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The most fuel-efficient family vehicles by class for 2013

The Mazda 5 is more a microvan or wagon than minivan. It gets 24 mpg. The best fuel economy for the more traditionally-sized minivan is the Honda Odyssey at 22 mpg. (Blue Fish Productions Pty Ltd – / )
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July 10, 2013, 1:23 p.m.

By Robert Duffer, Chicago Tribune

Fuel efficiency remains a top priority for customers, auto manufacturers and the government. Last year the Obama administration supercharged the Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFÉ) enacted in 1975 to improve fuel economy, increase national security, reduce greenhouse gases and save consumers money. By 2025, the average fuel economy will be 54.5 mpg or mpg equivalent. By 2016, the EPA and US Department of Transportation expect average mpg to be 35.5. Currently, it is 24.8 mpg, an increase of almost 20% since 2007, when it was 20.8. Despite such ambitious goals, nearly every sector of the auto industry, from steel to tires, is improving fuel economy.

Since families are one of the most fuel-conscious demographics, we’ve made a list of the most fuel-efficient family cars by class. We’re not going to look at two-seaters, which are the most fuel efficient of the bunch, nor will we look at sports cars, even though GM just announced the 2014 Corvette will have an eco function that can get 30 mpg. Of course the EPA and the NHTSA use two different classification systems based on cargo volume and curb weight, respectively, so we’re going to use the EPA mpg rankings on the NHTSA classifications. All in the name of simplification.

The estimates below are for 2013 models combined mpg based on EPA info at and organized here. Why 2013 when 2014 models are coming out? “We are still receiving some data for model year 2013 so there really is no definitive date for when we will have all of the 2014 records,” said a spokesperson for It is anticipated that most 2014 mpg records will be reported by late October 2013, so expect an update then.

Light compact or subcompact:

Electric Vehicles (EV): Mitsubishi i-MiEV, 112 MPGe*

Plug-in hybrids (PHEV): n/a

Hybrids (HEV): n/a

Diesel: VW Beetle convertible, 32 mpg

Gas only: Chevrolet Spark, 34 mpg


Electric Vehicles (EV): Ford Focus Electric, 105 MPGe*

Plug-in hybrids (PHEV): Chevrolet Volt, 98 MPGe

Hybrids (HEV): Toyota Prius c Hybrid, 50 mpg

Diesel: Volkswagen Golf and Jetta, 34 mpg

Gas only: Nissan Versa, 35 mpg



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