This is a big year for hybrid and electric vehicles. Tesla Motors is launching one of the world’s most anticipated electric cars. Best-selling sedans such as the Honda Accord are going hybrid, and classics such as the Toyota Prius just keep getting better.
Gas prices may be at their lowest in more than a decade, but it’s only a matter of time before prices return to normal. Now is the best time to buy a fuel-efficient vehicle. Like any other car, there are options for every price range. Hybrid and electric cars were pricey fringe options in the 2000s, but 2016 is another story. If you’re in the market for a more fuel-efficient vehicle, no matter your budget, these are the models you should look at.
- Tesla Model 3
The Model 3 is full of hype and veiled in secrecy. When Tesla launched the luxurious Model S in 2011, consumers thought, “Finally! But when will they make one I can afford?” Well, that time is now. So far we know only two details about the Model 3: it will cost around $35,000 and have a battery range of just under 200 miles. That’s a huge drop in price considering the Model S can reach six figures with its dual motors and larger battery. Pre-orders for the Model 3 started March 31, and the car is expected to launch in 2017. Tesla could change the electric industry once again.
- Toyota Prius
The Prius is the hybrid car that started everything. When gas prices surpassed $4 per gallon after the 2008 recession, drivers with long commutes flocked to Toyota dealerships to find some relief at the pump. Even as gas prices found their way below $2, the Prius is still one of the most popular hybrids on the road. Plus, its design is practical and unmistakable.
- Chevrolet Volt / Bolt
Detroit was not about to let Japan dominate the hybrid market and developed a car to compete with the Prius: the Chevy Volt. The Volt had some growing pains when it first launched, but it has improved over the years into a legitimate contender against Toyota. And taking one step above the competition, the new Chevy Bolt is the first fully electric car from the American manufacturer.
- Honda Accord Hybrid
One problem with hybrid cars is that they can look too much like a hybrid car. The Prius is a classic design, but for some it’s boxy and awkward. The good news is some of our favorite sedans are now opting for hybrid options with no cosmetic difference. The Honda Accord, one of the best-selling sedans in America, is now available with a hybrid engine. Even better? The price is almost identical to a regular Accord, making this decision a no-brainer for anyone in the market for a fuel-efficient car.
- Where to Buy
If you’re buying new, you can purchase directly from Tesla (depending on your state) and visit your nearest dealership for all other brands. The used market is a bit trickier. Hybrid cars retain their value well, and you may have trouble finding a good deal if you live in a rural area. For example, drivers in central Kentucky should make the trip north to a dealership in Cincinnati to find a better deal. Even considering your gas and possible lodging costs, this trip could be worth the savings you’ll likely find in an urban area where hybrids are more common.