NEWS

Which Fuel-Efficient Vehicles Are Most Available?

2021 Jeep Wrangler 4xe at a Jeep charging station 2021 Jeep Wrangler 4xe | Manufacturer image

Even as fuel prices have started to fall, drivers aren’t in much of a hurry to get back to the pump, AAA reports. The national average for a gallon of gas was $4.05 Aug. 8 — down from $4.72 the same time in July, but still notably higher than the $3.19 national average a year prior. According to the agency, drivers adjusted their behavior to reduce fuel consumption by driving less and combining errands. But if cramming a week’s worth of errands into a single trip isn’t a viable option, a hybrid or all-electric vehicle can help reduce (or eliminate) gas station visits.

Related: What Are the Most Fuel-Efficient Cars for 2022?

Purchasing a new fuel-efficient car may be easier said than done due to the ongoing inventory shortage, however, and shoppers are facing a double-edged sword: Not only is it more expensive to fill up their vehicles, but sparse inventory and rising prices also make buying a new car more challenging.

According to J.D. Power’s latest sales report, 55% of vehicles sell within 10 days of arriving at a dealership and the average car spends 19 days on a dealer lot — down from 29 days a year ago. New vehicles are selling fast even as prices remain elevated: The average estimated new-vehicle transaction price was $45,869 in July — up 12% from the same time a year ago.

Below are the most available new all-electric and hybrid/PHEV vehicles ranked by total inventory among Cars.com dealers along with the average number of days each model has spent on dealer lots and its median price as of Aug. 4.

Most Available EVs

chevrolet-bolt-euv-2022-01-exterior-dynamic-front 2022 Chevrolet Bolt EUV | Cars.com photo by Christian Lantry
  1. Chevrolet Bolt EUV: 1,829 (inventory); 199 (days on dealer lot); $37,072 (median price)
  2. Chevrolet Bolt EV: 938; 139; $33,435
  3. Ford Mustang Mach-E: 874; 38; $59,610
  4. Ford F-150 Lightning: 676; 39; $81,404
  5. Volkswagen ID.4: 603; 42; $49,261
  6. Mercedes-EQ EQS: 463; 49; $120,334
  7. Hyundai Ioniq 5: 419; 28; $52,180
  8. Kia EV6: 396; 21; $55,698
  9. BMW i4 Gran Coupe: 339; 37; $63,660
  10. BMW iX: 315; 50; $95,570

The redesigned Chevy Bolt EV and all-new Bolt EUV take the top spots for the most available EVs among Cars.com dealers. The pair also tops the list of the cheapest model-year 2022 EVs, and 2023 models see a further price cut of nearly $6,000. In addition to availability and affordability, the Bolt EV and EUV are also among the most efficient all-electric cars.

ford-f-150-lightning-2022-01-angle--blue--exterior--front.jpg 2022 Ford F-150 Lightning | Cars.com photo by Christian Lantry

The Hyundai Ioniq 5 and related Kia EV6 were at the top of the availability rankings earlier in 2022 but have dropped to 6th and 7th, respectively. The new all-electric Ford F-150 Lightning and its Mustang Mach-E stablemate come out ahead of the South Korean automakers in EV availability, and the fact that Detroit-based automakers GM and Ford produced the top four most available vehicles falls in line with a larger trend showing American-made vehicles are more available.

A notable exception in the above list is Tesla. Because the automaker sells vehicles directly to consumers, new Tesla models are not included in Cars.com dealer inventory. Used Teslas may be easier to find than their new counterparts: As of July, used model-year 2020-22 examples of the Tesla Model 3, S,  X and Y accounted for 14,036 vehicles among Cars.com dealer inventory.

Most Available Hybrids and PHEVs

toyota-rav4-se-hybrid-2022-8023-dynamic-exterior-front-angle-silver-suv 2022 Toyota RAV4 SE Hybrid | Manufacturer image
  1. Jeep Wrangler Unlimited 4xe: 2,760 (inventory); 29 (days on dealer lot); $63,365 (median price)
  2. Toyota RAV4 Hybrid: 2,583; 22; $37,729
  3. Honda Accord Hybrid: 1,057; 25; $35,367
  4. Honda CR-V Hybrid: 923; 51; $36,240
  5. Toyota Sienna: 714; 35; $46,200
  6. Toyota Camry Hybrid: 633; 22; $34,304
  7. Hyundai Elantra Hybrid: 597; 9; $30,080
  8. Hyundai Tucson Hybrid: 535; 18; $35,506
  9. Kia Sportage Hybrid: 490; 10; $33,801
  10. Lexus RX 450h: 443; 35; $61,050

Unlike an all-electric car, a hybrid won’t let you ditch the gas station entirely, but it can help you fill up less frequently. For example, the Hyundai Elantra Hybrid gets up to an EPA-rated 54 mpg combined; the gas-only model gets up to 37 mpg.

The most available hybrid on the list, the Jeep Wrangler Unlimited 4xe plug-in, gets an EPA-rated 49 mpg-equivalent combined — a significant advantage over the gas-powered Wrangler Unlimited’s 22 mpg or diesel-powered model’s 25 mpg maximums. The 4xe’s higher mpg rating also comes with a higher upfront cost: After a significant price hike in 2021, the Wrangler Unlimited 4xe now starts at $56,190 (all prices include destination charge), while the standard Wrangler Unlimited starts at $35,640.

jeep-wrangler--unlimited-sahara-4xe-2021--02-angle--dynamic--exterior--front--red.jpg 2021 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Sahara 4xe | Cars.com photo by Christian Lantry

Compared to the Wrangler 4xe, the Toyota RAV4 Hybrid carries a more modest premium over its gas-only variant, with a starting price of $30,910 compared to $28,310 for the standard model. In this case, the break-even point for fuel savings may come sooner with an EPA-rated 40 mpg combined for the hybrid versus a max combined 30 mpg for the gas-only model.

Electrified Cars Are a Drop in the Bucket

kia-ev6-2022-tesla-model-y-2021-03-exterior-dynamic-group 2022 Kia EV6 (left) and 2021 Tesla Model Y | Cars.com photo by Christian Lantry

To determine which fuel-efficient electric and hybrid vehicles shoppers are most likely to find, we looked at recent inventory levels among Cars.com dealers. Electrified vehicles (including hybrids, plug-in hybrids and all-electric models) comprise approximately 4% of total new-vehicle inventory, while gas and diesel options account for the remaining 96%.

Interest in all-electric cars has grown as a result of inflated fuel costs — Automotive News reports EV registrations rose 60% in the first quarter of 2022. But the available options are limited: Cars.com data shows pure-electric vehicles account for just 1.5% of all new inventory among dealers, while hybrids and PHEVs comprise nearly 3%.

Are the Fuel Savings Worth It?

hyundai-ioniq-5-2022-13-charging-exterior-front 2022 Hyundai Ioniq 5 Limited on 350 kW DC fast charger | Cars.com photo by Joe Wiesenfelder

A vehicle’s availability is just one part of the equation when looking for a fuel-efficient vehicle. While hybrid ownership won’t look much different than owning a gas-only vehicle, making the leap to all-electric brings additional considerations — and costs. These include the vehicle’s maximum range, the costs of installing a home charger and higher average transaction prices. Most EVs with the highest range are from luxury brands with premium price tags, and installing a Level 2 home charger can tack on thousands of dollars to the overall cost of ownership.

Buying electric can help some eligible shoppers save money during the inventory shortage thanks to the federal tax credit offered on some EVs and PHEVs. The full credit of $7,500 can also offset the higher average prices seen for electric cars.

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