The 5 most fuel-efficient cars on the road today - and the 4 least fuel-efficient ones

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  • Fuel efficiency has improved dramatically in recent years. The average car sold in the United States gets an average of around 25 miles per gallon (MPG).
  • We looked at the most fuel-efficient vehicles on the market today, as well as the least fuel-efficient vehicles.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Fuel efficiency has improved dramatically in recent years, in large part thanks to stricter fuel regulations implemented by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Today, new cars sold in the United States get an average of 24.9 mpg, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.

But just a generation ago, in 1980, vehicles were averaging around 17 mpg, according to the Pew Environment Group.

Vehicle fuel efficiency is an immediately relevant issue for American families. Some drivers spend more than $1,000 dollars annually on fuel. And as added fuel efficiency means reduced carbon emissions, more miles per gallon today means less environmental impact in the long term.

To create a level playing field while considering fuel efficiency, we looked at cars with gasoline-powered combustion engines, not electric vehicles, hybrids, or diesel-engine vehicles, and we excluded trucks and SUVs.

Here are the five most fuel-efficient cars being produced today, along with the four least fuel-efficient ones.

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The Chevrolet Spark gets 33 mpg when factoring in city and highway driving combined

The Chevrolet Spark gets 33 mpg when factoring in city and highway driving combined

According to statistics compiled by the US Department of Energy, the Chevy Spark can save $1,250 in fuel costs over the course of five years when compared to fuel expenses associated with the average new vehicle.

The Spark gets an estimated 38 mpg during freeway driving and 30 mpg in stop-and-go city driving.

A Nissan Versa gets a combined 35 mpg and costs less than $15,700

A Nissan Versa gets a combined 35 mpg and costs less than $15,700

The 2020 Versa enjoys 32 mpg in urban driving conditions and 40 mpg on the highway for an EPA estimate of just below 36 miles per gallon combined.

A 2019 Toyota Corolla Hatchback averages 36 mpg in city and highway driving

A 2019 Toyota Corolla Hatchback averages 36 mpg in city and highway driving

The Corolla hatchback is new for 2019, and the vehicle's 42 miles per gallon on the highway make it a new car worth considering for anyone with a long freeway commute. In the city, the Corolla Hatchback averages 32 mpg.

A 2019 Corolla Hatchback has myriad standard safety features such as automatic emergency braking and lane-keeping assistance.

A new Honda Fit gets 33 mpg during city driving and 40 mpg on the highway

A new Honda Fit gets 33 mpg during city driving and 40 mpg on the highway

The Honda Fit gets 36.5 mpg in combined city and highway driving. As is to be expected, the Fit is slow to reach highway speeds, given the 130-horsepower engine. But it handles well and enjoys good safety ratings.

The 2019 Mitsubishi Mirage gets a combined 39 mpg in city and highway driving

The 2019 Mitsubishi Mirage gets a combined 39 mpg in city and highway driving

Though the Mirage's 36 mpg in the city and 41 mpg during highway driving are certainly impressive, the car's exceptional fuel economy comes at the great expense of power. The 3-cylinder engine is rated at a mere 78 horsepower.

In their test of a new Mitsubishi Mirage, reviewers from Kelley Blue Book reported an agonizingly slow 13 second 0 to 60 mile per hour acceleration. But as an efficient commuter car, it is an affordable choice in terms of initial cost and fuel expenses.

Meanwhile, here are the four worst cars for gas mileage:

And now for the least fuel-efficient vehicles ...

And now for the least fuel-efficient vehicles ...

The 2020 Shelby Mustang gets 14 miles per gallon overall, and just 12 mpg in the city

The 2020 Shelby Mustang gets 14 miles per gallon overall, and just 12 mpg in the city

According to the Department of Energy, over the course of a half-decade, a 2020 Ford Shelby GT500 Mustang will cost you some $10,500 more in fuel expenses than would the average new car.

At current average fuel prices, driving 25 miles in a Shelby GT500 costs nearly $6.

Rolls-Royce makes four cars that get an average of just 14 mpg

Rolls-Royce makes four cars that get an average of just 14 mpg

The Rolls-Royce fleet is known for luxury, not fuel efficiency. The company's Dawn, Wraith, Ghost, and Phantom vehicles have the dubious distinction of getting a paltry 14 mpg.

The Phantom has a 6.7-liter engine, while the other three are 6.6-liter vehicles.

The four-seat Ferrari GTC4Lusso gets 13 mpg in combined city and highway driving

The four-seat Ferrari GTC4Lusso gets 13 mpg in combined city and highway driving

While it's the only Ferrari with enough seating for a family of four, a GTC4Lusso probably doesn't make sense as a family car given its gas mileage.

The vehicle's $300,000 price tag also makes it a slightly illogical choice, though the car's 690-horsepower V-12 engine is certainly a draw for auto enthusiasts.

And the Bugatti Chiron gets only 9 mpg during city driving and 14 mpg on the highway

And the Bugatti Chiron gets only 9 mpg during city driving and 14 mpg on the highway

A new Bugatti Chiron gets a paltry 11 mpg in combined driving, according to the US Department of Energy. And the ratings would be even lower if the $3 million vehicle could ever be driven near its top speed on city or highway roads.

A 2019 Chiron has a horsepower rating of 1,500 and a reported top speed just over 300 miles per hour.

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