For East Coasters, dealing with the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy has been made more challenging with a gas shortage and endless lines at stations for refueling. It made us think that not only would a more fuel-efficient car be great in times like these, but one with a large tank that could run for longer.
Consumer Reports provides continuously updated lists of the most fuel-efficient cars and SUVs, but that only takes into account gas mileage. On most occasions, pure fuel economy is what consumers are focused on. But as our local gas station in Yonkers, NY, this morning had a line of 250 cars, made us think there are other ways to look at fuel economy—namely, the time between fill ups.
After all, some of the most fuel-efficient models are small vehicles that have tiny tanks that hold less than 10 gallons of gas such as the Smart ForTwo and Toyota Prius C. While they may get around 40 mpg, it won't get you very far before you need another fill up.
One car in our tests that doesn't rely on fuel at all is the Nissan Leaf, which only runs on electric. However, this money-saving green machine may become useless in a power outage. Plug-in hybrids, such as the Chevrolet Volt, offer the best of both worlds--gas and electric. The Volt's combined range is a modest 325 miles, but the flexibility of energizing based on gasoline or electricity availability gives this car extra storm appeal.
Looking at the list below, hybrid and diesel sedans tend to dominate for the long-haul combining excellent fuel economy with respectable tank size. There are also full-sized pickups on the list that are able to keep truckin' for over 500 miles thanks to dual fuel tanks.
|Make & model ||CR Overall mpg ||Tank size ||Cruising range |
|Volkswagen Passat TDI SE ||50 ||18.5 ||690 |
|Toyota Camry Hybrid XLE || 38 ||17.0 ||650 |
|Chevrolet Volt ||99 MPGe (electric)/32 mpg (gas) ||9.3 ||325 |
|Hyundai Sonata hybrid ||33 ||17.2 ||560 |
|Nissan Altima (4-cyl.) ||31 ||18.0 ||560 |
Ford F-250 (6.7, turbodiesel)
|16 ||35.0 ||560 |
|Ford F-150 (V8) ||15 ||36.0 ||555 |
Volkswagen Golf TDI
|38 ||14.5 ||545 |
Mercedes-Benz E350 BlueTec
|26 ||21.1 ||540 |
Volkswagen Touareg TDI
|24 ||22.4 ||540 |
While a hurricane may be a special circumstance, natural disasters do occur. If you are looking at buying a new car because either your car was flooded or damaged in the storm, or you are simply ready to give up that gas guzzler, check out our list of vehicles that offer good fuel economy and a great cruising range, so you can spend less time at gas stations and more time getting where you need to go.
For more on saving gas, see our fuel economy and alternative fuel guides.
Sandy aftermath: How to avoid buying a flooded used car
What to do if your car is damaged in a storm
Driving after a storm
Get your car ready for bad weather
How to drive safely in heavy rain and wind