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Fuel Efficient Cars from $2000 to $4000

These Reliable Cars Provide Gas-Saving Transportation


If you are among the people driving SUVs that are just too expensive to fill (or even sell), here's some advice: Park 'em, cancel the registration and insurance (if possible), and find a fuel efficient used car that's easy on the wallet. A 2005 Ford Explorer will use about $3,722 in gas in a year while a 1999 Mercury Tracer will only use $1,922 during the same time frame. In two years you'd pay for the Tracer with just the money you've saved in fuel costs.

Here are the abbreviations:

  • CR = Consumer Reports
  • EPA = Environmental Protection Agency
  • 22/29 = city mpg/highway mpg
  • AFC = Annual Fuel Costs

1. 1993 Acura Integra $3490

Photo © Acura
Way back when this was the first model introduced by Acura in 1986. It is fuel efficient used car but also a sporty hatchback that doesn't show its age when well maintained. No CR info available before 1998; newer models designated CR Good Bet. There's no shame in driving an Acura. EPA: 22/29 AFC-$2232

2. 1996 Buick LeSabre $3530

Photo © Buick
The LeSabre is a full-sized sedan that could get you past the shock of not having an SUV to drive. No CR info available before 1998, 1998 model marked average. Fuel economy is 17-mpg city and 27-mpg highway, which is good for a car introduced 12 years ago. AFC-$2790

3. 1996 Buick Regal $3750

Photo © Buick
The Buick Regal two-door coupe that was a delightful car to drive. Sensing a trend here? Even back in the '90s Buick was making good cars. No CR info available before 1998, 1998 model marked average, 18/26 AFC-$2656

4. 1996 Chevrolet Beretta $2835

Photo © Chevrolet
The Chevrolet Beretta is a coupe that was starting to show its age in 1996, but it still offered a reliable ride that never quite matched its sporty exterior. No CR info available, but look at these EPA fuel economy numbers: 22-city/33-highway. AFC-$2148

5. 1998 Chevrolet Cavalier $3310

Photo © Chevrolet
The Chevrolet Cavalier is good, basic transportation. For years it was the grunt of the Chevrolet lineup. Nothing flashy, but it got the job done. CR marks 1998 model average reliability. Fuel economy is good at 21/31 AFC-$2232

6. 1996 Chevrolet Corsica $2495

Photo © Chevrolet
I owned a 1990 Corsica and loved it. Basically a staple of the daily rental fleet by 1996, it was still a good vehicle. No CR info available, but this was a fairly simple vehicle without a lot of bells and whistles. EPA fuel economy: 21/29 AFC-$2327

7. 1997 Ford Taurus $3130

Photo © Ford
There are still plenty on the road because the Taurus was such a hot-selling sedan. What's good about the 1997 model is it looks newer because it did not undergo a redesign until 2000. No CR info available, 1998 model marked average reliability. Fuel economy is good, not great, at 18/26 (6-cyl.), AFC-$2656

8. 1994 Mazda 323 $2475

Photo © Mazda
This little hatchback should give you some feelings of Zoom Zoom as you make your daily rounds. No CR info available. Fuel economy is really strong at 25/33, AFC-$1992

9. 1999 Mercury Tracer $3445

Photo © Mercury
This was a reliably roomy sedan that did its job without a lot of flash. No CR info available. It gets great gas mileage at 24-city/34-highway. Any AFC $1992 below $2000 should catch your attention.

10. 1995 Nissan Altima $3625

Photo © Nissan
There has been little to complain about the Altima over the years, which makes it puzzling why it doesn't get more respect. You'll feel no shame in driving one. No CR info available before 1998. Fuel economy is 21/28 with an AFC of $2327.

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