BOSTON (TheStreet) -- Consumers worrying about the greenhouse effect -- or just how spending too many greenbacks on gas will affect their household budgets -- should check out the super-efficient cars automakers are offering in 2013.
Roughly a half-dozen electric cars or plug-in hybrids offer the equivalent of 95 miles per gallon or more in combined city/highway driving, while some boast a shockingly good 100 mpg or higher.
"I think we're going to see more and more people in the mainstream -- not just liberals, but everyone -- saying: 'Why not just [buy a super-efficient car]? After all, the technology is proven,'" says Phil Reed, an Edmunds.com senior consumer-advice editor who drives an electric-powered Nissan (NSANY) Leaf.
Automakers have been selling "green" cars on the U.S. market for more than a decade, convincing consumers to pay often-hefty sticker prices to cut gasoline bills and help the environment.Hybrids, plug-in hybrids and electric cars typically cost $5,000 to $10,000 more than comparable gas-powered models, as they have expensive battery packs and large research and development costs. But Reed says many consumers are willing to pay a premium to protect Mother Nature. For instance, the expert says his brother recently explained buying a Toyota (TM) Prius hybrid by saying: "It's not going to fix global warming, but at least it's something I can do to help." Reed himself leased a Leaf not just for environmental reasons, but also because his home state of California allows electric-vehicle drivers to use Los Angeles' HOV lanes without car pooling. That shaves some 90 hours a year off of his commute to and from work. The auto editor also calculates that his Leaf is so energy efficient that running it is like paying just $1.50 a gallon for gas. "It's insurance against future energy shocks," Reed says. "That's one way to look at it." Here's a rundown of the five greenest mainstream vehicles automakers are offering U.S. consumers in 2013, based on fuel-efficiency figures manufacturers have released to date. All numbers reflect U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimates for combined city and highway driving, but are marked "mpge" instead of "mpg" because they refer to a "miles per gallon equivalent" for cars running mostly or entirely on batteries. Prices refer to manufacturer's suggested retail prices for base models but exclude state and federal tax credits that typically cut at least $7,500 off of most vehicles' costs. MSRPs also exclude taxes, title fees and destination charges.
Select the service that is right for you!COMPARE ALL SERVICES
Jim Cramer and Stephanie Link actively manage a real portfolio and reveal their money management tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.
- $2.5+ million portfolio
- Large-cap and dividend focus
- Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
- Weekly roundups
Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.
- Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
- Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
- A custom stock screener
- Upgrade/downgrade alerts
Jim Cramer's protege, David Peltier, identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.
- Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
- Alerts when market news affect the portfolio
- Bi-weekly updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
All of Real Money, plus 15 more of Wall Street's sharpest minds delivering actionable trading ideas, a comprehensive look at the market, and fundamental and technical analysis.
- Real Money + Doug Kass Plus 15 more Wall Street Pros
- Intraday commentary & news
- Ultra-actionable trading ideas
Our options trading pros provide daily market commentary and over 100 monthly option trading ideas and strategies to help you become a well-seasoned trader.
- 100+ monthly options trading ideas
- Actionable options commentary & news
- Real-time trading community
- Options TV