With ever-soaring gas prices, a vehicle’s MPG rating is the most important factor for many consumers. In the current market, hybrid vehicles are leading the pack with the best MPG ratings. Here is a list to help when choosing the right new car for you. For this list we’ll be looking at the newest 2011 models that present the highest quality, best prices, and the highest MPG. If shopping on a budget, many of these same models from previous years are an excellent bargain. Other good choices include the Chevy Volt, Smart Fortwo, Ford Fiesta, and the Honda Fit.
1. Toyota Prius
The Prius has been the premiere hybrid vehicle since it rolled out of factories in Japan in 1997. The 2011 model continues this trend with an impressive 51 MPG rating during highway driving and 48 MPG around town. The Prius can go 595 miles on a full tank. The Prius has more competition than ever with fully electric vehicles hitting the market, but it’s versatility and long range should keep it on top in the foreseeable future. It’s one drawback is that it remains one of the most expensive hybrids on the market.
2. Chevrolet Cruze
The Cruze is on the lower-end of the price scale with a base price under $17,000. The Cruze comes with either a 1.4 or 1.8 liter, four-cylinder engine. The 1.8 liter has 136 HP with 123 pound-feet of torque. The 1.4 liter engine is turbocharged for slightly higher HP. The Eco model gets the best gas-mileage with a rating of 28 in the city and 42 MPG on the highway. This vehicle offers a spacious interior and its handling is surprisingly sporty.
3. Honda Civic Hybrid
The 2011 Civic Hybrid has a MSRP of $23,950. It’s MPG rating is 43 MPG on the highway and 40 MPG during city driving. The Civic’s range is approximately 510 miles on a single tank of gas. This year’s model features an upgraded version of the battery pack used in the Honda Integrated Motor Assist system.
4. Nissan LEAF
The LEAF is the highest-priced vehicle on this list, but for good reason! It’s MSRP is $32,000. So, what does the Leaf offer to make it worth the cost? It offers an astounding 106 MPC (miles per charge) on the highway and 92 MPC in the city. These levels are unprecedented in the industry. The government offers a $7500 tax credit for those who purchase this vehicle, which can help to offset the high cost. The LEAF also has a low recharge time of only eight hours, although “range anxiety” is common for those with long commutes as the charging infrastructure simply isn’t sufficient in the U.S.
5. Hyundai Elantra
Hyundai offers a great MPG rating for a bargain with the $14,800 Elantra. It gets 29/40 MPG and has a range of 540 miles per tank. The engine has a nice amount of power with 140 HP. All models come with 1.8 liter, four-cylinder engines. The 6-speed manual, and automatic transmissions both get 40 MPG.
About the Author: Miles Walker is a freelance writer and blogger who usually reviews car insurance quotes over at CarinsuranceComparison.Org. His most recent review looked at the best Michigan car insurance.
Harvard applied physics professor David Keith is building a machine that can suck carbon dioxide from the air. Keith has started a company called Carbon Engineering that has attracted venture capitalists that see a future for this technology.
The machine uses a three-step process to filter the air and separate and sequester the carbon dioxide. First, a fan sucks air into the machine where it enters a 31-foot-long chamber filled with wavy plastic material. A sodium hydroxide solution runs down that plastic and reacts with the CO2 to pull it out of the air and turn it into carbonate solids. Those solids then go into a 900 degree Celsius kiln where they’re broken down and become a stream of pure CO2. That pure CO2 is then capture where it can go on to be stored underground or used for other purposes.
The machine reuses ash left behind in the kiln to regenerate the sodium hydroxide solution and the process continues.
Of course the removal of the CO2 from the air is never the tricky part of these projects, rather it’s what is done with the captured CO2 that leaves people feeling unsure. The permanence of underground storage is still untested.
But the potential for the technology has generated some interest. Bill Gates and other billionaire investors have given money to Keith’s project and Keith himself hopes that it can be scaled up to a size that could actually make a positive impact on the environment.