Regardless of whether your mode of transportation is a Schwinn, a Hummer H1, or a pair of worn-out Nikes, fuel-prices are hitting your wallet just like the rest of us. Fact is, a rise in the cost of a barrel of crude means a jump in the cost of gas, which in turn means higher transport costs, which in turn means your local grocer is paying more for a load of produce and you’re paying more for a head of lettuce, and your plumber is charging more to cover his increased overhead, not to mention the extra funds he needs to feed his family and put clothes on his kids’ backs. When gas prices rise, everything else gets more expensive, and when cars start selling like hotcakes in rapidly expanding markets like China and India, demand usually dictates more pain at the pump.
This is especially painful for drivers who need a spacious and roomy vehicle such as an SUV, a ride that is typically unkind in its unquenchable thirst for petrol. Indeed, there are times when a Toyota Prius or a bus pass won’t do, so we’ve compiled a list of ten fuel-efficient, 2006 SUVs that are currently available, all boasting respectable EPA-rated fuel economy figures and more utility than a Little Red Wagon.
Each model on the list achieves at least 24 mpg in mixed driving when mated to an automatic transmission – the transmission type most consumer choose – and is ranked according to our editors’ recommendations and personal choices. According to the EPA, nine of the vehicles get 25 mpg combined or better, so to make this a proper Top 10 list, we voted in our favorite member of the 24-mpg club to round things out. All EPA data is current as of April 2006.