Which Future Cars Offer the Best Gas Mileage?

Let’s talk gas mileage. After all, second only to the "green" aspect, isn’t that what’s it all about? With the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration looking to set minimum fuel economy standards at 35 mpg for new cars by 2020, the race is on to meet those guidelines.

Hybrids: Mix and match.

Gas mileage for hybrids is as varied as the different types of fuel systems used to run them. On the affordable end, a gasoline/electric car like the 2008 Toyota Prius reports 46 mpg, while the Honda Civic GX claims 28 mpg with its natural gas system. Gas mileage for the 2008 Ford Escape gas/electric hybrid is 30/34 mpg, and the 2008 Nissan Altima Hybrid and the Toyota Camry Hybrid are both in the 33/35 mpg range.

Both the golf cart size GEM by Global Electric Motorcars and the Myers Motors motorcycle class NmG have very low ranges of 30 to 40 miles. At the other end of the spectrum, the concept Chevy Volt, is an extended-range electric hybrid car that also uses either gas or E85 ethanol. The battery can be recharged while driving, and its estimated driving range is 640 miles. The caveat here is that the Volt isn’t expected to roll off of the production line until 2010.

If the current hybrids leave you wanting something more, it may be worth taking a look at concept cars with a hopeful eye. The Volvo Recharge is a hybrid gasoline/E85 Ethanol/electric car that is expected to get 124 mpg, or with just the gasoline system, a gas mileage of 43 mpg. Just don’t hold your breath on this one, since it may not be out until 2015. In a similar vein, Visionary Vehicles is planning to unveil their Bricklin EVX/LS hybrid in 2010, with an expected 100 mpg and vehicle range of 850 miles.

Electric cars: Batteries included

How far can an electric car go before needing a charge? Some of the luxury cars are more similar in their range. If you’re looking for something on the sporty side and don’t mind spending the money for it, the Tesla Roadster is expected to get a combined city/highway gas mileage range of around 220 miles. Its competitor, the 2008 Electrum Spyder, has a gas mileage range of 150 or 250 miles, depending on the type of lithium battery utilized. Toyota’s eBox is a sedate-looking family car and has a range of 120-150 miles. If you want to get the kids to soccer practice in record time, the 7-seater ZAP-X Crossover by ZAP Motors has a range of 350 miles and a top speed of 155 mph.

What about the others?

While the technology is still in the initial stage, gas mileage for the Honda FCX Clarity hydrogen fuel cell car is expected to be 68 mpg. Let’s keep our fingers crossed that the BMW Hydrogen 7 and the Chevrolet Equinox Fuel Cell cars will have equally impressive gas mileages.

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