CarGurus Names Their Top 10 Fuel Efficient Vehicles

by Don Elliott on April 11, 2012

The auto research and shopping site, CarGurus, has identified their top ten fuel-efficient vehicles for under $15,000. They anticipate that cars offering significant gas mileage will increase in price throughout the summer months.

In a recent press release, CarGurus released their methodology and forecast for fuel-efficient vehicles. “Gas prices have proven a reliable indicator of where used car prices are headed, and consumers in the market for a fuel-efficient used car this year should be mindful of that correlation,” said Langley Steinert, founder and CEO of CarGurus. “The best advice for shoppers is to get ahead of the cycle by buying soon, when they will find the best deals on small, fuel-efficient used cars. Alternatively, consumers should consider waiting until the fall and winter months when there is typically less price volatility in the used car marketplace.”

CarGurus “analyze[s] prices on millions of cars and enables consumers to quickly find the best local deals from the best rated dealerships.” They predict that small, fuel-efficient car prices will go up 15% between January 2012 and August 2012, contrary to the normal depreciation for most cars. The CarGurus analysts have found a correlation between gas prices and used car value of certain “gas-sippers” that will cause their value to go against the usual pattern.

The analysts focused on the 2008 model year and assumed that most cars would have 60,000 miles or less. They chose cars with used car values less than $15,000 in the compact car class. The trim levels are identified on the chart below:


Car (Trim) Combined MPG
CarGurus Instant
Market Value
(based on 12K miles
per year)
2008 Chevrolet Aveo (Aveo5 LS) 30 (24/34) $8,700
2008 smart fortwo (pure) 37 (33/41) $9,700
2008 Toyota Yaris (Hatchback) 33 (29/36) $10,000
2008 Hyundai Accent (GLS) 30 (27/32) $10,100
2008 Kia Rio (Rio 5 LX) 30 (27/32) $10,300
2008 Ford Focus (S) 30 (24/35) $10,400
2008 Honda Fit (Base) 31 (28/34) $11,900
2008 Toyota Corolla (LE) 33 (28/37) $12,300
2008 Scion xD (Base) 30 (26/32) $13,000
2008 Toyota Matrix (Base) 30 (26/33) $13,500

In this segment, with gas prices firmly established at or above the $4.00 per gallon level, expect to see any car with a combined miles per gallon rating of 30 or more to be expensive relative to other cars. Fortunately, prices will only rise until the new version of the same car has a better used car value. Consumers will recognize the top of the price bracket very quickly.

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