On Martin Luther King Jr. Day, after the lifting of sanctions on Iran, which allows that nation to saturate an already oversupplied market with oil, the price of a barrel of Brent Crude fell to less than $28 per barrel.
That same Monday in January, according to Gas Buddy, just 12 states were selling gas priced higher than $2 per gallon, and nearly half of them boasted Pacific coastline. In quake-rattled Oklahoma, where fracking is a way of life, a gallon of unleaded ran $1.55 on average, the lowest of America’s 50 states.
Experts predict oil and gasoline prices could sink further.
Meanwhile, in AutoIndustry Land, increased federal fuel economy standards are forcing car companies to build more efficient vehicles. When searching for the most fuel-efficient mid-size sedan for 2016, the models at the top of the list are hybrids made by Ford, Hyundai, Kia, and Toyota, with Chevrolet soon to join that list.
Hybrids, however, typically cost more than traditional models, making their purchase difficult to justify in terms of long-term cost savings. This is especially true when gas is selling for less than $2 per gallon. Frequently, hybrid models also require trade-offs in terms of trunk space, and while their electric assist motors deliver extra punch right off the line, hybrids can quickly run out of acceleration. Additionally, their extra weight and low rolling resistance tires can have negative impacts on ride and handling.
Therefore, for this list, we’re going to disqualify hybrids, instead focusing on those models that have traditional gasoline engines and automatic transmissions. By that standard, the nine most fuel-efficient mid-size sedans for 2016 are listed on the pages that follow, in ascending order according to their official EPA fuel economy estimates.