As gas prices hover near $4 a gallon nationwide, there are more than 20 SUVs and trucks that cost more than $100 to fill up. But, there are almost 30 cars that cost less than $50 to refuel. We crunched the numbers and found the cheapest cars in America to fill up.
The cars that cause the least pain at the pump are almost exclusively small cars. The largest fuel tank in the group is 12.4 gallons. These tend to also be rather fuel-efficient cars, going beyond limiting pump-price shock by minimizing true operating costs. Consequently, the driving range for these vehicles is relatively long, stretching from 394 miles for the Kia Soul to 655 for the Toyota Prius.
To make these calculations, we started with almost 300 vehicles in our current test ratings, then multiplied the fuel capacity against the current nationwide average fuel costs, according to the Energy Information Administration. The results put 29 models under the $50 threshold. Regular gasoline prices edged up two cents this week, bumping two models off the list that would have made it last week.
If you're looking to minimize pain at the pump, then these vehicles warrant a closer look. But, be sure to emphasize fuel economy, rather than fill-up cost, to reduce your long-term operating costs. In fact, go one better by looking at the total owner costs, including depreciation, maintenance, repair, insurance, and other factors. All this information is available on the model pages by clicking on the vehicle names below.
See our guide to fuel economy for advice on saving gasoline, including how to get the best gas mileage with your current vehicle.
Updated: 4/5/12, 4/19/12