 2011 Kia Optima Hybrid, the 2011 Hyundai Elantra and the 2011 Volkswagen Jetta TDI.

Kristy Hessman is a writer and native Oregonian who currently resides in California. Before starting her own company, she worked as a reporter covering business and politics for daily newspapers and The Associated Press.